Friday 27 July 2012


Thank goodness it is finally finished / finished Friday!

I finally completed my Pretty Pleats Reversible Tote.  My first attempt went pear shaped so I re-gathered my strength and courage and picked some new fabrics and started fresh.  And thank goodness I did because now I have this pretty bag:

I'm loving the quirky birds [Laura Gunn Garden Wall] fabric - especially the one on the bottom left corner! They are all pretty cute feathered friends, don't you think!?  I also used Kona Brick and Kona Navy but now wish I had used Cerise or Eggplant instead of the brcik red.  I am pleased I finally made it and the best bit is that it turned out!  Oh and that it looks like it should and it works (quite a sturdy bag)!  I'll be using it on my upcoming holiday as it is nice and spacious inside for all sorts of things like a bottle of water, a camera, wallet and snacks!!

2012 Finish-A-LongI will eventually purchase more black with cream dots fabric to make my first version with, as that is what I really want to use as my everyday bag.  But at least it is done and off my 3rd Quarter Finish Along list with Quilter in the Gap.  If I make another I may add a magnetic closure, an inside pocket and key ring clip which will make it non-reversible but that's ok by me! 

So I am happy to link up to
I'm off to do some hemming by hand and some embroidery as Mr Toyota is now in for a much needed sewing machine MOT and service ready for all the sewing I HAVE to do in August!  Swaps, bee blocks and personal challenges -- a busy month ahead!  This includes my Vintage Holiday quilt!

Have a great weekend!

July Finishes

Thursday 26 July 2012

WiP Wednesday & Olympic torch

Happy Wednesday!

My list remains pretty much the same as last week though I did complete another Great Granny square/block.  Yay for me!  Only seven more to go!  I finally got my 12.5" ruler so I can finally square up my Bee blocks and these granny blocks.  One step closer to becoming quilts, yay!

I am feeling particularly determined recently and have set a goal to get working on some of my super-outstanding WiP's, my UFO's and even some of my PIG's and PhD's.  To those of you who aren't sure what those all mean:
Star of AfricaWiP = work in progress
UFO = unfinished object 
PIG = project in grocery bag
PhD = project half done

Why am I mega motivated to get loads done?  So I can play along with the Lazy Bums group!!  There are 12 of us hoping to get one WiP/UFO/PIG/PhD done a month  (or more) and to fill in our bingo cards and get points and we can even challenge each other to duels and all sorts of crazy stuff!  Fun huh - what a great motivator to get things done!  Wish me luck! 

My newest WiP is my second attempt at my Pretty Pleats Reversible Tote.  I screwed up the fabric [black and cream dots by Cosmo Cricket] on the first attempt so here is my second attempt [Laura Dunn and Kona fabric] and so far so good:

I had to stop there because the tension has gone all funny again on Mr Toyota and I didn't want to mess is version up!  So "all" I have to do tomorrow is work on the handles... Fingers crossed it looks ok when completed.  I'm not sure about the brick Kona anymore - oh well.

Linking to Freshly Pieced WiP Wednesday.

The Olympic torch went through my town today.   I waited over an hour for this exciting event and this is the picture I snapped of it [anyone sensing my disappointment or sarcasm?]:  

Yes, that is the torch running away from me!  And what is worse than my rotten photo?  The fact that we didn't even get a coke or Frisbee drum thing from the Coke promotions van!!  Boo.  But on a positive note, I got to 'scive' for over an hour with my workmates and hey - I saw the Olympic torch [which is pretty cool actually]!!  So in summary, I am sad to say that I still haven't caught the 'Olympic fever' but I may have caught some sun though, which is pretty darn exciting for me! 

Happy sewing!

Sunday 22 July 2012

My Precious Vintage Holiday QAL

Yay - I've finally picked my fabrics.  I'm going with a cottage-y-plaid-shabby-chic-homespun-modern-country-bumpkin sort of look...with snowflakes.  Fingers crossed I've chosen the right ones!  It should look cozy and fit in to the decor of the tiny cottage we live in.  I had another pile from my stash that I contemplated using - it was all greens and reds and graphic prints but I like these snowflakes.  And the plaids.  I almost went with some Brrr too - but I kept coming back to those two red plaids!  These are some of 'My Precious' fabrics.  I've been saving the plaids since 2009/2010 to make another shaggy quilt but I doubt this will ever happen so I would love to use them now.  Those snowflakes have been around for a long time too, just waiting for the perfect project!

They are for a Christmas quilt I will be making with the Vintage Holiday Quilt Along over on Fabric Mutt's blog starting the 6th of August.  Aneela Hoey made a Vintage Holiday quilt (and it is gorgeous) using her own Cherry Christmas fabrics so I hope I can do Camille Roskelley's [click here to buy the pattern] pattern justice in the fabrics I've chosen!

I can't wait to start!  Lots of people have posted their fabric selections on Flickr already - and some have even started cutting and sewing!  Yikes - I better get my skates on!  

Saturday 21 July 2012

Messy thread & random blocks

Over on Sew Many Ways she is having a linky party to do with THREAD -- a Thread Organizing Party.  There are so many clever ways to store your thread - and mine is not one of them!!  [but it currently works for me]

You see, my homemade thread 'bucket' lives in the corner under the lamp, out of the way on my teenie tiny sewing desk in the closet-room that I sew in.

This fabric bucket of mine holds all my bobbins (I only have 6) plus all my spools of thread.  I will admit that there are some pretty dodgy spools of thread in there - name brands NO-ONE has ever heard of, purchased a long time ago or picked up in an emergency to sew a button on the go type of thing.  I love collecting hotel thread kits - so I have a separate tin full of those!  In fact, I keep one sewing kit at work and two work colleague's needed to borrow it yesterday!! 

Anyways, there you have it - my way of storing my thread.  Check the linky party out - it is fascinating to see how differently we all do it!!  One day I will have a storage rack thing on the wall to store the threads and filled bobbins.  One day....

In other news - I made Annaliese her block for the July Running with Scissors bee.  I quite like the Kona Pomegranate she used mixed with the oranges and fuchsia - it will be a bright quilt.  She will be squaring it off to 9.5 inches. 

I aso have one Great Granny completed and another practically sewn together.  But poor Mr Toyota has pulled a sickie - he doesn't want to play anymore...  I think he may need to go to the sewing machine doctor for a check up (which I know is lonnnnnnnng overdue).  Poor fella - he was skipping stitches and the thread was breaking every few inches so I changed the needle, the bobbin, the top thread, re-threaded it, adjusted the tension, the other tensiony thingymebobberdoohickey thing {all at different times to see which if those things was acting up} and nope - he just wouldn't play right.  So I left him alone to think about his behaviour.  I will try him today and see what happens.  Maybe he just needs a rest? 

Here is the first completed Great Granny:

And the one needing two more rows sewn on:

And one of the seven more waiting in the wings to be sewn:

So once Mr Toyota starts to be himself again I will crack on and get these done.  I'm using all scraps (except for some text print in one of the blocks) - but it is amazing what you can get out of your scraps!  And OMG these are a blast to make!  I may also use some fabric I won from RicRak Studio from an Etsy shop called Sarah Waterhouse Textiles.  I won two fat quarters so I picked 'suitcases in pink' and some fabric with speech bubble s containing verbal 'insults'!  Too funny!!  I'd love to see 'Halfwit' or 'Oaf' in one of my Great Granny squares!! 

Ok, Happy Saturday - see you soon!

Friday 20 July 2012

The Friday before Olympic fever

We are now only seven days away from the start of the London 2012 Olympic Games.  I must admit I do not yet have 'Olympic Fever' but this little youtube video has certainly helped me get 'in-da-mood'... and thirsty for something I drank at university!! 


Wishing all the Canadian athletes good luck in the upcoming games!!  Fingers crossed we win something so my English husband won't make fun of 'us'...

I'll be back soon to show you my 'Great Granny' squares - yay!

Wednesday 18 July 2012

WiP & Great Granny

Happy Work in Progress Wednesday!  A few updates to last week's ginormous list:

~I received the Running with Scissors bee fabrics for July from Annaliese and am yet to make the block but it is on my to-do list!! 

~I also received July's FQR Kinky Bee fabric from Linda and immediately sewed my two blocks for her.  She requested an improv square in square with a slight wonk but more straight than wonky - so this is what I came up with:
I need to buy (or find) a Sharpie to sign the siggy block and then I can post them.  I love doing improv blocks and although these aren't my favourite colours, they are now my favourite blocks to do!!  Move over Wonky Log Cabin, here comes Square in Square!!  My own bee quilt is coming along (Bee Europa 2012-2013) - only a few blocks remaining to be received and then I can start sewing it together!  Yay!

~I also started my Brit Quilt Swap 3 ~ Mini Quilt for {insert name here} and she likes it!  Yay! This means I shall continue making it for her (if she didn't like it I could have kept it for myself - is that selfish!?) and make a border using {insert secret shape name here}.  Once I figure out how to make that part and the mathematics are done, I will then stress about how to quilt it, then bind it and then send to her through the mail.  Not due until the end of August, thankfully!!
Camille Roskelley pattern
~And this past week I've been busy making Christmas things [Smiling Snowman notebook cover, Thank You cards, present/gift tags, a Christmas Stocking, some cross stitch and hanging tea towels].  I've got a Figgy Pudding Mug Rug which just needs some binding [new WiP added to my list].  It was made from my Figgy Pudding scraps from my table cloth and table topper that were made ages ago.

~I'm planning to follow along with Fabric Mutt's Vintage Holiday Quilt Along so I just purchased some Brrr from The Village Haberdashery as my dwindling Christmas fabric stash won't extend to a whole quilt.  Can't wait to start!! 
Fabric Mutt

~Despite 11 finishes this month already (and a few things started but not finished!), I have added another WiP to my list.  You see, I am yet to make what they call a 'Granny' square - so I have decided to jump straight in and go one better and make a 'Great Granny' square instead!!
This simply means that there is an extra ring of squares: a baby square, a mama ring of squares, a ring of granny squares and then on this block you add one more ring of squares and call it a 'Great Granny'.  Clever I say and it also means the block becomes 12.5" unfinished - so my quilt will come together that much faster!  So, I will be following the Great Granny Along with Bee in My Bonnet and Pleasant Home.  They are already in week two but hopefully that won't stop me from catching up... 
And on that note, I'm outta here!!  But not before I link up with Freshly Pieced WiP Wednesday!

Tuesday 17 July 2012

Zakka Patchwork Ribbon

Tuesday already.  I finally bought some spray starch yesterday so I had no excuses to not get this ribbon done tonight!  May I present to you my Zakka Patchwork Ribbon:

Here is a close-up of my 'fancy' stitches!!  They remind me of a heart rate monitor...beep-beep-beep.
I quite like the frayed edges and threads sticking out everywhere.  This makes the ribbon appear sort of messy-shabby-chic-like.  I used 70 small pieces of scrap fabrics to make the block (and didn't even make a dent in the scrap pile!), starched it like mad, then I cut it up on the diagonal, sewed the stripes end to end and then made it a double sided ribbon, sewing together with my 'fancy' stitches!   The length of ribbon, all sewn up, measures 195 inches - very very long.  Nothing more to say on that.  Done!


More Christmas anyone!??

Here is my finished cross stitch stocking:

I used the most annoying gold thread - it kept splitting.  Perhaps I need some beeswax?

I may make it into a small ornament with homemade piping (I've never made piping before so it would be a first!) to hang from a door knob/handle...  or maybe make it into a card or perhaps into something else?  Not sure... I have a bit of time before I need it (hahaha - only 5 months!) so I can sit and think about it!

And lastly, here is my 'shaggy' Christmas Stocking with hand embroidery!  I first sewed strips of fabric together into a large block.  I then stitched 'Merry Christmas' in black threads on the cream fabric strips.  You can just see one at the top of the stocking.

I then 'quilted' the block onto osnaberger (or however you spell that stuff!) with three lines of stitching on each strip of fabric.  I then used a "Cover Slash Cutter" to slice the fabric in between each sewn line of stitching in order to create the cut/shaggy effect -- but not on the cream strips.  I made a stocking template, traced it onto the fabric for the front and back of the stocking and cut it out and stitched it together.  I also added binding to the top and some ribbon to hang it.  Done! 
NOTE:  be very careful that you are only cutting through the quilting fabric and NOT the osnaberger.  The osnaberger should stay intact as it is the inside of your stocking!

I'm actually not too keen on the shape of the stocking but it does mean A LOT OF STUFF can be put into it, which is great news for Santa as he usually brings A LOT OF STUFF.   It is about 11" wide and 22" long to the heal  = big for a stocking! 

I'm off to hem some trousers.  Have a great night!!
[EDIT - linked to Quilting Lines: Christmas Stocking Hangout]
Linking to:
Linky Party Tuesday, Fabric Tuesday, LR Stitched, TGIFF and July Finishes.

July Finishes

Linked up 

Monday 16 July 2012

Busy being Christmasy

I'm still busy being all Christmasy here.  Mr Crafty Shenanigans is confused by it all but that's ok 'coz I'm having fun!  I've decided that my mother-in-law shall be getting one of these in her overseas Christmas maily this year. 

Christmas Hanging Tea Towel

This hangs on the handle right under the kitchen sink - this makes a really handy kitchen hand towel!

Or hang it from the oven door handle (please excuse my smudgy oven glass door)!
I purchased a pack of three tea towels from Dunelm yesterday and used one of them to make these two hanging dish towels - or hanging tea towels as I prefer to call them.  I pre-washed them and they shrunk from originally being 28"x20" down to 22"x16" so I am glad I shrunk them BEFORE sewing them up!  I don't normally pre-wash my quilting fabric but on this occasion I did because these will be used-and-washed-and-used-and-washed lots so it is better to have all the shrinking done before construction!  However, this has made the tea towel look all used and wrinkly so perhaps I should have ironed them before I took the photo!!  Iron - what's an iron!???

I used a lovely and VERY easy tutorial from a blog called Kleios Belly.  She has lots of good stuff on her blog so check it out!!  And my favourite bit - these were super easy to do and very very quick to make.  More instant gratification which I LOVE!!  These two useful festive items are part of my Christmas in July sewing/crafting spree which so far includes:
  1. Smiling Snowman Notebook/Journal cover
  2. Five Christmas Thank You cards
  3. Ten scrappy gift tags
  4. One Mug Rug (not completely finished yet)
  5. Christmas Stocking cross-stitch (not completely finished yet - might become a pin cushion or door ornament)
  6. Two Christmas Hanging Tea Towels and a
  7. Partridge in a Pear Tree Large Christmas Stocking
Maybe this is turning in to "The Twelve Days Of Christmas" for me...or the twelve projects of Christmas??!  I shall post some pictures of the other items soon.  My Christmas in July inspiration comes from four blogs and their Christmas sewing events - more about those another day!

You know I love buttons.  I have three tins {nearly} full of them.  I could sit and colour-sort them for hours and make piles of my favourites or the interesting ones or just the red ones...  hmmmm -- buttons!

So it may come as a shock to you that I have NEVER actually made a button hole before.  Tonight, just a few hours ago, I made my first ever button holes!  Yay for me!  Here are my first five attempts on scraps before I went and did the real thing on my two hanging tea towels (and the holes on the hanging tea towels turned out pretty good for an amateur I may add, obviously leaving me with loads of room for improvement!):
Left to right - you can see my progress as I slowly get the hang of it!
Not perfect looking but they work a treat!  With the buttons in them they look great!

Ok, back to the sewing!  I still have lots and lots of Christmasy things I want to make so I will report back soon! 

Linking up with Manic Monday, Sew What Monday, Made by You Monday, Making Monday Marvelous and July Finishes - and no doubt TNT Thursday later this week.

Sew Happy Geek
July Finishes

Saturday 14 July 2012

Just spoolin' around

Partner, I've started your mini quilt [Brit Quilt Round 3 Mini Quilt swap].  I hope you like it so far....

I still have to add a border (I'll keep that a secret - only because it isn't made yet!!) and some hand stitching.   I know what I want to do for the border but need to find a method on-line how to do it.  Plan B (if Plan A fails!!) will be something more simple but hopefully effective and something you will like!!

In other sewing news - I finished a few Christmas 'Thank You' cards using more of the Blitzen mini charm pack.  Aren't they great (sorry for the terrible photos - they look amazing and bright in real life, believe me)!   I am over the moon with them!  I've never sewn onto card before so that was fun -- remind me to change the needle!!

You can [hopefully] see that I used some mini square brads and some tiny silver round brads on the cards for some added texture, along with the 'thank you' plates and white thread stitches.  I should have picmonkey'd the pictures first to show better colour but I'm on my way out to buy some interfacing and I wanted to get this done.  Lots more on my to-do list this weekend so see you later!

Linking to:

  • Think Pink Sundays
  • Manic Monday linky party
  • July Finishes
    July Finishes

  • Linked up 

    Friday 13 July 2012

    Sew sew sew / ho ho ho

    Happy Holidays!!  Sew sew sew [said like the way Santa says ho ho ho]. 

    I'm in a festive mood.  It felt like November yesterday due to the weather so it was easy to slip into the festive spirit!  What did I make?  I made a Smiling Snowman Notebook/Journal cover. 

    Sew Festive Handmade

    It was another quick project (I LOVE quick projects) so I had that instant gratification feeling again.  In my head I say 'Yay for me, another completed project!', which makes me feel good!!  I decided to make it because I wanted to test-run a tutorial before I made the real thing for the Super Swaps Notebook/journal swap that I am in.  I think I will go ahead and use this tutorial again but I will modify it slightly for the fussy-cut fabric I am using. 

    Anyways, back to winter stuff!  The yummy holiday fabric that I used was from a mini charm pack that I got at Fat Quarterly Retreat -- Moda 'Blitzen' by Basic Grey.  The squares only measures 2.5" each and there are 40 of them in each pack.  These are the perfect size for so many things (including some Great Granny Square blocks...wink wink).

    I chose a few of the squares and paired them with some Essex Linen in putty and wah-la, a gorgeous notebook/journal cover!  I used a tutorial from a blog called Bloom [EDIT: correct link now attached! Sorry for that!].  The instructions were great until the spot where the lining fabric piece is added.  I would recommend placing the 9"x9" piece of fabric wrong side facing up over top of the journal cover with the pinned sides facing upwards.  You will only be sewing the top and bottom of the lining which means the other two sides of the 9" square stay unsewn and open, which is what allows you to turn it the right way out and have finished edges everywhere  :)    I ended up using my trusty ol' seam ripper TWICE to figure that bit out!  The picture wasn't clear to me what to do so I had to figure it out the hard way!  If I took the time off that it took to rip and re-sew, rip and re-sew again and I would have probably had this done in about and hour or so. 

    My holiday and Christmas inspiration is currently coming from the Sew Festive Handmade "Christmas in July" event.  There are two other festive events going on as well (and more coming up!) so I hope to make a few more things before the end of the month (fingers crossed!) which will put me ahead of myself come October/November when I normally scramble to get things made and posted to Canada!  Question - when do you start your holiday sewing?  

    And one last thing, please be sure to check out Week 8 of Plum & June's 'Let's Get Acquainted Blog Hop' - here is a link to follow which also has a giveaway - yay! 
    Linking to: