Triangles Into Squares

We are almost at the end of January and this is my first post of the year! How are the resolutions going? Along with many of you, I am trying to declutter and get more organised.  Cupboards have been cleaned, tiles scrubbed and bags (and bags and bags) have been delivered to charity shops across Sheffield.

All the sorting and tidying has unearthed a rather unhealthy amount of unfinished projects….so I thought I would make start on finishing these rather than adding new projects to the pile!

First on the list is this bundle of half square triangles……

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I made these a good few months ago when I was in my *triangle phase* (thankfully I am now through that one now) , they are made mostly from an unknown Moda charm pack with some Amy Butler, Riley Blake and a splash of Liberty. Once made up I struggled with the colour and layout, there was just too much colour, pattern and points! So I bundled them all up and forgot about them until my tidy up.

When I looked at them with fresh eyes I did like everything, apart from the triangles. So I sliced and diced them into 2 1/4″ squares and stitched them back together…

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And a close up of my not-too-bad-at-all seams (just don’t look at THAT one at the bottom)…

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My plan is to quilt it with a layer of batting and calico back, and then turn it into a 50cm square cushion cover. I may even have a go at free motion quilting if I can find a simple design which will work. If you have any ideas please leave a comment below or on my Facebook page (see right), I would be most grateful.

Easy DIY Christmas Card Idea Perfect for Kids

Impress your family and friends (and save cash) with homemade Christmas cards from your little ones.  Yep I know this may be a little late for some of you super organised folks, but it is easily adaptable to birthday, thank you or any other card you wish to send.

You will need:

Blank cards – I bought mine from The Works

Craft knife/scissors

Pencil

Paint – normal kids paint that is supposed to wash out and never does

Sponge, brushes

Glitter glue/paint etc etc

Imagination

In a nutshell, draw your design onto a spare card and cut it out.  Keep the design simple, especially if you have little ones helping.  My design has three colours which needed 3 separate templates (see below).  Paint, decorate, write, post.

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It is a really simple idea but very effective. The perfect way to spend a few hours with you family :-) Now I just need to get them written and posted!

Free-Motion Raw-Edge Appliqué Made Easy

If you *like* Little Red Monkey & Co’s Facebook page  you will know that last night I did a somewhat foolish thing.  I cracked open a bottle of wine during an impromptu sewing session.  You know the sort where you empty your entire fabric collection – including the scrap box – all over the living room.  I was inspired by a fab tutorial found on Comfort Stitching, no idea how I stumbled onto this blog (may have been the wine distracting me from online grocery shopping), but I am glad I found it.  So out came my fabric,  large helping of wine, and I was off on my free-motion-embroidery journey.  I didn’t expect it to work, i really didn’t.  Maybe it was the lack of expectation, maybe it was the wine making me carefree about that needle cm’s from my hands.  But it turned out alright……I was that pleased I made it into a cushion.  Little M has claimed it – he is my number one fan after all :-)

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I Love Screen Printing

A little while ago I signed up for a one day course in screen printing with the fabulous Running With Scissors. Those with a good memory may remember it was here I had my first introduction to quilting and log-cabin cushion making. And now I have a new love for printmaking, particularly screen printing. I have yet to do any at home, I need to get myself a screen etc. But it is definitely on my shopping/christmas list!!

During the class I printed a folk-art inspired print onto a tea towel, with plans to frame it (still waiting) and a lovely copper sunburst onto a second tea towel, with plans to make it into a cushion (still waiting). They are pretty amazing, but the best one of all was this…..

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((Camouflage incase your wondering!!!))

I still can’t quite believe that I printed it, it’s fab :-) And M loves it. Now I can’t take any credit for the design, I downloaded it from the super talented Oana Befort, you can find it on her beautiful blog here. I cut the design out of an acetate, taped it onto the bottom of the screen, and voila!  Well it was a little more technical than that but all completely doable .  If you live in the area I would thoroughly recommend doing the workshop, It was a great introduction to the world of screen printing.

Now I am off to dust down the free-motion embroidery needle on my sewing machine, I have signed up to a F-ME class in a few weeks.  If I remember correctly I downed tools last time I had a go at this at home as I couldn’t get the bobbin thread to lay flat, it was all loopy.  Do you have any words of wisdom for me???

All Change

It’s been a busy few months around here so blog posts have been a little scarce, sorry ’bout that, but I am back and bubbling with ideas and enthusiasm :-)

The big new is that I have started a new job, which I completely love.  It was hard decision to leave the old one, but definitely the right one.  I think any sort of change is difficult, for me it is anyway, but the hardest bit was making the decision to go, that and leaving at the end of my last shift.  But, I got through it and now LOVE what I am doing.  There is a life lesson in there somewhere!!

I have another big change to face next week too, my little M is starting school.  I am getting a bit emotional just thinking about it now, I hope I manage to hold it together when I take him on tuesday.  He is definitely ready to school, he has a keen interest in the world around him and continually asks questions about ANYTHING and EVERYTHING, although these generally get onto the subject of poo within two or three questions.  Quite a talent really!  Having said all that I am not really sure what I am going to do when he is not around all day.  I have been trying hard to remember what I used to do in my pre-M life, but all I have are a few hazy memories of waking up on the right side of 9 o’clock and choosing grown-up programmes to watch on tv.  Obviously the first one is out of the question, four years is a tad too young for going to school solo, but the latter sounds good!  I think I can probably survive the day without cebeebies :-)  We have been busy making a Treasure Box for him to fill with special thing.  He has  to take on his fist day.  It is still work in progress but I think it is pretty good for my anti-anything-to-do-with-crafts little M.

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I have a big plan to get myself through the two weeks annual leave that I have taken to get M settled into school.  I am going to turn his bedroom from baby nursery to a cool bedroom that any four year old would be proud of.  This is likely to involve the mandatory superhero-dinosaur-pirate theme that every little boy loved for at least 30 minutes every day.  But I need ideas, google is not helping me.  Have you seen anything that may help me??

I will need fabric to make a blackout blind that actually works, I was thinking of sticking little circles of velcro strategically around the window frame to secure it, with hopefully no gap for light to wake him, and therefore me, at 530 in the morning.    Will this work??  The biggest conundrum at the moment is which bed to get him??  It definitely needs to be a proper single bed, then I can get in it when he decides to take over my bed.  How such a little person fills up a double bed never ceases to amaze me!  I am thinking storage so would like a bed with draws underneath, M on the other hand would like a den.  I am toying with this bed from The Childrens Bed Centres, but they have no reviews other than on their own website, and you can’t go and see their beds in a shop as far as I am aware.  I always spend a lot of time reading reviews before I make big purchases, so this makes me a little nervous.  But the reviews they have got seem positive, but then they wouldn’t put a bad review on their own website would they??  Advice appreciated!!

Images taken for The Childrens Bed Centre. Clicking on the images will take you through to their website.

So the big question is practical storage or exciting den?? which would you choose??

My ATC Has Arrived!

I was so excited to receive my ATC this week. The tiny beautiful stitching is the neatest I have ever seen……

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The back is just as lovely……

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The beautiful ribbon wrapped up my little parcel, and is strategically placed to cover up details that my swap partner Gwen of Celtic Fusion Fabrics (how lucky was I!!) might not want splashed about the Internet.

Celtic Fusion Fabrics is genuinely one of my most favourite online fabric shops, they do the most amazing fabric bundles, including smallies which are bundles of fat 1/8ths. Perfect for little patchwork projects. I have alway had fabulous customer service too, highly recommended shop!!

My own trading card- I named her Lulu – is now safely with her new owner who loves her :-)

I am really looking forward to the next swap later this year, keep an eye on Ali’s blog Very Berry Handmade for details if you would like I join in too!

First ATC Swap Completed!!

My first ATC swap is currently on route to it’s new owner (it is a secret swap so ssssshhhhh). Here is a sneaky peak….

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It is the first *swap* that I have done and I have loved it! I had never heard of a Textile Artist Trading Card before reading Ali’s post and signing up for the 1st Very Berry Handmade swap. But once I started my research (aka google) I realised that they are more common than you would think. There is a fabulous Flickr group which shows the cards made for this swap, they are all pretty awesome! I would link it but not sure how, I am very new to Flickr, in fact I joined it for this swap. If you search *very berry handmade ATC swap* then you should find the group.

I hope you have be inspired to join in with the next swap over at Very Berry Handmade!!

The Festival of Strings – My Entry

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My first string-pieced quilt, made for my Mum for Mother’s Day. It matches her newly decorated bedroom perfectly! It was my first attempt at machine stitched binding, a little wobbly in places but I much prefer it to hand stitching binding on, just a little more practice needed. My quilting can best be seen from the back, two rows of stitches around each square set off the pattern perfectly.

I am including this quilt in The Festival of Strings.  A happy coincidence that I chose to make a string quilt at just the right time :-)