Pixie Noel Blog Hop

IMG_0474Hi! Welcome to my turn on the Pixie Noel Blog Hop.

Pixie Noel is Tasha Noel’s latest collection for Riley Blake and I am truly smitten. Like many people I am a huge fan of Tasha’s designs, with all of her previous collections being a big part of our handmade home – from nursery bunting and curtains, first birthday dresses and now our Christmas.

 

As soon  Pixie Noel arrived at my home I started making 1 inch hexies (seriously how could I not – hedgehogs AND deers ), but then I needed a project to display my sweet cheery hexies!  Suddenly I was inspired by a previous and well loved item I had made – a pillowcase! Growing up we would leave out pillowcases (not stockings) on Christmas Eve, and with this sweet Christmas themed collection now my daughters will be able to do the same.

IMG_1751I used Lisa from A Spoonful Of Sugar free tutorial for a hexie pillowcase, adjusting slightly to make the cuff completely out of hexies. The Pixie Noel illustrations are perfectly sized for 1 inch fussy cut hexies and even better a  charm pack easily makes 42 hexies – all you need for the cuff on a standard pillowcase.

 

 

 

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With the little pieces of fabric I had left over I  made a little sleeping bag for my daughter’s favourite bunny. I used the Honey Bear’s sleeping bag pattern from the S is for Sewing Book by Belle and Boo.  A seriously cute idea, that is so simple to make I look forward to making more for gifts.
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Of course I couldn’t let the tiny pieces left over from making hexies go to waste (seriously those tiny blue birds are adorable).  So I made fabric stamps using Amy Sinibaldi’s tutorial and then using Svetlana Sotak’s  free pattern for a drawstring pouch I made a super cute and handy pouch to leave out  – perfect for those tiny gifts that sometimes get lost on Christmas morning.

 

 

So thanks to Tasha’s sweet illustrations Christmas in July has well and truly arrived in our home. My girls are  already using the pillowcase, sleeping bag and tiny pouch (currently on a roster as I need to make one more of each item).  And the best part is all these items featured in my blog hop post were made with 1 1/2 yards of Pixie Noel fabric and a single 5 inch charm pack!

Ohh and it is also Jemima from Tied with Ribbon’s turn on the blog hop today and her beautiful Let It Snow wall hanging is as pretty as it is inspiring, so you definitely need to pop over to her blog.

And if like me you love all things Pixie Noel, tomorrow the blog hop will feature makes from Andy from A Bright Corner and Lindsay from The Cottage Mama.

Happy Creating!

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English Paper Piecing – A few tips

 

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Most nights I enjoy relaxing with some simple hand sewing, and more often then not I’m working on a english paper pieced project.  So after 18 months of almost daily practice I have discovered a few tips that I thought I would share and hopefully help you with your next project.

 

 

 

Glue vs thread basting

I have tried both glueing and thread basting and for me IMG_0202
thread basting wins out for any paper piece over about 1/2 inch.  Thread basting helps maintain the shape (no more yanking at seams and fabric to become unstuck) and means I can get at least two or three uses out of my paper pieces as the papers aren’t torn when I remove them.  With 1/2 inch and smaller shapes it gets fairly tricky to work with the tiny pieces so I do find glueing easier.

 

Thread

For months I struggled with threading my needles but then I discovered Aurifil 50 weight thread – its thin enough to fit through the eye of any needle but has enough structure it doesn’t collapse when you are trying to thread with it.

Needles

I had no idea there was special quilting needles but once I discovered size 11 needles my stitches improved straight away.  Their small size means they slip through the fabric far easier than a longer length needle.  And as you sew your shapes together you can also get in between the edge of the paper piece and the edge of the fabric (see below image), which means your stitches won’t be visible at the front of your project.IMG_0205

 

Strawberry Biscuit Blog Hop

When Elea Lutz contacted me and asked if I wanted to join the Strawberry Biscuit blog hop I was so excited (and fairly nervous).  This collection was a firm favourite the moment I saw it on her Instagram feed.  IMG_9353

I knew that with such pretty and cheery fabric I wanted to make
something for my daughters. I then thought about why I adored this collection so much. It wasn’t just the fact it features sweet baking kitties, singing blue birds, tiny flowers and a divine cheater print perfect for making 1 inch hexies.

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It was Elea’s perfect eye for details and colours. Her beautiful illustrations are reminiscent of my favourite vintage prints and I find each and every piece of the collection sweet and inspiring. Suddenly the answer came to me – for this arts and craft obsessed family I would make a children’s travelling art case!

A ‘go anywhere’ art case would be a great way to display the sweet prints, as well help encourage my daughters to keep creating, no matter where they are (who knows, maybe one day they will be fabric designers!).

Open art case

 

I couldn’t find an art case pattern so instead I came up with a simple design that I then embellished with fabric stamps, hexies and a fussy cut quilt block. I even took the cheater print and turned it slightly so that the squares became diamonds! Such a simple twist and the result is so sweet

 

Below I have a little step by step tutorial on how I made the case. You can make the case as simple or as intricate as you like.  I have a place for pencils, a pouch for treasures and a section for an art pad.  I encourage you to make the case your own by adding the little touches you love creating and as a result it is sure to be a cherished piece that encourages the next generation of creators.

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There have been so many amazing bloggers featured in this blog hop and tomorrow is no exception.  Make sure you have a look at the projects by Megan from Dolly Henry and Stacy from Farm Road Quilts you are guaranteed to be inspired by what they have made with Strawberry
Biscuit!

Art Case

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Travelling Art Case Tutorial

Fabric requirements

Inner Cover
Cover – 12 1/2 inches by 21 1/2 inchesIMG_9355


Pencil Section

Outer Fabric – 7 1/2 inch by 5 1/4 inch
Lining – 7 1/2 inch by 5 1/4 inch

Pouch with Flap
Outer Fabric – 7 1/2 inch by 3 1/2 inch
Lining – 7 1/2 inch by 3 1/2 inch

Flap 7 1/2 inch by 3 1/4 inch
Flap Lining 7 1/2 inch by 3 1/4 inch

Notebook Section
Outer Fabric – 9 1/4 inch 9 1/4 inch
Lining – 9 1/4 inch 9 1/4 inch

Outer Cover
Cover – 12 1/2 inches by 21 1/2 inches
Batting (I used a stiff bag batting) – 12 inches by 21 inches
Handles – 2 x (2 inch by 8 inch)

Instructions

Please note these are the basics for preparing the case. Remember to personalise it!

Inner Cover

  1.  Sew each of the section and pouch pieces to its corresponding lining by placing the two pieces right side together. Sew around each piece using a 1/4 seam and leaving a 1 inch gap to allow you to turn the pieces out. Turn them out and then press.
  2.  Lay out your inner cover right side facing up. On the upper left side of the cover lay your pouch section and then the flap piece slightly above the pouch section. Below the pouch, position the pencil section (Hint: remember the pencils will stick out the top so you need to make sure there is enough space between the bottom of the pouch and the top of the pencil section).
  3. Place the notebook section on the right side of the cover making sure you place it low enough that your notebook won’t stick out of the top of the case.
  4. Check that you are happy with the layout of each of your sections, and that they are far enough away from the outer edge that they won’t be caught up in the hem when you sew the outer and inside cover together.
  5. You will now sew each section in place to the inner cover. For all pieces (except the pouch flap) top stitch along the two short sides and along the bottom. You will then top stitch just along the top of the pouch flap.
  6. You are now going to make the slots for the pencils to go into. We are using quite IMG_9098thick pencils so I measured 1 inch intervals along the length of pencil section. (Hint: if you are using thinner pencils you might be able to fit in extra pencils). I then top stitched a straight line down each inch interval (from the top to the bottom).
  7. Depending on what you are putting in your pouch with a flap you can either add snaps or just leave it as is.

Outer Cover

  1. Quilt the Outer cover to the batting however way you wish. if you want to keep it really simple you could just sew 1/4 inch around the edge of the batting so that it is secure to the front cover.
  2. Take the two strips of fabric for the handles. Take the fabric and fold in in half length ways so it measures 1 inch by 8 and then press. Open up the strip and then fold each 8 edge so that they meet at the centre fold. Now fold the entire thing at the original fold so you end up with a 1 inch by 8 inch strip with concealed edges. Repeat for the other strip. Then top stitch 1/8 inch in down the length of of each strip along both sides.
  3. Now we are going to attach the handles to the outside cover. Measure 3 inches down and attach the handle shorter (1 inch) edge to the cover. Measure 7 1/12 inches down from the top and attach the other shorter edge. You should now have a handle! (Hint: make sure the handle is laying against the cover so that it is out of the way when you sew the front and back cover together). Repeat on the other side for the other handle.

Final Construction

  1. You are now going to sew the outer cover to the inside cover. Lay the two cover right side together and pin. Sew around using a 1/4 inch seam and leaving a 4 inch gap at the bottom to turn the case out.
  2. Turn out the case and press, making sure you push out each corner.
  3. Hand sew or machine stitch the opening closed
  4. Fill up your case with lots of fun bits and pieces! And in our case remove all those art pieces and replace them with your tiny vintage dolls and their pet dinosaur. Enjoy!IMG_9343

A Lovely Little Patchwork Heart Coaster

kerri_horsley_LLPOne of my favourite bloggers, Kerri Horsley, has just published an amazing new book – Lovely Little Patchwork (available on Amazon and Book Depository).

Kerri, knowing what a fan I was of her sweet style, was kind enough to send me a copy of the book. And let me tell you, it is a brilliant!  A bright and cheery book that includes 18 lovely projects from a cute doll to quilts, cushions and even a strawberry shaped backpack.

 

What has me really excited (well, other than Kerri knowing my name, which is pretty amazing) is that even for a novice like me all the projects are achievable.  This is thanks to each project having beautiful photos and clear instructions, accompanied by super cute illustrations to further explain the steps (and even feature such sweet drawn details such as flower pinsIMG_8909).

In fact, one of my first projects I made was the heart coaster using some precious pieces of Seder Imer’s new fabric range Sweet Orchard.  Sedef sent me a few little pieces of her upcoming first collection and thanks to Kerrie’s brilliant instructions I felt comfortable enough to launch myself into this coaster project.   And yep, just as I am with the book I am smitten with this heart coaster!

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A Little Patchwork Basket

I IMG_8741.jpgwas recently searching for a simple (and free) pattern to make  baskets to give as Teacher thank you gifts.  And found this perfect pattern by Amy Smart from the blog Diary of Quilter.

The instructions were so easy to follow and the sizing was perfect, so the biggest challenge was choosing the fabric (which is actually my favourite partof any new project).

I choose Elea Lutz’s Milk Sugar Flower collection for one basket and then a combination of Sarah Jane’s Sommer collection and Sprinkle from Cotton and
Steel.

IMG_8713The baskets turned out really well, and I even added a couple of french knots to create a little floral crown on the Sommer leaping bunny.  And here’s a hint – as well as being a cute little basket they also make the perfect bassinet for a teddy or doll.

A Patchwork Coin Purse

IMG_8773I recently discovered 3/8 hexies,  fussy cutting and paper piecing tiny pieces can be very time consuming so I really wanted to find a great way to display the final piece.  And for me a patchwork coin purse was the perfect way!

I used a 4 inch sew in frame, which I personally find a lot easier to IMG_8563work with compared to the glue in frames.  You don’t have to worry about glue sticking to your frame (or fabric) and I simply use sticky tape to can hold the fabric in place while I sew it into the frame (I even just sew through the tape and then remove the tape once I have finished).

If you haven’t tried making a coin purse you should definitely give it a go – they make a perfect patchwork gift that can be used everyday!

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Strawberry Biscuit Zipper Pouch

One of my favourite Fabric Designers Elea Lutz will shortly be releasing a new fabric collection, Strawberry Biscuit.  To me the collection is reminiscent of the Golden Books I had as a child, with kittens in bows, harmonising blue birds and sweet strawberries, its almost guaranteed to inspire.  And if you haven’t seen Elea’s work you should definitely have a look at her website.

Strawberry Biscuit is being released in Australia in May (and in even better news one of my favourite fabric stores Ministry of Fabric will be selling it!!)  However thanks to the generosity of one of my Instagram friends, who won a pre release bundle in a recent
giveaway, I managed to get my hands on some of the prints last week.  And it did not disappoint, it inspired me so much I actually tackled one of my sewing phobias – a zipper – to make a little zip pouch.

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Adding in fabric at either ends of the zippers prevents it disappearing into the edges of the pouch

To add in the zipper without it disappearing into the corners of the pouch, I used this tutorial which explained how to add in a piece of fabric at either end of the zipper to essentially extend the zipper length.  And ta da a completed strawberry zipper pouch.

Ohh and if you love fussy cutting hexies the cheater print in the collection makes perfect fussy cutting for 1/2 inch hexies!

 

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A Patchwork Kite – a quick tutorial

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My patchwork kite using Lecien Old New 30s collection cheater fabric with a cute hexie flower

I recently found myself with some time to spare and was after a quick project. After searching Pinterest for inspiration I come across a cloth kite. It looked cute but I thought I would make a patchwork version, it was so popular on Instagram  I’ve pulled together a quick tutorial if you would like to try it yourself.

Step 1. Cut 16 x 3 inch squares (I used a a combination of florals, linens and solids.

Step 2. Sew 2 row of 2 squares, 3 rows of 4 squares.

Step 3. Sew the 5 rows all together, in the following order – 2 row block, 4 row block, 4 row block, 4 row block and finally 2 row block.

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Laying out my fabric blocks

Step 4. Draw a line running diagonal down through each of the top 3 inch blocks and down through the 1st and 4th block of the second row. This provided me with the top of diamond kite shape.

Step 5. Position your ruler to the top left the 3rd row and angle down to the middle of the bottom row. Draw a straight line and repeat on the other side at the top right hand corner of the last block.

Step 6. You should now have a complete diamond shape drawn on your fabric, use these lines to cut out the diamond shape.

Step 7. Add a stiff batting to your diamond fabric piece and quilt as desired.

Step 8. Position your backing piece of fabric underneath your diamond quilt top and cut around leaving a 1/4 inc seam.

Step 9. Cut a piece of string and pin it to the batting at the bottom of the kite, this will be your kite string.

Step 10. Right sides together, sew your backing to your quilted kite – making sure your string hasn’t slipped out. As you sew, leave a gap on one of the sides to enable you to turn the kite out.

Step 11. Using the gap you left at step 10, turn out the kite and hand stitch the opening closed.

Step 12. Embellish the string with pretty ribbons or bias and then enjoy your super cute patchwork kite wall hanging!

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The finished patchwork kite – a perfect wall hanging for a child’s room

 

Creating Hexies

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Liberty Of London hexie cushion.

I first tried English Paper Piecing a year ago, I bought pre-cut Liberty of London fabric hexagons (or hexies) from Alice Caroline. and hexagon papers from my local quilt store. It then took me around 2 months, while I watched tv in the evenings, to baste the fabric to the individual papers and then sew the 50 hexies together and the result was a cute little pillow and a new obsession.

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1/2 inch hexies

Since then I have made more hexies than I can count and my favourite thing to do now is cut my hexagons so they feature a cute image – otherwise known as fussy cut hexies.  With a bit practice (and a clear plastic hexagon template) you can perfectly cut your hexagons so they make the most of your fabric (even the smallest scrap of fabric such as these 1/2 inch hexies).