Monday, 30 April 2012

Converging Corners

Here is the block we will be making in May for Bee Blessed:

These are the converging corners blocks by Film in the Fridge, the tutorial for which is here.

Ashley makes some truely amazing quilts. If you have time, look around her wonderful blog & shop - I dare you not to be inspired!

For Bee Blessed our only requirements are for white 'negative' space, and the blocks to be 12.5" unfinished.

Feel free to mix colours within the one block, or to colour code them as I have done above.

I love the effect you get when several of the blocks are put together:

There is a wee element of improv. piecing in this block, which gives you loads of flexibility in using up different sizes of coloured scraps.

We hope you enjoy making converging corners with us in May.

Thanking you in advance of your support!

Sunday, 29 April 2012

Bee Blessed Progress

"How wonderful it is that nobody need wait a single moment before starting to improve the world." Anne Frank

We had a wonderful afternoon of fun, chat and 'improving the world' sewing yesterday at Bee Blessed. 

Ros modelling a man's shirt (don't ask)!!

It was really special having some new friends there (as well as some old ones too!).  With more interested folks wanting to join in our humble venture, we have now exceeded the space and hospitality of even the largest home, and so have decided to move our BB gatherings down to church (where I teach my classes).

This will give us more space to layout & baste quilts, and also to quilt them (you know how much space you need around you to quilt a quilt!).

We even end up on the floor!

We have been delighted with the Pippi and Wonky House blocks that have been made and donated. Thank you all!  Here they all are so far:

Just a few more Pippis and we're there.  I think this will make a very special quilt and will hopefully bless a young lady in a special way.

We have finished our log cabin man quilt, which will be making its way to a gentleman in need of some encouragement at the moment.

And if you are interested in knowing what May's block will be for Bee Blessed, then tune in tomorrow!

Thank you everyone for playing a very special part in these very special quilts.

Saturday, 28 April 2012

Introducing ......

.... my new handbag - 'Miss Eddy'!

This is a compact, well structured bag, with a reinforced, set-in base.

And you have the option of using wipeable fabric for the lining (aka a shower curtain) and turning your bag into a travel/wash bag.

The zip in this bag is virtually 'set in' near the end of the construction, with the final addition of handles fixed to the outside of the bag.

I will be teaching this pattern as a one day workshop in July - more details on this here (scroll down), which is why I kept the outer design details fairly simple. 

However, hopefully with a sprinkle of imagination and a dash of initiative, you could easily add your own design ideas to this wee bag.

I will eventually get the pattern written up (along with Martha May, Modern Maud and Joanie!) and put into my Etsy shop!

Well, I hope you like Miss Eddy, the new member of my 'bag family'!

P.s. Thank you so much to those of you who have voted for my humble Welcome Wallhanging in the Weekly Themed Quilters Gallery contest. Aren't there some wonderful wallhangings in there?  Voting ends Sunday, so you still have time to vote for your favourite here.

Friday, 27 April 2012

Getting Stuck In Part 2

I can't quite believe it's Friday again already!

I promised to tell you something today!

It's not a big thing at all really.

But I've entered my Welcome Wallhanging into the Quilting Bloggers Weekly Themed Quilting Contest!

This week's theme is 'Wallhangings'. I'm not at all expecting to win (there are some truely fabulous wallhangings entered), I just fancied being a part of something fun.   If you want to, you can pop on over to QB and vote for your favourites.

And if you fancy having a go at making a Welcome Wallhanging yourself, the pattern is available in my Etsy Shop.

I am hoping that while I am at work this morning, my orange zips will arrive, and fit through my letter box (please don't leave me a red card Mr Postie!).

I have a busy weekend ahead. 

Friends coming over tonight for food (don't panic Susan - it will be take-out!); breakfast duty in the morning (I meet up once a month at a coffee shop with friends for brekkie), Bee Blessed duty in the afternoon, Family movie night (with ice-cream!), church on Sunday and somewhere in there, a trip to IKEA to help my daughter get a giant sized frame for her GCSE art work!


Anyone got any red bull!

Have a brilliant weekend, whatever you get up to!

Wednesday, 25 April 2012

Getting Stuck In!

I'm working on a new handbag. 

I hope to introduce you to her soon.  But I've stalled on it because my local 'all things sewing' shop doesn't stock orange zips, or red zips, just orangey-red zips!

So I've had to order some online (which of course means you see lots more lovely things and end up spending more!).

But there's plenty more I can work on while I'm waiting on my zips.

I'm often so busy working on class samples that I don't have time to get more involved in blog-land stuff.

So in an effort to be more connected and proactive I'm linking up to WIP Wednesday over at Lee's, and I've also entered a wee bloggy competition, which I'll tell you all about on Friday!

Hope you've had a great Wednesday (despite the weather!).

Monday, 23 April 2012

Turn the Page!

I've added a new page to my blog, called Gallery of Classes.

A number of folks who come to my classes also read my blog (what perfect students they are!).

And I also use my blog to advertise my classes and to direct folks who need more information about the projects.

So the Gallery of Classes serves as a record of of the projects that have been run over the past few years.

I hope to keep adding to this Gallery as each project completes, provided the students give me their permission to photograph them and/or their project (they are usually smitten with shyness when I get the camera out!).

Some groups of photographs in the Gallery at the moment don't reveal the full compliment within the class, because I've either not managed to get round everyone to take pictures, or they would rather not be included.

Personally, when I look at a Gallery like this, it fills me with joy that so many people have made something beautiful for themselves or someone else, learnt a new skill or two, and made a new friend or two! 

I'd like to say a huge THANK YOU to all the lovely people who have been patient with me, taught me to believe in myself and have given me the opportunity to share what I know with them.
I have lots more to learn, but I'm so excited that I get to share what I learn with you guys.

I love what I do!

And as I'm slowly closing the chapter on the 'Rags to Bags' era, bit by bit, watch this space for the renaming of my classes!

Saturday, 21 April 2012

The Future's Orange!

A few friends and I went along to our annual Stitch & Craft show in Belfast today. 

By UK standards, this is a small event, but there are bargains to be had nevertheless!

Here are my humble purchases:

The top orange print was calling to my inner hippy!  And the vintage prints to my inner Granny!

Not a true reflection of the colours here, but there are some delicious teals, greens and oranges among them.
All these fqs were £2 or less.

Pairs of large buttons for £1 each!

I did buy one or two other treats, but they are destined for other hands!

(Sadly over here, we are sorely lacking in retailers selling fresh, modern fabrics.) 

And I'll finish this 'really late in the day' post with something that isn't orange!

This double-sided Pippi cushion is a gift from Bee Blessed to a special young lady. 

A friend and I worked on it together, and I can show you it now because the lovely lady in question has received it (& is delighted with it!).

The Pippi on the right is mine - unfortunately she seems to be having a wee water retention problem going by the strange thickness in her legs!!!

The cushion is bordered with some cute Riley Blake - sorry they aren't more obvious in these pics.

Well it's almost Sunday!  Must sign off now for some much needed beauty sleep.

I hope you've had a great Saturday!

Friday, 20 April 2012

Strike The Pose!

I've been working on a handbag for my 'Kids Workshop' in July.

This is when kids (from the age of 10 upwards) can come along with an adult, and spend the day sewing and creating something for themselves.

In many ways, children are easier to teach than adults, because they don't come with the same fear of the machine (or rotary cutters for that matter - eeek!), or the creative inhibitions and perfectionisms that adults often seem to acquire as they grow up!

The challenge I have with all 1 day workshops is designing something that can be made in 1 day!  The additional challenge for this particular workshop, is to design something that young 'hip 'n happenin' kids will want to make!

My Slouch bag is one of the easiest & most versatile bag patterns to make.  I've made lots of adult versions of these and regularly use one myself as my 'everyday bag'. 

They are roomy and comfortable to 'wear'. So I thought I'd try this one out on the kids in July!

Let me introduce you to the Ab Fab Hollies Agency Models!

The options are:

1. Keep it plain and simple (suitable for a beginner)

2. Add outer pockets (intermediate)

3. Patchwork your bag with favourite scraps (advanced)

With Boxed Corners

Without Boxed Corners
4. The mini version:

So what do you think?  Would your 'young person' be interested in making one of these for themselves for the summer?

Wednesday, 18 April 2012

Up Periscope!

I'm just grabbing 5 minutes to pop my head up to say 'hi' and that I'm still alive!

Everything is good, I've just been really busy with work & life, and haven't had time to blog.  I've been trying to keep up with reading other blogs, though I may not always have time to comment - apologies!

My main task this week has been pattern writing for classes starting back this week.  It's not my favourite part of what I do, but a very important part nonetheless.

I'm pleased to report that my new Machine Sewing for Beginners Class got off to a great start on Monday evening.  I have a lovely bunch of 'eager beavers' who have embraced their fear of the machine, and are now well on their way to becoming addicts like the rest of us!  Next week - THE ROTARY CUTTER! (plasters at the ready!).

My Thursday class will be starting on the Placemats and Coasters project that I taught with another class last term.

And my Friday class will be getting zippy with Pretty Little Pouches.  I'm writing an 8-in-1 pattern for them, which I will also put in my Etsy shop (if I ever get to the end of it!).

I've also been trying to develop a simple but stylish bag for a Kids' workshop I'm running in July.  Not as easy as you might think!

So throw in 3 kids (feeding, disciplining, nagging - you get the idea!), a husband (feeding, disciplining, nagging - you get the idea!), a tour of Titantic Belfast with the rellies, and keeping a house from disappearing under 3 feet of dust, that's pretty much been me this past week.

So time to get back to it!

Down Periscope!

Friday, 13 April 2012

Pick a Pouch!

My new term of classes starts next week.

My Friday class will be making zippy pouches, over several weeks.

Here is a flavour of some of the different styles we'll be making.

Row 1: L-R: Project Pouch, Pencil Case 1, Pencil Case 2, Cosmetics Bag 1
Row 2: L-R: Cosmetics Bag 2, Coin Purse, Cosmetics Bag 3, Personalised Pouch

Small projects are always popular, and one of the main aims of this course is to learn, and grow more confident in, how to insert zips.

There are endless possibilities when it comes to making pouches.  Once you get the hang of putting zips in you can pretty much make up any style or shape that takes your fancy.

These cute wee pouches also make great gifts, as they can be multi-functional, and can be filled up with lots of suitable treats!

Some of the techniques we will be covering are inserting zips at the top, zips on the front and fail-safe covered zip ends. 

We only use plastic/nylon zips for these projects - you can sew over the ends of a plastic zip with your machine, so it's not so crucial to always have a zip the right length.  I always buy zips longer than what I need, and then cut them down to size if required.  10"-14" zips are a good average size for these pouches.

I'm sure we will have a lot of fun making these together!

Zippers at the ready!

Wednesday, 11 April 2012

Stained Blue!

Over the weekend I cracked on with my Stained QAL quilt, and managed to get the top completed.

One advantage of my eldest daughter now being taller than me is that she can hold up quilts!
The fabrics in this quilt are proving to be the hardest to photograph and give an accurate reflection of the colours.

I kept with the skinny sashing, but needed to make the quilt top bigger, so made the border with squares of leftovers and uncut fqs from the bundle ('It's a Boy Thing' by Michael Miller).

Despite spending ages on the maths for the border squares & skinny strips, I still got it wrong, and the corners on the first attempt didn't look so good.

So I re-worked the corners, a tweek here and a tweek there, and the corners don't look so bad now.

I'm probably going to have to make a pieced back with the leftovers (groan!) before deciding how to quilt it. 

Although this quilt isn't needed until September, I want to try and keep up with the others in the QAL group (some smarty pants' have already finished theirs!).

Tuesday, 10 April 2012

A Wonky House for Pippi!

For some bizarre reason, I was up earlier than usual on Sunday (must have been the anticipation of heading to the coast later that morning!).

Anyways, I had a whole hour to fill before going to church, so I thought I'd have a crack at a wonky house for Bee Blessed.

It only took an hour to make!

This was even more fun to make than the Pippi block! 

There are some lovely ones being released onto the market over on our flickr page!

If you fancy having a go and donating a block to Bee Blessed, here are the tutorials for the wonky house block:

Well, tonight marks the end of my Easter break.  We had a lovely few days away, watching lots of films (Jane Eyre, Real Steel, Hugo to name a few!) and eating way too much chocolate and rubbish!  It was relaxing and lovely (the sun even made an appearance, in between the hail showers!).

Being the 'home girl' that I am, it's always lovely to get back to my own home, and especially my own bed!!  I have to confess to replying to a few work related enquiries today, but that's what it's like being self-employed.

Tomorrow, I'm going shopping for a new pair of jeans (I live in jeans but I've ripped an unsightly hole in my regulars!) and then back into the sewing room!  Wish me luck!

I hope you've all had a lovely Easter break!

Saturday, 7 April 2012


My classes finished this week for the Easter holidays!

That means I'm officially off work until next Wednesday - Yippee!

Here's a little mosaic of some of the finished and almost finished value quilts that were made by my Thursday class.
My camera doesn't do justice to the wonderful array of colours in these beautiful quilts.

Aren't they amazing!  Well done ladies, and enjoy your beautiful quilts and wallhangings.

Apologies to my Friday class for not taking pictures of the wonderful placemats and coasters they were making!  I didn't quite have my brain in gear yesterday (you can tell I'm ready for a wee holiday!).

Anyways, I did manage a finish of my own this week:

Based on this tutorial.
This is a cushion for my 14 year old niece, whose bedroom is pale pink.

I just went with stippling on the back, and gave my button-holes a bit more practise! 

The auto button hole settings on my Pfaff don't give me a large enough button hole, so I have to combine manual and auto settings, which is a bit of a fiddle, but worth it in the end.

I hope my niece isn't too old yet to still enjoy a cuddle!

Well I'm going 'dark' for a few days now.  Mr Pfaff & my laptop will be getting a much needed rest as me and my family enjoy 3 days of playing board games, watching dvds & reading at the coast.

Have a wonderful Easter break everyone.  Don't eat too much chocolate (oh go on then!)

Thursday, 5 April 2012

Give Away Your Quilts, Not Your Underwear!

Well the Il Divo concert last night was absolutely amazing!  The live orchestra were fantastic, and the power and passion in the voices of the 4 male singers was spine tinglingly awesome!

There were a few flying objects making their way on stage (much to the surprise of the singers!).  And there was me thinking this would be a civilised concert!!!

Moving swiftly on!

You've probably heard about Lynne's call for quilts to be donated to a UK charitable organisation called Siblings Together.  Siblings who are separated in care, get to come together during a summer residential, to spend quality time together.  A quilt will be given to each child at the residential, which they can then keep and take home as a memory of their time there.

Bee Blessed love making and donating quilts, especially to children.  So we have posted over to England one of the dino quilts we recently completed.

Panels kindly donated by River Fabrics

We hope that this quilt will bring some comfort and memories to a little boy separated from his family.  And check out the flickr group to see the other quilts being donated from all over the world.

I've also managed to get a name tag made for my secret swap partner for the Fat Quarterly Retreat in June. 

Can only show you a sneaky peek!!

The back
I've stalked her on flickr, and have tried to incorporate some of her favs.  Let's hope she'll be wearing her badge with pride at the retreat, rather than an embarrassed red face!