Christmas is coming…

…And Emily is getting fat (but that’s mainly due to all the cake I consume during The Bake Off!). But aside from that…Christmas requests are starting to flood in!

The ever popular appliqué and patchwork stockings are underway. Last year was a record year, I did more of these than ever before.

Applique Christmas Stockings

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And, of course, the Santa sack…

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New to my Christmas ‘to do’ list last year was these super cute Christmas bags – I made these for all the children in my life and filled them up with goodies. (The blue Santa being my favourite).

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For more pictures of my past Christmas makes, check out the following posts:

The Most Wonderful Time of the Year
More Chistmassy Makes
Chistmas is coming…now taking orders!

Patchwork Memory Quilt

You may have seen the memory quilt a did last year for my friend who asked me to make a quilt out of her late father’s shirts, swim shorts and ties…

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Not only did I think this was such a lovely way to hold on to a little piece of someone you love, I received such positive comments about the quilt and, most importantly, my friend who I made it for was overwhelmed with bittersweet feelings.

I have since been asked to make another memory quilt – no less lovely but with less sorrow associated with it. I made this quilt for a little girl, Alice, from all her baby clothes – such a great way of up-cycling old baby clothes (and saving space in your attic!) without the wrench of actually having to get rid of them, and the memories!

Patchwork memory quilt

Whilst it is a simple square patchwork pattern, it was quite a lengthy project. A lot of my time was spent ironing the teeny tiny dresses, romper suits, skirts to determine which pieces of clothes were large enough to get even once patch. I made an effort to cut out patches of the fabric that featured an interesting element of the item i.e. a pocket, embroidery etc.

After calculating the size of blanket and cutting the number of patches to fit the right amount of rows and columns etc, I laid it all out to establish a nice patchwork pattern – mixing denim and pastels for contrast, and set to work with the sewing machine.

I used a really pretty print fabricfabric for the back that coordinated well with the colours on the front.

It’s difficult to imagine how these are quilts are going to turn out, especially as I have no control over the patterns or colours of the fabrics. However, as I laid it out on my son’s bed to photograph it, I think it’s fair to say it looked so good, I could have kept it (and that’s even without the sentimental value to me!). I hope Alice loves it even more!

A Splash of Colour

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For my wedding back in 2011 I made over 100 placemats – using six different fabrics and each having a little ‘thank you for coming to our wedding’ label stitched in (for our guest to take away). Even now when I pop round to friends and family’s houses, I see them used: if not for dinner, being given the honour of protecting tables from various household items – which is actually kind of nice.

My friend Sarah and her handy-man husband Glen have recently refurbished their kitchen/dining area and Sarah asked me to make a table runner and six mats, requesting ‘something like my wedding ones‘: different but coordinating fabric for the top, same spotty fabric on the underside. I had a look around and gave Sarah some nice fabric options, of which she chose a selection from the Amy Butler Hapi range.

I used each different fabric per placemats and with the spare fabric (from each fat quarter) I cut into patches to create the runner, that was just short of 2m long. As well as the mats, I quilted the runner so it was nice and padded to protect Sarah’s lovely table. For the backing of all the mats and runner, I used a Kaffe Fassett blue spot fabric, that coordinated nicely with the colours of the Amy Butler’s.

I didn’t actually take any photos of these myself but Sarah sent me some of them in action…

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Jesse’s handmade gifts

Those who know me know I am partial to a hand made item. Being a crafter myself I know how much work, time and effort, is put into creating something unique for someone – and this makes it more special to receive.

When Jesse was born, and even now, a few months on, we have receive so many gorgeous hand made gifts, it would be rude of me not to share …(and give a shout out to those so generous).

Appliqué vests and softie from Laura F (who is currently due her baby – I’ll have to come up with something good in return!)

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Audrey (mum and ‘commissionee‘ of my friend Laura D) – who is probably one of the world’s greatest and fastest knitter, who can turn her needles to anything including this cosy teal sleeping bag with wooden buttons.

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Gorgeous patchwork blanket from Linda, whose quilting talent I can only aspire to.

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Oh so beautiful and intricate knitted shawl from my Aunty Shirley – can you believe this was made by hand…just wow!

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Mini knitted baseball boots…cuuuuttttee! (again thank you Aunty S).

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Appliqué elephant card from new mum and fellow crafter Lou. This is getting framed and mounted on Jesse’s bedroom wall.

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Winnie the Pooh quote print personalised with Jesse’s name and date of birth, created by Jane, another piece of wall candy.

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More gorgeous knitted goodies – a mountain of cardies and jumpers (and hats and booties) from my Aunty Maureen. So beautiful and with a quality no shop could match. And, a range of sizes to last him many months…yeay – he’s certainly going to be the smartest boy in town!

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Colourful taggie from Helen – LOVE this fabric and super colourful which Jesse finds extremely attractive. This has some many different and interesting tags – satin ribbons, canvas tags, buttons and jumbo ric rac – for Jesse to feel (and chew on!).

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A big thank you from myself and Jesse for these gorgeous gifts; they’ve also given me inspiration for gifts I’m sure to be making in the future!

 

A special patchwork

I wanted to post up some pics of one of my most treasured baby gifts.

A few weeks before my baby boy was born, my friends arranged a surprise baby shower for me.

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Having run craft workshops for hen dos and baby showers for the past couple of years with my friend and business partner Sam with our business Love Me Sew, it is only right that I should have one myself right? So I don’t know why it took me so by surprise…so much so I thought it was going to induce labour!

Sam sneakily fooled me into thinking I was helping her set up for a workshop only to arrive (wearing very unflattering maternity leggings and my dog walking boots!) a room full of my lovely friends and family, some who had travelled from far and wide just for the day: London, Newcastle, Coventry! I was overwhelmed, I had not a clue that this little celebration for me and baby had been planned.

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After a few tears, lots of hellos and hugs, the crafting commenced! Sam had designed a patch for each letter of the alphabet that the girls, most of whom had never sewn before, then spent the afternoon sewing – either by hand or machine and using a range of fabrics, felts and buttons, with the help of Sam and Lauren, her assistant for the day, or myself (even though I was technically off duty I just can’t help myself!).

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After a few hours of sewing, eating cake and, mostly, chatting, the patches were well on their way to being finished and looking fab! Sam took them all away, finished off the extra letters, and put them all together.

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Jesse was born just a couple of weeks later so Sam also stitched on his name and date of birth.

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I had an amazing day, it was such a special surprise and I was truly humbled that so many people came for us, and now we have this gorgeous blanket that was created with so much effort, it will be loved forever. Thank you girls (Jesse’s pretty excited about it too…).

Since having my baby I have decided not to continue with Love Me Sew so I can spend all my spare time, once I’ve return to work in January, with Jesse. I’m sad to say goodbye but it’s the right decision for me. Sam is continuing to run the workshops, including baby showers and, of course, I would thoroughly recommend; they are a day to remember, well planned and organised, and of course you get an amazing gift at the end! For more information, pop on over to the Love Me Sew website and get in touch with Sam, who will go to any lengths to ensure you get the best experience.

 

Patchwork Stockings

It’s not even December and I’ve made eight Christmas stockings so far, and I have another two on the ‘to do’ list for this week!

A little different from the Christmas stockings I made a couple of week ago, these don’t just have one design decorating the front, but many being made up of lots of patchwork squares in a range of different fabrics in Christmas-themed colours.

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The main thing in common though is that all the stockings, like most of my items, are personalised. However, this time I hand-embroidered the names instead of using fabric applique which I think looks better on these as would have been too fussy other-wise (plus ‘Sebastian’ would have been quite difficult to fit on in cut out fabric letters!)

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I trimmed the cuffs in both crochet trim for the girls and pom pom trim for the boys.

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I made these stockings in a slightly different way and, on these, instead of the hanging hoop being sewing into the cuff, I hand-sewed them on at the end after the stocking was finished, but decorated them with a cute button. I also hand-stitched a running stitch around the top of the stocking.

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All of these three stockings are for little ones born this year who’s siblings received them last year, adding to the family collection hanging up on the fire-place. I hope they keep and re-use them for many years to come.

Hexies rule!

I’m a BIG fan of patchwork and, when I make my little patchwork quilts,  although they are probably not massively technically skilled in quilting terms, I always like to add something new or try a new pattern or style.
I wrote a post right back at the beginning of the year (seriously, how is it May already!) about how this was going to be the year of learning new skills…well, here is my go at another. I love hexies and have wanted to try them out for aaaages!

I knew that they were going to be time consuming, so I decided to start small; I trial ran the hexies by making a small needle case for my Auntie.

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The great thing about this is that I got to use random gorgeous piece of fabric from my scraps box and pick out specific parts of the fabric print (like the little pin wheel and bear).

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I know this is teeny tiny but it’s my first step to the next [bigger] hexie project…I’m scared!

Annabelle’s Quilt.

Remember my post in January about learning new skills? Well, here is the first skill (i.e. free hand machine embroidery) in action for real (as opposed to the cute, but quite simple, little cards!)

This is a quilt I made for my friend Jane who had her baby Annabelle in December.

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I wanted to incorporate something that was personal to Jane and her husband Marcus which is where the birds come in. Jane and Marcus were married in September 2011 and they had a bird and heart theme to their wedding day (complete with heart and bird shaped cookies as favours that Jane – also a crafty one – made herself!). It’s the birds I am most pleased with on this quilt…

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I think it’s pretty safe to say that there is not an ounce on masculinity in this quilt! Jane is a  pretty girly person so I used subtle pastel pink and green floral and spotty fabrics for the colours, and edged the whole thing in super pretty lace binding (which is a very exciting new discovery for me!).

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However, knowing he is an enthusiast, just for Marcus I added the little scooter (sorry it wasn’t bright red Marcus like your actual scooter, but that wouldn’t have matched my colour scheme!)

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The layout of the patchwork is very similar to Ava’s quilt that I made around the same time as this, but with more subtle and fewer colours, and the centre panel is different, being personalised to the new mum and dad and their baby.

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I also, as I mentioned, wanted to try out my skills in free hand machine embroidery! It was a bit risky and, at first, I thought it was looking a bit messy but now I’m so pleased I did, as I think (if I say so myself!) it looks fab! I’m sure I will be featuring free hand a lot more in my work (hopefully seeing some improvements)…it is, after all, the ‘crack cocaine of the sewing world‘ according to Kirstie Allsopp!

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Ava’s Quilt

I was very pleased to be asked to make a baby quilt as a gift for Dominique Bader, the lovely and talented lady who photographed my wedding.

Baby Ava was due in January and, with Samuel – Dominique’s husband – contacting me about the quilt in November, I knew I had enough time to plan and source some lovely fabrics, ready for Samuel to give to Dominique when the little lady arrived in hospital.

I got a bit of an idea about colours and a little list of the couple’s ‘likes’ from Samuel, but apart from that, the only request he made was to have Ava’s name, as well as Samuel and Dominique’s names included.

I’ve always wanted to buy some Heather Ross fabrics as I think they are so beautiful – the design and colours are very subtle and have a fairytale, whimsical feel: the range is appropriately named ‘Far Far Away’. So I used this quilt as a perfect excuse to treat and allow myself to buy some!

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On holiday!

On holiday!

With the 1st December, came the arrival of the Christmas orders, craft workshops with my other business ‘Love Me Sew‘ as well as my long-awaited holiday to Berlin. So, with the quilt not needed until January, I decided to leave this on the ‘to do’ list until I came back from holiday…well, that is if you don’t count the sketches of how I wanted it to look, and workings-out of sizes, that I did on the plane home!

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Unfortunately for me, babies don’t like to stick to scheduled times and Ava arrived two week’s earlier than expected! Fortunately for me, however, because Samuel is a very lovely customer (and I think was pretty much swept up with how gorgeous his new little baby girl was) didn’t mind that the quilt wasn’t ready in time.

But, a week later, after pretty much sticking to my sketches and the pictures in my head, the quilt was done and posted!

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Two of Samuel and Dominique’s ‘likes’ included cycling and dogs (plus the camera for obvious reasons!)…

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Samuel was happy, Dominique loved it and I think Ava found it pretty comfy too…

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As for me, I think to date, this is one of my favourites and crafty items I am most proud of.

P.S. How gorgeous is Ava! The photo of Ava are taken by Dominique (obviously as they are way better than mine!)

Emma’s Quilt

Another quilt post…this one I made for a little girl’s first birthday.

I was asked for similar colours that I used on Millie’s owl…green and a pop of bright pink – pretty but not too baby-ish so that it can keep on being used as little Emma gets older.

The quilt was a little bigger than a normal cot quilt as it’s aim was to fit a single bed. I was also told that, with Emma’s room being quite small, this and some matching bunting were going to provide the main colour to the room, which is a lovely idea.

The quilt did start out being just made up of squares but because I like to make things more complicated for myself…ahem…I mean more ‘creative’…I used a pinwheel style pattern (not sure if this is the official quilting term, I just think they look like pinwheels!). I alternated this with blocks of the bright pink spot to make it less fussy and more youthful.

 

I really liked how this turned out…it’s cool.