Friday, December 28, 2012

Library book bags....

 A few weeks before Christmas I was asked by a friend if I could make up a couple of library book bags for her niece and nephew so I put Pinterest to good use and found this tutorial. I am so pleased with how these bags turned out as was my friend thank goodness :-) The tutorial was really easy to follow and I managed to make both bags in 1 day which was a bonus considering I left them till the last week before Christmas to make them.
 My friends niece likes 'owls' so I appliqued an owl to the front pocket and found an owl print to use as the library card pocket that is on the front of the strap. The main striped fabric is a cotton twill that was a leftover remnant in my stash from a skirt I made Caitlin when she was about 5 I think.
For the boy's version I found some striped canvas by "Prints Charming" at Spotlight and added some whale fabric from my stash which helped me come up with the whale appliqué on the front pocket. These bags are really roomy and strong with a 3 inch wide strap that is made with a creamy coloured canvas and they are fully lined with "french seams" no less :-) Makes me wish my girls were younger so I could make them one each although I think I might use this pattern to make my eldest daughter a laptop bag with a few measurement alterations of course and at 15 years I don't think she will want any appliqué on the front either.

Thursday, December 27, 2012

A surprise in the post....

 I am feeling very blessed and grateful today to have made such good, supportive and generous friends through my blog. One such friend is Karen who is an Australian blogger who today surprised me with this Christmas parcel. Included in it was an Aneela Hoey quilting journal which  is filled with blank thick artist quality paper and some graph paper at the back and I can't wait to start using it. She also included a pretty embroidered laced edged linen and a very much needed bookmark. Much needed because I currently have no less than 5 books on the go. Yes books are my therapy at the moment as are girlfriends :-) 
Thank you Karen, you are so generous and thoughful :-)

 I have also been meaning to share this parcel that I recieved a couple of weeks ago just in time for the Christmas decorating. Back sometime in the beginning of November I agreed to do a Christmas ornament swap with Julie who follows my blog and is unfortunately not a blogger herself but I think she should be as she is a very clever crafter going from what she sent me for this swap. Everything is perfectly made right from the pretty wrapping of the parcel itself.
Julie generously made me not one or two ornaments but four ornaments all beautifully and perfectly crafted. 
Thank you Julie for your generosity and I would gladly do another swap with you next year!

I hope everyone is enjoying a peaceful and joyous Christmas/New year holiday break. For the last month I have been very busy sewing things for my shop and also some last minute Christmas gifts so will back here soon to share what has kept me away from blogging these last 3 weeks.

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

More baby sewing .....

Have been busy again making more crib sized quilts and bibs in some fun bright colours. I used the same patterns as last time just because I think these fun bright fabrics need simplicity to stand out and do the talking themselves;-)
The baby boy version is made up of mostly spots, stripes and stars but has two novelty prints for added interest. The teddy bear fabric is leftover from items I made when my girls were babies so not too long ago
The other novelty print is this duck/rabbit print that is from my Aunts sewing days when her girls were small so it's genuine vintage fabric that I try to use sparingly:-)
I used this same cute vintage duck print as the focus fabric for a matching little bib.
And here's the baby girl quilt in lovely bright greens,yellows and pinks. I've had these fabrics put aside to make a girls quilt for what seems like ages. I often put groups of fabrics together for future projects but then never seem to get around to actually making anything so it feels good to have finally done something with these fabrics.

  A couple of my favourite feature fabrics in this quilt are these little yellow chicks and the green hen fabric which were both begging to be made into something sweet for a baby;-)

    I've kept the quilting simple too with just straight lines using a matching variegated thread then bound it with a solid pale pink.
    .....and a matching bib made with some leftover pieces from the quilt. Both these quilts and matching bibs are for sale here in my Etsy shop just in time for Christmas :-)

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

For the love of books.......

It is no secret to those who know me and my girls, that we all love to read a lot and therefore we have quite a collection of books or a small library in the case of the girls :-) There is always a book or two laying around in various places and a whole stack next to my bed at the moment. Some time ago when I was re-arranging and re-decorating our entrance room on the ground level of our home I got rid of our damaged and ugly bookcase and put my books in storage until I found the perfect bookcase at the right price. I have yet to find that perfect bookcase but last week I replaced a bedside table with a more appropriate set of bedside drawers in Caitlin's room. Having to fit the original little table she had been using elsewhere in our home I came up with the idea of displaying some of the very old books I had been given from my parents. Inspiration came from here, here and here. Two or three of them are in slight dis-repair but I quite like that. A couple of them date back to the 1930's so I think they deserve to be on display at that age and not packed up in a box in a garage. 

So when I was rescuing those old books I also found my Bible that I had been given way back in the 70's and decided it needed a nice bookcover to protect it and also make it look pretty and more me :-)
I used my favourite blue, turquoise and purple batik fabrics and embellished it with some machine embroidery stitches. 
My very favourite turquoise batik for the spine....

...a label stitiched on the back so I would know which was the front and back :-) and a ribbon bookmark was added to the top of the spine in a perfect colour combo of grey and turquoise.

And on the front inside I added a bookmark keeper to hold the small collection of bookmarks that were still in it.

I made this cover in just a few hours on Saturday afternoon and really enjoyed making something just for "me" for a change plus the whole challenge of designing it from scratch. Now it looks all very much at home and pretty sitting on a shelf above my bed.

Saturday, November 17, 2012

In my November garden......

 I think 'abundantly beautiful' best describes my garden at this time of the year. Everything is either in full bloom or about to be or is just finishing. Surprisingly we have the most amazing strawberry crop just starting to ripen. Surprisingly because these are last years plants and I cannot take one ounce of credit for their size and the number of strawberries growing as I have done nothing to help them along. They are growing in the same soil as last year and I have added nothing to it. I was always under the impression that year old strawberry plants don't do as well as new ones but mine have just blown that theory....thank you nature :-)

And here's my veggie and herb gardens looking very lush and full of promise surrounded by some newly mown grass which always makes everything look so tidy don't you think. My potatoes seemed to have sprouted and grown overnight, the sage is looking pretty with it's purple flowers but the spinach would look a lot better if the hens would leave it alone for a while although they are producing lovely eggs with bright orange yolks so I can't really complain too much.
 Looking forward to seeing what comes out of this bud. It is an oriental poppy which I have never grown before. My father grew these from seed and mistakenly brought these oriental ones instead of the 'Iceland' poppies he normally grows.

The various rhododendrons are covered in colourful blooms and as one type finishes another type or variety starts blooming keeping the bees busy as I saw while taking these photos.

 The roses are just starting to bloom too and are just covered with promising buds. They have been well looked after this year as my neighbour kindly sprayed them for me not just once but twice.

 And this is what I've been listening to whilst typing up this post...a band I have just discovered and can't stop listening to now. I can't decide which is my favourite...maybe this one or it could be this one although this one is good too. Have you heard of  "Grouplove"???

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Sewing for babies......

 A couple of weeks ago I was asked by a friend of a friend to make some baby items for new babies. So I have been beavering away in my sewing attic creating baby shoes, stroller/crib quilts and bibs and I'm not finished yet. It's been a nice change to create items with these bright and modern fabrics that I've been collecting for a while now.
 This baby girl quilt is the perfect size for a stroller/pram or crib. I decided all these pretty fabrics needed to show their prettiness off was a simple patchwork of squares and some cross-hatch quilting. The fabrics are a mixture of some Bliss by Bonnie and Camille, Pop garden and bijoux by Heather Bailey and Hunky dory by Momo plus a few spotty fabrics thrown into the mix.
 It's backed with a Denyse Schmidt print (purchased on sale at Spotlight Yay!) and bound with a double layered bias binding of a Bliss print.
 For the baby boy quilt I put together some blue,green and brown prints consisting mainly of dots, spots and stripes plus the fun animal print by Michael Miller fabrics and some cute little birdie fabrics that I seemed to be collecting in my stash. Because I tend to make mostly girly things I found it a nice change to work with a different colour palate.
 It is backed with this green and brown print from Bonnie and Camille's Bliss range and bound with a aqua and white spot print just to continue with the spots and dots theme I seemed to have going on.

 Two little pairs of cute baby boy shoes which are so cute to make up...
Finally I made these bibs up with some leftover fabrics from the quilts and backed them with a fine and soft pale blue towelling. These bibs have a velcro fastening on one side of the neck which I remember being a quick and easy way to put a bib on a wriggly baby.

Friday, November 9, 2012

The lost art of the hand written letter..........

Boho batik writing/journalling compendium No I'm not going to write a post on how we rarely hand write letters any more but it is something that we see less and less of which I think is a little sad since how special do we feel when we receive even just a handwritten note. Anyway with those thoughts in mind I designed this writing/journalling folder or "compendium" I think is the correct word for it. I used up some scraps of batiks leftover from the making of my 'Boho bag'. As you can see it has 2 pockets on the front for pens and closes with a fabric loop and handmade button (a miniature version of the button on the bag). Boho batik writing/journalling compendium Inside it has 4 large pockets for storing paper, journals and pens, 2 single pen pockets and 2 pockets for cards. Boho batik writing/journalling compendium Once again I used some African 'shwe shwe' fabrics for the inside. I really like the way these prints coordinate with the blue batiks plus the fact that they've been in my stash for a while now and it feels good to finally find the perfect items to use them in. Boho batik writing/journalling compendium
Just like the 'Boho bag' it is embellished on the outside with a variety of machine embroidery stitches....

Admittedly I don't write many letters myself but I do like to have paper handy when inspiration strikes and I also have recently started a journal for writing down inspirational quotes etc... so I think I need to make one of these compendiums for myself. This one is now for sale here in my Etsy shop and also here in my Felt shop.

Saturday, November 3, 2012

Enjoying the process.....

Oops didn't mean to have yet another mini break in posting here but I have been busy in my sewing attic creating accessories to go with the 'Boho bag' I created a couple of weeks ago. Making that bag seemed to really reignite the creative processes in my head and also reignite my love of batik fabrics. These fabrics are so colourful and vibrant that you can't not feel happy working with them.

Little zippered pouches/wristlets Each one is embellished with some coordinating ribbon which I have been collecting (hoarding perhaps) for a while now, waiting for that perfect project, as you do :-) Little zippered pouches/wristlets Inside each one is a little pocket for cards or perhaps a make-up mirror.

 For the lining in the purple/turquoise one and the blue/white one I used some African "Shwe shwe" fabric which I also used inside the 'Boho bag'

Little zippered pouches/wristlets
I tied some ribbon to the zipper pull to make it easier to close and the bottoms are 'boxed' so the sit on there own. Little zippered pouches/wristlets

Plus each one has a wrist strap making it easier to carry if using on its own.

Little zippered pouches/wristlets
I cannot decide which one I like more. They are such a cute size too at 6" across the widest part and just 5" tall. What do you think??
 You can find them for purchase here in my Etsy shop and also in my Felt shop  :-)
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