Wednesday, 30 November 2011

There's A Book In Us All!

'Sophie' is taking shape:
All 20 x 6.5" blocks done!
I also got the sashing on yesterday but no pics yet.  Need to decide on borders, backing & binding now (I rarely plan such things ahead!).

This year I've committed myself to a truly handmade Christmas, where each family member will receive a handmade something from me, no matter how small!

As usual, the male members of my family are the hardest to make for, but thanks to some of your wonderful suggestions, I've at least sorted an idea for my nephew (17).  

Elisa's suggestion of a laptop sleeve was spot on, and as of last night, I got the laptop dimensions so I can get started on that.

However, I'm at a complete loss to know what to make my brother, who has already received from me a mugrug, wallhanging & Stocking for previous presents.  Any ideas?

I've been wanting to try out book/journal covers for ages, as a female gift option. 

So with my Christmas present mojo in full swing, I thought I'd have a crack at the Moda Bakeshop pattern last night.

I used some leftover 'Sophie' strips and am pleased with my first go at one of these.

The cover takes a standard A5 notebook
Now that I know what goes where, I've adapted the pattern to allow for inserted ribbon ties/elastic loop closure & also tweaked the measurements so it's not just sooooo snug (had to sew less than 1/4" seam to make the one above!).

I've almost finished the 2nd one, and then I'll play around with the patchwork designs/fabrics for different recipients I have in mind!

Before I go, you have another chance to win a Go! Baby with my friend Karen.  Pop on over for your chance to get yourself a Christmas pressie!

Hope you've had a lovely Wednesday!

Judith xo

Tuesday, 29 November 2011

A day for Tea & Shortbread!

It's absolutely minging outside today!  It's so dark I haven't been able to switch the lights off yet (it's nearly 1pm!).

But I've the house to myself until 4pm so I'm a happy bunny. 

I've had loads of admin and teaching notes to do today, so not much sewing done, but I did get a few more Christmas presents finished last night.

I made another mugrug/hostess box set, which I'll show the class on Thursday night, but I'm thinking this one would be great for my mum.  

My vision for turning this into a present is to get some clear wrap and that fancy twirly ribbon stuff (you know what I mean!) and wrap up some delicious fudge or peppermint creams and set them into the box.  

Alternatively, if I see a nice mug that will go with these fabrics, I might put the fancy wrapped sweets into the mug and make it a full on gift set.

Does anyone know if Ikea sells the clear wrap?

Another finish were these cosy mittens:

These are a stocking filler for daughter no. 2.  That just leaves daugher no. 1 to make these for (daughter no. 3 mittens here), and she has already picked out her yarn so I'd better get cracking!

Some of you previously got the pattern for these from me, but I have to say that after crocheting it up several times, (before unravelling and resizing) I don't think there's any need to increase on the thumb joint half as much as it says in the pattern (except maybe for those of you who've already confessed to having shovel hands!!). I made one round of increase which is more than enough for small/standard sized hands.

And finally, another votive/tea light cover:

This one will probably be heading over to England (but without the glass jam jar inside!!).

So, the admin is all done, time for a quick lunch, before heading up to the sewing room for more present making!
Have a good 'un!

Judith xo

Monday, 28 November 2011

Stick Your Tongue Out!

Sunday is my 'no work sewing allowed' day, so I get to play and catch up with personal makes and pressies.

I recently saw this on flickr:
and thought they'd make cute kids presents.  My first attempt wasn't too bad, especially as I went for a lined version:

Tongue is too big, strap too long, eyes too slitty & strap on wrong side!
My kids and their friends seem to love quirky things, so I'll keeping working on these friendly 'monster' purses til I'm happy with the proportions and expressions.

My middle daughter spied this on flickr and thought it was soooooooo coooooool!     
Wouldn't it be fun if she found one of these in her stocking!

So playtime next Sunday might be spent on these bad boys!

I also got a wee bit of quilting done on one of the nephew cushions, and some chain piecing on the little girl cot quilt.

But now onto something much more mundane!

I had to finish the last traunch of makeup bags today, as they are going into the salon tomorrow.  I'm sure you're as sick of seeing these as I am, but here are the final 11 going for sale:

The 'pre tissue paper stuffed' look!
Sadly, these don't include the ones I was going to make as presents, so it looks like I'm not yet done making makeup bags!!!!

Hope you've had a great start to the new week (it's December this week!  Eeeeeeeeeek!)

Judith xo

Saturday, 26 November 2011

Zippity Bees!

Well I'm thrilled to say I've received my long awaited orange zips!  

Zipit didn't disappoint and after these were posted from the States on 22nd November I received them this morning!  Just in time for me to get the rest of the makeup bags finished before they are whisked off down to my sister's on Tuesday.

This afternoon, the sofas were pushed back & the dog banished for another gathering of Bee Blessed.  The man quilt was wrestled to the kitchen floor and basted to within an inch of its life!

See how it's sucking in Marion's hand! Naughty quilt!
And the production line of 9 ladies churned out log cabin blocks.

We now have over 30 made and donated log cabin blocks (& I know more are still to come)!  Thanks again wonderful bloggy & Bee folks!  These are going to be wonderfully warm and snuggly quilts for elderly folks this winter.

And before I clock off for the evening, just enough time to tell you about the lovely Laura's giveaway, celebrating 200 followers.  Check out the gorgeous charm packs she is giving away and leave a comment (or a joke!) to be in with a chance of winning.

Have a great rest of the weekend!

Judith xo

P.s. So sorry (again) about the rubbish quality pics.  I'm hoping to switch to a new phone soon with a better camera (of course it's absolutely nothing to do with the incompetent user!).

Thursday, 24 November 2011

A Little Bit of Sophie!

You may remember eons ago I took part in the Across the Sea Quiltalong, and got this far:

This was going to be a cot quilt for my friend who is having a baby in December, should she have a boy.  Well the reason I never got this finished is because when she visited me in September, she announced she was having a girl!!!

So now I have the excuse to start making something else!  I fancy having a go at this:

Pattern found here.

...and have decided to make it using this:

Well, half of this layer cake actually! Purchased from River Fabrics.
I'd need to get my skates on as I'd like the quilt to be ready for when baby arrives (no coming early little one!).

So today I managed to get lots of little pieces cut to make the 20 blocks.

It's a start!

As always, I have lots of things started!  I'm good at that (& I know I'm not alone!).

I'm sure I'll finish the boy quilt one day!

Judith xo

Wednesday, 23 November 2011

Boys, boys, boys!

Well I got my gorgeous Kona Azure today and got stuck into the binding for the value quilt.

The colours look a bit dull here as this is in my kitchen (& it's been dull and wet all day!).  But I'll do a proper post soon with better pics to link in with next term's program.

I just need to get a hanging sleeve on this as it's ultimately destined for my bedroom wall.

Other things I've been working on today involve the words 'Christmas' and 'boys'!

This will be a cushion for my nephew who received the colour brick quilt earlier this year.

And this will be a cushion for his big brother (17) who plays for Lurgan Tigers Rugby Club, hence the team colours of black, red & yellow.

I have one more 17 year old nephew to make for, but I'm completely stumped! I hate to make a difference between my nieces and nephews (I have 7 on my side of the family alone) but boys are so difficult to make for!  

Any ideas for a typical, football loving, lanky teenage boy?

Happy Wednesday!

Judith xo

P.s. Thank you so much everyone for asking about how Shannon got on in her Mock GCSE Art exam.  All went well, and the nerves were soon replaced with the 2 hour Maths exam which followed the next day!  Another week and a half of mocks and she gets her life back (for a while anyway!). Jxo

Tuesday, 22 November 2011

Progress (just about!)

This is my 2nd attempt at this post, delayed due to needing a new cable to download the pics from my phone of what I've done today.

And why did I need a new cable?

Let me show you the next 2 pictures and you can draw your own conclusions (I already know what Hadley's going to say!).

Butter wouldn't melt!
Anyway, if you are reading this post then a certain cute doggy hasn't been banished to the outback forever and I managed to track down a computer shop which sold the right USB cable.

And so onto the progress that I achieved today.

Today the sun was out ALL DAY, which means I was motivated to sew despite feeling tired!

Firstly I cracked on with the quilting of my Value quilt which I need to finish & get photographed for my new program coming out at the end of the week.

I've ordered some Kona Azure from River Fabrics for the binding, which I'll get tomorrow.  Then I can get this baby finished and reveal it to the world (well, the few of you who unwaveringly put up with my ramblings!).

Next, I opened up The Sweat Shop and made a start on the unquantifyible make-up bags to re-stock my sister's salon. 

These things are selling like hot cakes & I can't keep up with demand.  Unfortunately my zips haven't arrived yet from RayStitch or Zipit so I've stalled a bit (plus I'm bored to death making endless make-up bags!!).

A bored (yet creative) mind is a dangerous thing, cos then I start thinking up new projects to start.  I have indeed decided on a new, fun project, but you'll have to wait til tomorrow to find out!!

Hope you've had a sunny and productive day!

Judith xo

Monday, 21 November 2011

Great Balls of .......?

For some reason, I am more motivated to crochet at this time of year, especially pre-Christmas.

I've been crocheting since I was 8, and am delighted that, along with many of the age-old crafts, crocheting has been enjoying a revival.

I recently discovered Attic 24 (thanks Susan!) and love the bright and colourful snuggly things she makes.

In a recent post she showed us how she organised her accumulated balls of yarn, and this inspired me to move mine out of the pop-up laundry basket they were in (where they get dreadfully tangled) and into this:

Monsta Box!

Colour explosion!

Mmmm - I'm gaining a nice wee collection of UFOs - eeeek!
At least now I have a much better idea of what I have lots of (white it would seem!).

And putting the white to good use, I made a glass tea light cover from this pattern.  

Isn't it cute, and a great way to recycle jam jars.  I'm definitely going to make more of these, and also have a go at the Attic 24 trim pattern.
I'm off now to type up endless notes for my Christmas classes which start this week!

Have a great Monday!

Judith xo

Sunday, 20 November 2011

Staying in the Ditch!

It's been a lovely Sunday!

After lunch I got to help my big girl prepare for her GCSE Art mock exam tomorrow (5 hours of it!).  As part of her 'Accessories' theme, she's making a handbag!

She has her own design all thought out, and tomorrow she gets to assemble it.  Her design involves printing flowers onto the main panels of the bag, before sewing it together with a hippy fringe along the bottom.  I can't wait to see the finished bag, she might even let me take a picture of it to show you!!
(She's now baking apple & cinammon cupcakes, the smell of which is making my mouth water as I sit and type this!)

I also got a bit of Bee Blessed sewing done.  I've pieces cut out for 4 Log Cabin blocks, which I hope to sew on Saturday when we next meet.  

Awful pic! So sorry!
My priority today was getting the big D9P quilt (now called 'Blessed to the Nines!') quilted and the binding attached.

This is a big quilt and has already been allocated to a needy home, so I wanted to crack on with it.

I stitched in the ditch on all the vertical and horizontal seams, and some inbetween seams too!  

Now most folks will grown at the very mention of the 'D' word, but I recently acquired a stitch in the ditch foot, which made this process much easier and faster.

You just have to re-train your eye to watch the ditch guide in the centre of the foot, rather than the needle and where it is quilting.  

I'd highly recommend this wee foot (which you can get for most makes of machine) if you've previously tried in the ditch quilting and hated it!

I might get a wee bit more 'present' sewing done tonight, but in the meantime have a lovely end to Sunday.

Judith xo

Saturday, 19 November 2011

Does Batman Wear Makeup?

I know it's a random title, but bear with me!!

In response to my sister's need for more makeup bags, and my need to make more Christmas presents for girly relatives, I've cut up fabric for what feels like another 600 makeup bags!

Ok, so that's a slight exaggeration!

But I do have a few birthdays and Christmas presents accounted for in that pile, as well as supplying my sister's salon with more stock and herself with teacher's presents!

My only difficulty was in getting orange zips!  I tried 2 UK based shops and nada!  So would you believe it, my orange zips are winging their way to me all the way from the wonderful US, courtesy of Zipit!

I hope they arrive soon!!

I've also ordered this as a Christmas present to myself!

I'm looking forward to trying out some blocks from bloggers I follow who have contributed to this book.

And last but not least, a Christmas present for my 6 year old nephew who is batty about .....

The yellow is a lot more 'canary' than you see here!

You guessed it!  Batman!

This is a toy pouch (approx. 13" x 9") for him to keep all his wee batman bits and pieces in (cos I happen to know he's getting a fab Bat cave from Santa!).

So that's another pressie ticked off the list!

Hope you are having a great weekend!

Judith xo

Thursday, 17 November 2011

There is hope!

Despite the horrific weather I battled with today, I came away from my sister's salon feeling positive!

Not only did I get a re-style (and of course those impetuous grey roots dyed into submission) but I also found out that 2 of my bags have sold!  Hooray!

And because all of the make-up pouches had previously sold I brought 5 more down with me plus 6 tissue pouches (see pics here).

Within 10 minutes of me setting them out, 4 tissue pouches sold and 1 of the new make-up pouches.  And so as not to completely deplete the stock before customers get a look in, my sister & one of her staff have also ordered about 6 more make-up pouches for teachers' Christmas presents!!  

Looks like I need to order more zips then!!

I can't bear to write a post without a photo (?!) so I'll show you the quilt back for the 'man' quilt we are making in Bee Blessed.  I just love that Kona Ash, one of my favourite Kona colours!

All materials from River Fabrics.
Hope you've had a less wet & windy day than me!  I'm off to class tonight to see more wonderful creativity in the form of Advent Calendars!

Judith xo

Wednesday, 16 November 2011

Pretty Maids All In A Row!

I'm heading down to my sister's salon tomorrow.  As far as I know none of my handbags have sold, but all the make-up pouches have sold, so I've made some more of those to take down with me.

I've also made some tissue pouches to take down, as folks seem to be buying smaller gifts at the moment.

I'll give you an update on sales when I return on Thursday.

Yesterday I got some wonderful post!

Thanks Elisa for your wonderful package of treats & Bee Blessed blocks.  Elisa is my lovely friend across the water in USA, and writes her blog with honesty, passion and creativity - pop on over and say hi!

I've always admired & desired one of Elisa's signature origami cranes.  And now I have one to keep my other crane company.  What should I call them?
Also in the post was the fabric I've ordered for my dad's 70th birthday Civil War quilt.  

Charlotte at The Homespun Loft was an absolute super-star in helping me choose the fabrics I needed, using her discerning eye to guide me on what worked together, and making up & photographing a bespoke bundle just for me.  Thanks Charlotte so much for your first-class service and attentiveness.

So now I need to add 'Start making Civil War blocks' to my ever growing To Do list!!

Have a great Wednesday!

Judith xo