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!


Goodies ready to be posted…..

This weekends target was to finish off all the items that I needed for the Goodie Swap. I had one of the two mug rugs I needed ready but I also needed to make the goodies to go with them.

I actually went a bit back to front as I made the goodie for my second partner before the mug rug! A little while ago I bought a shoulder bag pattern from Melly & Me and I adapted the pattern by not adding a strap to make a lovely little pouch. I am so pleased with how it came out….I feel lots of Christmas gifts coming up from this one.

The design is really simple but effective…I so enjoyed rooting around to find the right buttons to sew on the front. I was supposed to do needleturn applique for the squares on the front but instead I used fusible webbing and folded over the sides – this seemed to give a more durable finish as I was able to machine stitch it into place.

The ties were really easy to make from some of the leftover fabric scraps so it was quite an economical project. I used some coordinating interior fabric so that the inside is pretty too but you could use some plain fabric if you wanted to keep costs down. The back is plain with just the split fabrics rather than any extra embellishment.

I decided to make the mug rug to go with it from some coordinating fabrics – I used some of the offcuts plus extras from my stash of bluey/green fabrics. The design was very simple but I am really pleased with how it came out. I had some perfect green/blue striped fabric for the binding. My partner says she likes blues and greens so it should be good for her.

The last thing I had to make was an extra for partner 1 to go with her rainbow mug rug. As partner no 1 likes pinks, reds etc I thought I would make her another pouch in her colour scheme. This one was simpler than the blue one as I didn’t add the applique and buttons to the front as all the options I tried seemed too fussy.

I really hope that my partners like their packages…just need to get them all wrapped up ready to post off at the end of the week. Once the package is in the post it will be time to start waiting for mine to arrive – time for more postman stalking!

Summer Bee Frenzy Part 2

Yesterday I gave you part 1 of my quilting bee catch up and today we have part 2 ….the Calendar of Houses bee.

The Calendar of Houses bee involves each member making a house block from their own stash each month themed to reflect that month. We generally post some key words that remind us of that particular month to give our partners some inspiration in case they are stuck. We live in different parts of the world so sometimes you need to make a wintery block when you’re in the midst of summer.

I needed to catch up on my June and July blocks. When I started work on them I decided to make one very bright, modern summery block and one more traditional block but each had a common theme – strawberries. In our house we have strawberries virtually every day during the summer period. Just the smell of strawberries makes me think of summer, strawberry picking, pimms, the kids faces covered in strawberry juice!

The modern block hasn’t quite come out as I wanted. I tried to make it a profusion of strawberries and flowers but the flowers seem to have blended into the strawberries making the windows and door disappear. However, a lot of English cottages are covered in roses and they cover windows etc so I decided not to remake it. I did add some little hand embroidered flowers in the garden just to add some extra floweryness. Do you think Strawberry Shortcake would live in a house like this?

The traditional block came out as I planned. It looks quite country style but the strawberries on the roof add a bit of fun.

Finally I have to share with you the lovely blocks that I have been receiving from my partners.

April’s block came from Chocolate is the best medicine and she gave me a block of Easter bunnies. Doesn’t the little girl in the window look naughty!

April block

The May block came from the Cat (Catalinas Cottage) all the way from New Zealand. Cat sent me  lovely block that was based around my little girl playing in the garden. She also sent a fabulous children’s reading book which my daughter has squirreled away in her bedroom!

May block

My June block came from Susan (Starwood Quilter) and was all based around my daughters vegetable patch. She included veg & fruit that she is growing in the garden so it was really personal and she absolutely loved it when it came.

June block

Sadly our pea plants died whist we were on holiday last week because of the very hot sunny weather but they did look like the ones in the fabric before the disaster!!

Just before I go I thought I would share a photo of my family doing some pick your own a couple of weeks ago just to prove we really are a family of summer berry addicts….

Fruit picking delights!!

Notice that whilst Cupcake Princess was posing for the photo the men of the household were guzzling raspberries….naughty, naughty boys!!!

Look what I got….I’m so lucky!

After all the frantic effort of getting my swap items out in the post the job of waiting starts. You stalk the postman, leave the porch unlocked just in case he comes while you’re out and get grumpy when another day goes by with nothing for you. Then finally you look into the porch and there is a package for you……hallelujah its time to see what you got!!

This week I received two amazing packages …I have some amazing sewing to share with you. I’m just so lucky to be the new owner of the beautiful items.

1) Brit Quilt Swap. ( http://www.flickr.com/groups/britquiltswap/pool/ ). This was a swap for quilters living in Britain. My quilt came to me from Sarah. ( http://pingsneedles.blogspot.com/ ). I watched her sneak peeks during the swap avidly as like me she was trying out some new techniques. I absolutely love the quilt as it is right up my street. The extras are nice too! All the quilters named their quilts and this is called Harlot’s Web!

The quilting is amazing and its interesting from all angles – back and front.

2) Spicing up the kitchen swap. ( http://www.flickr.com/groups/sutk/ ). This was round 2 of a swap for kitchen items. My partner for this swap was a member of one of my quilting bees Locowodo ( http://meliketocraft.blogspot.com/ ). When I saw this posted on the group flickr site I instantly fell in love with it and ordered the book that some of the patterns came from – Cups & Saucers by Maaike Bakker. I really hoped it was for me and when the parcel arrived and I saw the sender I have to admit to squealing with delight. Take a look…its amazing!

Even the extras were great…a family cookbook full of delicious looking recipes goes down well in my house.

Aren’t I a lucky girl??

Phew…everythings in the post!!

With all the recent swapping activity I seem to have been on a constant mission to get items finished and in the post. This week was no exception with the deadlines for Spicing Up the Kitchen and Brit Quilt Swaps.

Luckily my items were finished last weekend and all I had left to do was to pull together some extras, make a label and find something to pack them off in.

The first one was easy as I had picked out my extras a little while ago for the Spicing up the kitchen and the Brit Quilt Extras came from my stash of fabrics/ribbons/hexies.

The second one , which was to label my Brit Quilt, wasn’t a difficult task but involved me having an hour to just sit and sew…thank heavens for sunny evenings when the kids are down at the park! I did a simple sewn label with threads that matched the colours of the quilt. I fused the label to the back of the quilt but didn’t sew it on aswell as I was worried I would end up spoiling the front. I have quilts that I have received where the labels are just fused on and they have stayed on fine.

The last thing to was the hardest…packaging. How do you package your quilt so that it is protected but also so it can actually be sent in the post. I wish I had taken a photo of my Spicing up the kitchen parcel before I wrapped it as I ended up using an old cornflake box. It was such a perfect size to slide the table topper and extras into…and I suppose it goes with the kitchen theme….

My brit quilt was a little easier as I had a tube that I had received a poster in which seemed ideal. However it did mean folding my quilt in half and rolling it which I wasn’t happy about but figured it was that or I would have to spend ages traipsing around trying to find something else to send it in. With a bit of jiggery pokery I got the quilt into the tube and also managed to cram in some extras. Unfortunately I couldn’t fit in the card I had bought so I ended up sending it separately ……. unsigned, so my partner couldn’t guess the quilt if the two pieces got split up in the post.

Brit Quilt swap

So that’s it now no more swaps in progress. I have put my name down for the Doll Quilt Swap 11 but its in no way guaranteed that you’ll get in as its so over subscribed. Now I’ll have to concentrate on catching up with my quilting bees and helping Cupcake Princess with her projects….


Brit Quilt finished and a new skill learned

It’s been a busy weekend here at the Palace whilst I’ve been trying to finish off my Brit quilt. You may recall from last weekend that I had appliqued the top and added a scrappy border but I still needed to decide whether to do add another linen border and how to quilt it.

During the week I had feedback on here and flickr which led to my decision to indeed add another border of linen….I may have made the linen border a little larger than I should have but I think on reflection it was the right decision – so thank you everyone who made the suggestion.

For the quilting I had in mind to do some pebble quilting after watching a demo on Handmade by Alissa. I was also pointed to some other blogs with demos/instructions which made me think that I could have a try. On Friday I took some scraps from the quilt and made a couple of little samples. It was actually easier than I thought it would be to get a reasonable looking pebble effect – I’m sure the experts out there would see plenty of flaws but I was happy enough with what I managed to do.

Needless to say using the technique on the actual quilt turned out to be more challenging as you have to manoeuvre the quilt in a circular motion…….however I did enjoy doing it even if it left me with some rather sore shoulders.

It did take me a couple of hours but I was really pleased with the final effect. The quilting made the applique pieces stand out and also added some rigidity to the quilt.

There were only two final pieces needed then – firstly some quilting for the border…….straight lining quilting seemed the most appropriate.

Secondly a scrappy binding. The binding itself was fine but I was extremely irritated as the corners just wouldn’t go right. I’m normally really good at the corners but these were a bit of a disaster…I think because I made the binding a bit wider than normal I didn’t leave enough room to turn the binding around the corner properly. It was passable and I left it on but didn’t meet with my own personal standards!! I did try to undo some of it but I realised I was going to make it worse and risk spoiling the quilt top.

So what do you think of the finished quilt?

I’m really pleased with how its come out and I just hope my partner loves it as much as I do. I have learnt a number of new techniques whilst working on this so I feel like I have pushed my quilting boundaries.

I may have to make another one of these for my own house as I have a feeling it would look perfect up above my mantlepiece – I will have to include an inquisitive little bird like this one as it reminds me of the cheeky little birds pecking in our vegetable patch!!

So what shall I do next….

It’s been a very rainy day here so I’ve had time to carry on working on my outstanding sewing projects. Yesterday I worked on the embroidery for my Brit Quilt so today I started on finishing off the quilt top so that I can move on to the quilting. I have until the 1st July to finish the quilt but I suspect the quilting may take some time. I want to try out pebble quilting. I found a tutorial on the Handmade by Alissa blog – it’s basically a video of her doing the pebble quilting – I’m sure it’s not as easy as it seems on the video so I may need to do a bit of practice!

I have a pile of green and turquoise fabrics that I have been pulling together ready to make a scrappy border to frame the main picture. I did some layout try outs and went for a thin border as a thicker  border seemed to detract from the picture. I really love how it accentuates the colours in the picture itself.

The problem is what to do next. Do I add another border of linen or just stay with this and just add some plain binding? What do you think? I really can’t decide.

I’ve also been trying to catch up on some overdue quilting bee blocks. Firstly my May block for the Sew Buzzy group. Innerpiece asked us all to make a house block of our own house with a white background.

I had to think for a while what to do. I live in a semi-detached house and I decided to just represent my half. I made the left hand side of the house straight so you could tell it was supposed to be attached to something else. It looks a bit wonky in the picture but it isn’t really…its just the way the linen distorts the fabrics when they’re laid out.

I needed to make the stained glass window that goes down the front of my house where the stairs are. This part of the house actually juts forward but making a 3-D effect was a step too far! I think the window has come out well and gives a feel of how the window is a graduation of rainbow colours. The real window goes from blue through to purple, red, orange and yellow. I didn’t have that colour range to select from but I did the best I could with what was in my pack. I hope Innerpiece likes it. Did you notice I even added a Patchwork Queen in the doorway!

The second block I worked on was my May block for the Calendar of Houses Bee. The block was for Lynnette who said that May reminded her of new plants, birds singing etc. I had some fab fabrics, from making my Patchwork Palace avatar and banner, which have a really springy feel with pink, yellow and spring green. I wanted to make the house look like a bit of an English Country cottage and I thought the yellow fabric looks a bit like a thatch.

I’ve still got lots of sewing to do. I have been trying to tidy some of my fabrics up this afternoon but no doubt by the end of the week I’ll have got them all out again.  I find that having all the fabrics stacked up together often gives me inspiration for a project as a particular fabric catches my eye. I dont want to be inspired for any new projects right now…I really must finish some more!

Sneak peek at the brit quilt….

I’ve started working on the machine embroidery for my Brit Quilt Swap quilt. Machine embroidery isn’t something that I have much experience in and I’m sure someone with more experience would spot all the flaws but I think its coming on ok.

I’m planning to add a scrappy border and do some pebble quilting (first time!!) so there’s still plenty more challenges to get through!!

Here’s a few photos of how its going…..

I love my postman….

Ok why do I love my postman? He keeps delivering amazing parcels to me……this week I received two swap parcels.

On Tuesday he brought me a beautiful scrappy mug rug from Sharpshayla. We are in the Sew Buzzy quilting bee together so she knows my likes/dislikes better than a random secret partner. She knows how much I like Piece O’Cake Designs so she used one of their patterns to make a bright summery mug rug. I really love it. The quilting really highlights the flowers.

I was also lucky to receive some great extras…a quilting magazine and some really cute pins. She must have guessed how much we like owls….

Yesterday I received another parcel containing my Goodie Bag. It was really funny because I was sitting making my Goodie Bag when the parcel arrived. When I opened it I was so excited because it was the really cool bag that I had spotted in the group photo pool a few days ago and was coveting. Safieh had given some hints in her description with the bag that made me hope it was ours…and it was. She made such an effort to check out what I like and she worked out we were really interested in the Royal Wedding. Take a look at what she came up with….

The embroidery is so good and Cupcake Princess was amazed at the little crown. On the back there was Far Far Away fabric and surely no one could dislike that. Cupcake Princes thinks the bag must be for her and she has requisitioned it to add to her growing bag collection – I’m not sure that it’s entirely fair that I enter swaps, make a swap item and Cupcake Princess pinches all my swap items when they arrive. Mmmm…need to change this arrangement I think.

Aswell as this bag I received a goodie bag of fabric scraps. It was full of bird prints which I just love and one piece was more like half a yard than a scrap. I think I’ll have some fun planning what to make with them.

So now you know why I love the postman. The obvious next question is does the postman love me..NO!! I think he gets rather sick of dropping off packages of purchases, quilting bee packs, swaps etc.

Have to share the picture below…I think Cupcake Princess may have a bit of a bag obsession starting….

Brit quilt started……

Since I received my partner info for the Brit Quilt Swap I have been pondering what to make. My partner seems to like some applique designs and as you will know if you have followed this blog I love applique.

I flicked through various books that I’ve got and kept coming back to Piece O’Cake Designs Applique Outside the Lines. I made a quilt for Cupcake Princess last year that was a hotch potch of elements from some of the quilts in this book and it looks really great. (Photo below isn’t great but you can see the feel).

I’ve decided to base my quilt on the border of the fabulous Tree of Life quilt.

I recently bought some plain and teal linen from Seamstar which I thought would be perfect to incorporate into the back ground and binding. Pulling fabrics to go with it took up much of yesterday afternoon. Unfortunately a lot of the fabrics I would have used aren’t really a favourite of my partner but I think I managed to pull a good range that gave me the blue/green feel of the original quilt.

I took the original quilt pattern and drew up a version that would fit the size of quilt I am trying to make. I added a few more swirls and flowers to fill up the space more. I’ve started to fuse the pieces to the linen background but there is still more to come…maybe a bird perched on one of the tendrils….still pondering!

As it’s a rainy Bank Holiday Monday I’m hoping to get a chance to carry on working on this today…just hope my partner is going to like it.