Because life’s celebrations shouldn’t cost the Earth

Monday, 24 March 2014

Little Quilted Egg Cosies

Easter Egg Cosy Update

I'm still happily stitching little egg cosies whenever I get a quiet couple of minutes and I have to say that are looking very cute and perfect for Spring!

Regular readers will know that I need thirty-two of these personalised warmers ready for Easter Sunday.  They each have their new owner's initial on the back and a raw edge applique on the front.  I finished another little batch of front pieces last night and they now just need stitching up.

These designs are my own, but some of the previous cosies have appliques based on the work of other more talented folk.  You can see those designs, and their original source, on my Pinterest Easter board. 

Wednesday, 19 March 2014

Pretty Vintage Caravan Applique

Free Motion Embroidered Linen Pencil Case

There is something about the Spring sunshine that brings out the wanderlust and I've reflected this in today's sewing project.  It's a little linen pencil case embellished with a raw edge applique based on this digital stamp by Handmade Harbour.

Zipper pouches are so versatile and whilst I designed it with pencils in mind, it would also make a great make-up bag or mini travel pack. The colours are perfect for Spring and the bunting looks really cheery!

It's for one of my dearest friends who celebrates her birthday next week.  She is a talented artist who loves travelling.  I first met her almost twenty years ago when she was a Head of Year in a school in the North East of England and we've been friends ever since. She's such a talented needle woman and I often think of her when I am stitching.  When she lived in the North East we would sometimes work on projects together and she was always bemused by my need to measure everything at least twenty times before I would start work.  She, by contrast, would just grab her scissors and start hacking, I was always transfixed by this and would watch in awe.  The upshot of our very different methods was that her work was always better than mine!  In honour of this, I didn't obsess over measuring the pouch and I now don't think the caravan is placed quite straight, I guess I'm just not up to her standards, but I know she will smile when she sees it!

Happy Birthday Joan!

Sunday, 16 March 2014

Fabric Journal Cover Tutorial


This tutorial is for a cute little fabric notebook cover.  I used an A7 jotter which is the perfect size to slip into a pocket or handbag.  I had picked some up in the sale at our local supermarket and they look really lovely with a little hand stitched jacket! This one is a thank you for a teacher at the local senior school who has been coming into the junior school, after a full day's teaching, to offer enrichment lessons to some of the more able students, including Alice.


The project only requires small amounts of fabric, so is perfect for using all of those scraps from your stash. The only other element I used was a length of red elastic which came from a box of Christmas chocolates!


First measure your notepad including the front and back cover and spine, then add 2cms to the measurements as your seam allowances.  My pad was 24 x 7.5cms so I cut my two main strips to measure 26 x 9.5cms.  You will also need to cut out at least two pieces of fabric for your pockets.  I actually cut three as I wanted an extra pocket to tuck a tiny thank you card in.  The two main pockets serve to hold your cover in place on your notebook and they need to measure 9.5 x 6 cms.  They require a tiny hem so simply turn the fabric over and stitch so that they look like the picture below;

You now need to make a 'sandwich' with all the fabric pieces.  First lay the outer cover down, right side up, then place the two pockets on top, right sides down, and then pop the lining piece on top.  This sounds a little complicated but if you look at the photo you'll see it's actually really easy!  If you're using an elastic closure lay it between the back cover and pocket about 2cms up from the bottom edge.

Machine stitch the whole way around your fabric sandwich, remembering to leave a gap for turning.  Now simply turn the cover through the gap, push the corners out using a knitting needle or chopstick and press firmly.  The final step is to hand sew the little gap closed and that's it.  A cute little fabric covered notebook in less than an hour!

I chose to applique the outside of my cover but it would look equally lovely stitched in a piece of your favourite 'statement' fabric, with a contrasting lining and pockets.  If you are making one as a teacher appreciation gift please feel free to use mine as inspiration;

Thursday, 13 March 2014

'Feathers' Craft Challenge

Win £25 to spend at Cuddly Buddly!

Cuddly Buddly have just announced their new monthly Craft Challenge and the first theme is 'Feathers'. Everyone is invited to take part and at the end of the month, on Monday 14th April, a winner will be chosen to receive a £25 gift certificate to be spent in the shop on any of their 12,000+ products!  For the full rules and details pop along to Cuddly Buddly Blog.

I was delighted when Kim told me the theme as I knew my egg cosies would fit the bill perfectly.  I used a gorgeous free digital stamp from Cuddly Buddly for the applique, a rooster with stunning tail feathers!

These egg cosies not only look great, they're also easy to make which is just as well as I need over thirty of them as place markers for the dinner table on Easter Sunday!  I'm adding the recipient's initial to each cosy for that added personal touch and letters are also a good first shape to try if you're new to applique.  

I have written a full tutorial for Cuddly Buddly which you can find here and it includes a free printable pattern, so you can get started on your own cosies straight away!  

Monday, 10 March 2014

Appliqued Egg Cosies

Free Motion Embroidery ~ Easter Gifts

The sun is still shining here in the UK and it really feels as though Spring has finally sprung herself!  Lent has begun and I'm trying to stitch a few egg cosies each week so that they're ready for the Easter Bunny to hand out on Easter Sunday.

Here's a quick peek at this week's batch;

The next few are just waiting for their lining.  I've now got fifteen finished, so halfway through!

You can see the ones I made last week here.

I've also been  stitching a very cute pencil case for a friend who has a birthday later this month.  It features a pretty vintage caravan based on this 'Handmade Harbour' digital stamp.  I'm looking forward to sharing it with you all with next week x

Thursday, 6 March 2014

Cuddly Buddly Craft Challenge

I'm delighted to announce that Cuddly Buddly is starting a monthly 'Craft Challenge', where crafters can win £25 to spend on any of the 12,000+ items stocked in their fantastic online shop.

Every month there'll be a new theme and each member of the international Design Team (I'm one of them!) will also show you their own themed make with full tutorials and step-by-step photos.

I'm sworn to secrecy as to what the first theme is, but I can tell you that the first challenge starts next Friday, the 14th of March.  

See you there!

Tuesday, 4 March 2014

Winged Percy Jackson Shoes - Footwear for Heroes!

World Book Day 2014 

Alice finishes Primary School this year and so this is the last time she will need to dress up for 'World Book Day'.  In the past we have stitched some very elaborate costumes, but this year it was something easy - Winged shoes!

They took less than half an hour to make and she loves them!  I simply sandwiched some wadding between two layers of silver grey satin and then machine stitched the outline of a pair of wings straight onto the fabric using a very dense zig-zag (satin stitch).  I then cut them out as near as possible to the stitching line.  The final step was to insert some eyelets so that they could be threaded onto the laces of her baseball boots.

She found an old plastic dagger in our dressing-up box to complete the costume and is going to School as Piper, daughter of Aphrodite.

"Being a hero doesn't mean you're invincible.  It just means that you're brave enough to stand up and do what's needed." Piper Mclean in "The Mark of Athena" by Rick Riordan.

Sunday, 2 March 2014

Appliqued Make-Up Bag

Embroidered VW Beetle 'Bug' Car

This week is 'World Book Day' and most primary schools in the UK encourage their pupils to attend school dressed as a character from their favourite book.  My daughter loves the 'Heroes of Olympus' series of books by Rick Riordan and wants to go as 'Piper'.  I am somewhat short of inspiration and so was pleased to have another project to work on whilst I waited for my costume making ideas to start flowing!

Here's what I busied myself with instead;

An applique of a classic Volkswagen Beetle.  I based the design on a digital stamp from Handmade Harbour and I think it captures the cuteness of this iconic car perfectly.  

The applique formed the front of a little zipper pouch which is an ideal size for a pencil case or cosmetics purse.

In the background you can see a matching personalised compact mirror.  The lovely 'dotty' fabric is from a pair of upcycled nursery curtains.  They are a heavy weight cotton canvas so make for a pretty but durable pouch.  

Whilst I was sewing my companion took it easy lying in the full sun of the bay window, still this is preferable to her usual position on top of my sewing machine where she insists on chasing my fingers and the spool of thread!

I first tried the bug with little antique mother of pearl headlights but then decided that the yellow worked better with the background fabric.  The buttons will have to be saved for another project, I love using them as they came from my Great Grandmother's button box so must be at least seventy or eighty years old!

Now back to World Book Day!