A tale of 3 quilts……

As usual I seem to have overcommited myself on the Christmas sewing front. Every year I say I’m going to take it easy this year and every year I have a huge pile of ‘stuff’ piled up next to my sewing machine.

I have managed to complete a lot already. All swap commitments completed and sent away, 25’ish bags made and distributed amongst work colleagues, school friends and teachers. Now I am left with finishing off quilts.

I have three quilts that I must finish off 1 for a 7 year old girl, 1 for a 5 year old boy and 1 for a 16 year old boy. For the first two I combined fabric ranges with some of my stashed away fabrics but for the third I went the whole hog and bought all the fabrics from the same range…..some bought more than a year ago and topped up with new colours and designs this year.

Quilt 1 – Sherbet Pips

You may recall that in the summer I made my daughter a Sherbet Pips quilt. This quilt has a very similar look and feel and is made from all the fabric I had left over from the first quilt.

I know that this range seems to be either loved or hated by people but I firmly sit in the love corner. The mixture of red and grey is just perfect when you want to make something that is girly but will last beyond the pink phase!!

I mixed in lots of dots and circles in grey and red aswell as some plainer fabrics. The quilt is quilted very simply with red straight lines following the rows and the binding is white with red dots. I have completed the quilting and added the binding just need to sew the binding down. Should have this one finished off in no time.

Quilt 2 – Super Heroes

For this quilt I really wanted something that was boyish but wasn’t the usual cars and trains. I went for some fabrics from Michael Miller (Super Heroes, Super Fun, City Lights and Bunting Scallops). I started with a bundle from Fabric Worm but ended up by needing to buy some extra fabrics from Frumble fabrics….when I also added some alien fabric.

I combined the fabric with a range of blue, green and yellow fabrics. Again they were primarily dots and circles but I also added some multicoloured stripes and squares. I really love how all the fabrics have worked together.

For the quilting I have again gone for blue straight lined following the rows but also a few top to bottom lines following the block edges. I haven’t made the binding yet but I think I will go for a scrappy binding using up some of the left over scraps. Right now the quilt is all quilted and just waiting for binding so should get the binding on today and be ready for Christmas.

Quilt 3 – Funky Monkeys

This quilt is for my son. The Prince of Rock has had a toy monkey (Ernie) since he was 7. The monkey still sits on his bed and gets taken away on trips, gets dressed up etc. When I saw the funky sock monkey range last year I just had to have some so bought lots of it and stashed it away. This year I saw some of the funky sock monkey santas and fell in love with them too so bought some fat quarters of it and stashed it away. My daughter has been desperate for us to turn the fabric into a quilt but it is difficult to secretly make a quilt for someone who lives in the house.

I have finally managed to work on it by cutting the fabrics while he was at college and then piecing it together on Sunday whilst he was in Manchester at the football. The block pattern that I went for was an alternating pattern of one large block and then 4 smaller squares. I love these fabrics so much….the fat santas are hilarious as are the mug shots of different santas. I just know he is going to love it.

This quilt is the one I am now panicking about. I have the quilt top made but I still need to baste, quilt and bind it but I don’t have access to my sewing machine after today….aghhhh!!!! I may have to banish my son from the downstairs of the house so I can get it done.

I also have to bake my Christmas cake, make mincemeat, wrap presents, write cards….oh dear today is going to be a very busy day……..

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A sneak peek……

As I mentioned yesterday another one of the swaps that I have been involved in is the Scrappy Mug Rug Swap. This swap was a special Christmas round where we had named rather than secret partners.

Because of everything else that has been going on I have to admit that I wasn’t able to make exactly what I had originally planned having stalked my partner but I think I still came up with something fun.

You will notice there is a hand appliqued design with a machine quilted background. I used lots of glittery fabrics as they always remind me of Christmas.

You may have spotted who the main character on the mug rug is………

Hopefully my partner will receive their package soon and then I can show you the whole thing!

Oh dear Christmas is coming……

Where has all the time gone? It seems only a couple of days since I checked in but somehow 3 weeks have gone by…and its nearly Christmas!!!

I have so much Christmas sewing that I need to do. My living room and kitchen table look like a sweat shop piled high with fabrics cut up waiting to be  turned into quilts and bags. I know exactly what I want to make but have had a sewing machine block….just haven’t seemed to be able to get myself going.

Last week I did manage to finish off the last of my bigger swap items…rather late but they were finished and put in the post at the weekend.

The first finish was my Modern Christmas Table Runner. I started off really well on an idea a few weeks ago and pieced together scrappy trees and wonky stars but with all the family traumas over the past few weeks I just lost focus and had no sewing time.

When I came back to it and made the stars for the other end of the runner I realised it had become rather huge…more of a table cover than table runner. I sat and stared at it for a few hours (literally) and finally decided that although my intention was for the pattern to work from all directions I would have to just make one half.

Having made the decision to cut the design down it was finished in no time at all. I rather enjoyed the outline and free motion quilting which apart from an issue right at the start went like a dream. It was actually quite nice to just sit at the machine and forget about everything else that is going on.

The fabric I used for this was Jovial by Basic Grey. I really love the colours in the range I think they have a modern but Christmasy feel. My favourite fabrics are the reindeer silhouettes especially the ones with the black background. I also mixed in a few Ta Da Spots and Kaffe Fassett shot cottons to break thepatterns up a bit (and who can resist spots/dots).

Overall I was really pleased with how it came out. I really hope my partner likes it – if she doesn’t I have included plenty of chocolate as bribery aswell as a nice Christmasy owl in complimentary colours to the runner. She should like it as she likes trees and stars …she has certainly made lots of positive comments for other runners that have been completed in the group that have a similar theme.

I’ll come back tomorrow give you some sneak peeks of my Christmas scrappy mug rug.

Xmas Twit Woo…..

That time of year has arrived when I need to work on all my Christmas projects. Normally I love this time of year and throw myself into all the activities but this year despite starting early life has taken over and I have got a bit behind. I now have not very much time but have lots of present to make and swap items to complete….ahhhh!!!!

Right now my focus is on Christmas ornaments. I have a couple of ornament swaps I am involved in plus I need ornaments to add in as extras for other swaps. I have lots of ideas and I have been scanning magazines and books for more ideas. I bought a copy of Prima Christmas Makes and amongst lots of ideas there was a fab project for owl ornaments.

I love owls as does Cupcake Princess so it seemed a perfect project for me to make. I wasn’t sure about the tufty ears and the legs but I liked the general shape and the use of metal beads for the eyes.

I sorted through my felt box and got on with a prototype so I could confirm that 1) I liked it and 2) that I could actually make something that I was happy with in terms of stitching etc.

The shape was simple but I was a bit disappointed when I cut it all out as it looked a bit uninteresting…….

……..however once I added the stitching and bead eyes I loved it!! Unfortunately the picture doesn’t give the ornament justice. It has been so dark and gloomy here today, taking photos was a bit of a nightmare.

I am going to see whether any of my partners like the owls…I have lots of different colour options that I am working on. I have also ordered some felts in some Christmasy colours to make something a bit more woodland rather than bright.

What do you think? Would you like an owl for your tree? Do you have any good patterns or ideas that I could pinch!!?? Are you making any handmade ornaments this year?

New Year Catch Up 3

Before Christmas I was in another swap….the St.Nicholas Swap. The idea for this swap was to make a small gift for a fellow sewer. You may recall I made a mug rug, canister wrapper and some decorations for NikiBlueEyes. Niki wrote to me to tell me how much she loved her little package which I was really pleased about as you never know whether other people will appreciate your crafting!

I received a package from DaveandSusi which contained some beautiful little Christmas themed houses. I really love the little embellishments that she made…they added some individuality.

Front of the little houses.....

I love the bakery window it is just so cute.

Back of the houses......

 Even the back of the houses are cute. Susi must have put a lot of work in stitching these for me and I really appreciate it.

I also received some delicious chocolate (which is all eaten up) and an owl postcard which Cupcake Princess appears to have squirreled away somewhere as she liked it so much.

If you want to check out the other items people made/received check the group out on Flickr: http://www.flickr.com/groups/swap_nicholas/

I’m looking forward to taking part in some more swaps this year as it is great to take part in a group activity and meet other sewers……..of course it is also great to get a parcel to open up at the end!!

New Year Catch Up 2

Before Christmas I mentioned that Cupcake Princes and myself were making gifts for my niece and nephew but I didn’t get a chance to share the finished items. Unfortunately I also didn’t manage to get good photos of the finished items before giving them as gifts so instead I am sharing photos of the finished items with their new owners!!

First of all you may recall that I made a Russian doll wall hanging for my niece. The wall hanging was made using a drawing that Cupcake Princess did plus fabrics that she chose……thankfully her cousin loved it!

Russian Doll wall hanging delivered to its new owner

Our second gift was a pirate game for my nephew. We bought some pirate fabric a few months ago which we turned into a pirate board game with matching game pieces and bags for storage. Cupcake Princess wrote out all the game rules and game cards so it was a big project!!

Pirate game board

Bags for the game board and pieces

We played it over New Year and had great fun going around the board and falling foul of the pirate tricks!!

Playing the pirate game.....

The children had a great time with all their gifts as you would expect BUT they also had great fun helping me make mince pies. It’s amazing how enthusiastically children throw themselves into cooking activities. We had a great little production line of cutters, fillers, brushers and snippers. What’s even better is they all tasted delicious at the end.

The mince pie makers.......

New Year Catch Up 1

HAPPY NEW YEAR!!!

Goodness me I can’t believe it is all over already. You spend so long preparing for the festivities and then they are all over in a flash. We had a nice quiet family Christmas at home with my parents and then went up to Edinburgh to spend New Year with my husband’s family. The children seemed happy with their gifts, the adults seemed happy with the food and I was happy to just have a rest from work!

So now we’re home again, the decorations have been taken down and my sewing machine is back out of its box ……. so the new year is ready to begin!

Before I start planning for 2011 I am going to spend the rest of the week recapping on my Christmas swaps and the gifts that I made but didn’t have time to share.

Today I want to show you the lovely ornaments that I received from my three partners in the Trim the Tree Handmade Ornament swap. I received such lovely ornaments…and they looked really great hanging on the tree with all the ornaments that we made ourselves.

Robin from Digitalmisfit

Snowflake from Smoochee

Joy from magicjessnrach

If you want to have a look at all the other amazing ornaments that were made in the swap take a look at our Flickr group: http://www.flickr.com/groups/1533113@N23/

3 sewing days to go……

My goodness time is flying by fast…..still lots of sewing to get finished. I have been doing the sewing but because of the snowy weather I have been slow in taking the photos of my completed projects.

I ventured outside this afternoon to get a picture of the place mats I’ve been making for Christmas. I’m really pleased with how they have come out. I went for a very simple design which focused on the lovely Christmasy fabric rather than fancy stitching etc. The fabric I used is from a range called Poinsettias & Holly by Martha Negley for Rowan.

What do you think?

Christmas mats hanging on the line

Close up of the lovely Christmas mats

The kids have been busy finding excuses to go out in the snow….the latest of which was clearing the end of the drive so daddy could get his car out. I think there was more snow on them than the drive by the time they had finished!!

Snow is heavier than expected......

Brush the drive not your sister!!!!

6 days to go (and nearly snowed in)!!!

Goodness, what a day. We woke up to a fresh covering of snow this morning. There wasn’t that much but it was a covering. Like most people I had quite a few jobs to do at the shops so we trekked off to catch the bus into town. It was still snowing but as there wasn’t even any forecast for us I wasn’t too stressed.

Going.......

3 hours later we had pottered around the shops, had lunch with a friend and picked up some food for the weekend…but that was where the fun started. Whilst we had been in the shopping centre it had snowed continually and the buses had all been cancelled!! I eventually managed to get a taxi driver to get us near to our house and we just had the last bit to walk.

Phew....nearly home!

We did make our way out to the garden when we got home so that we could finally get some snaps of our kids Christmas stockings…..Cupcake loved being able to trudge around in all the snow!

My little helper......

12 days to go…….

Oh dear…..today should have been a day for finishing lots of projects but I haven’t finished any! I was out with the family for most of the day and we’ve spent the evening watching the X Factor final.

I haven’t been completely useless, I did cut out and piece together the outside of 3 stockings which shouldn’t take too long to whip up tomorrow evening.

Some plain stockings

Scrappy stocking

I really need to get myself motivated soon or I wont get all my projects finished. Part of the problem is that I have moved the furniture around to fit in the Christmas tree so I have to do my sewing at the kitchen table….and it’s cold out there in the evening. Tomorrow night I will just have to get out a big woolly jumper and stop using excuses …….