Tuesday, 31 July 2012

De stashing

I am having a de stash!
Sounds painful I know...
actually it is...very...clearing out lots of beautiful, once favourite pieces, but needs must.

I am sure I will regret getting rid of a lot of them (shhh, don't tell, but I've kept a little scrap of a few) but I am trying to be ruthless.
I don't use as many fabrics these days since my work is mainly with my own fabric. Quilting obviously is the time when that is different and I know I am going to be swearing a lot when the perfect fabric I thought I had is no longer there. But most of the time they are sitting there and I'd much prefer them to be used and not just loved.

Please go and browse my sample shop where they are all hanging out, some for not as long as others and keep going back as it is taking me rather a long time to upload them all! So there will be more added over the next few days.

Thursday, 26 July 2012

What are the chances of this??

What are the chances of Number 1 coming up on the Random Number Generator??
Ok all you smartypants out there, as a Maths teacher I am well aware that every number has an equal chance of occurring, but really, Number 1?

I am delighted to announce Deb as the winner. I am delighted because it saves me having to count, recount, and recount again through the comments to get the right one. I am also delighted as Deb is currently celebrating (?) Ramadan and needs something to keep her mind off those long hours of fasting. Look forward to seeing your inspired makes Deb

Thank you all once again new followers and old for entering and for Alice for the extremely generous giveaway.

Apologies once more to all you overseas folk that weren't able to enter this time, but look out for next week's giveaway. It's a real goodie...and open to one and all...that's all I'm saying...for now...

Wednesday, 25 July 2012

 I have been wanting to improve the labelling on my packaging for a while now but it has been a case, as ever, of whenever will I get the time?
As usual, changes around here tend to happen as a result of something needing to be done, rather than me actively setting time aside to get on with it. 
Are you like that? (please tell me you are!)

 The pull factor (or is it the push?) this time was a request from a new stockist (from Seoul, South Korea, very exciting!) wanting a label to show her customers that the fabric was not only hand printed but made by me in England. 

 I kind of knew what I had in mind, which made me wonder why it took me so long to get around to doing it, especially as I already had the Scruffy Daisies screen printed onto the card. It really wasn't rocket science and it really didn't take all that long to finish off. A win-win.

 I wanted to produce something that could easily be used on all my products and I think this sleeve is just the thing. At first I thought I would screen print the whole label, which actually was what was slowing me down. I didn't want to have to do a different screen for every product and I couldn't quite get my head around that. This works perfectly...

 It incorporates the screen printed element I wanted, along with the adaptability for using with different products, as this detail is just printed over the top and on the back. I know that isn't very genius, but quite honestly it feels it.

This little lot is all ready to travel on it's journey to South Korea, where hopefully they
 will be well received.
I think they look rather smart.

As promised I'm drawing the giveaway winner for the Simpatico bundle later, so pop back in a bit. I know it's after 6 and I promised to do it at 6, but hey, what can I say, the kids are demanding tea...again...

Tuesday, 24 July 2012

 Do you take part in any Flickr Group or other swaps? 
When i have the time I love to play along with swaps. I have been known to take part when really I shouldn't because I really love to take part.

 I really enjoy the 'hanging out' with people that all have that thing in common. I enjoy getting to know new people as well as doing something with virtual friends that I've known for some time.
And I really love playing around with ideas that I wouldn't or shouldn't really have the time to play around with. Swaps are just the perfect excuse to try something I have wanted to for ages.

At the moment one of the groups I'm hanging out with is this great group of people in the Brit Quilt Swap and I've been working on a little travel piece for a certain someone (obviously I can't say who as like most swap this is a secret one) and have really been enjoying it. It's just big enough to get my teeth into without being too overwhelming to take over from stuff I should be doing. The perfect little distraction.
I'm just about there with it...a little label, a few extras and it's ready to go.

So what gets your juices flowing in swaps? (if anything that is) I'd love to know ;-)

Pssst: Last day to enter my latest fantastic giveaway...I'll be drawing the lucky winner some time tomorrow (about 6pm GMT) so you've still a little time to enter.
Go on...it could be you...

Monday, 23 July 2012

Matthew and I were lucky enough to get a couple of days in beautiful Paris this weekend.
 It was wonderful on so many levels...

...the fact that we had one day decided to go and more-or-less only a few days later were there strolling along the Parisian cobbled streets, stopping for lunches of wine and bread and cheese, watching the world go by...
 ...the fact that we were having much needed 'us' time for the first time in far too long a time, walking for miles without little voices of "i'm tired"..."i'm bored"...
 ...the fact that we were celebrating (a few months belatedly) 20 years marriage revisiting a place that had been our first trip away together nearly 25 years previously...
What was not quite so wonderful was my severe attack of vertigo climbing to the first level of The Eiffel Tower and having to drag Matthew back down, spoiling his exciting moment. Well, you can't have everything, but I think despite that, even he'd agree it was a very special weekend and here's hoping we can do it again before another 25 years...

Thursday, 19 July 2012

An introduction and a giveaway...

I would like to introduce you to another of my fab new sponsors.

Backstitch is another great British online fabric store born out of an enthusiasm for fabric and sewing. Backstitch is run by Alice who brings us a wonderful selection of the best from around the world.

One of the latest collections to hit Alice's virtual shelves is Cloud 9's wonderful Simpatico. I am chomping at the bit to get hold of this. But a little more about this later...

As well as Alice stocking a sought after range of modern designers, she also stocks a fantastic collection of solids in the form of Klona (yes, that's right, Klona not Kona) cottons and also a Linen/Cotton blend range at a very reasonable £10.50/m

Alice has a huge amount of fabulous sewing patterns on offer, ranging from Beginner to Advanced. I've been eyeing up The Schoolhouse Tunic for some time but still not sure if my rudimentary dress-making skills can be classified as "Advanced Beginner"...I'm thinking not. 
And if they could be classified as "Intermediate" and if I had someone to sew them for, I would so be buying and making this.

Keep an eye out at Backstitch, as Alice is always adding to her collection on offer. Very soon we'll be seeing the arrival of Riley Blake Chevrons, Lotta Jansdotter Bella, along with a selection of 24 of Liberty Lifestyle fabrics.

 To the giveaway...

You have probably already realised that the fantastically generous giveaway involves Simpatico. Alice is offering the chance to win a full fat quarter bundle of all 12 designs. I'm palpitating at the thought of that...and deeply saddened that I can't actually enter. Well, it wouldn't be right, would it?

So how can you win?...
I would ask you to guess which design in which colour-way I am most hankering after, but that wouldn't be too challenging would it? So let's stick to making it straight-forward...
1 entry for telling me your favourite design and colour-way and what you would do with the bundle if you won...
another entry for following my blog before or now...
another entry for following Alice's blog before or now...
another entry for signing up to Backstitch's Newsletter before or now...
a final entry for tweeting (you need to come back here and tell me!)
You have until next Weds July 26 2012...good luck!
(I am really sorry that this giveaway is limited to UK and Europe only...but don't worry there'll be something very soon for all you further overseas stalwarts)

Wednesday, 18 July 2012

Thank you all for entering the fab giveaway to win one of Jo's wonderful embroidery patterns, as well as a bunch of threads to one lucky follower.

And with no further ado here are the winners...

(if I have counted right...I really must find out how to number the comments...)

And the first winner...

Connie!...Connie you win a pattern of your choice AND the fantastic set of threads...well done!!

The next 4 lucky winners each win a pattern of their choice...

First up,number 58, Martina!...

next up, number 71, Karen!...

next up, number 45, Giddy!...

and finally number 108, Wendy!

Again big thanks to Jo for her very generous giveaway and to all of you that entered and as I mentioned yesterday, keep your eyes peeled for my next exciting giveaway...you won't want to miss it!

Tuesday, 17 July 2012

I picked up my new magnets today and I am so pleased with them. 
The previous lot sold really well but after reprinting Scruffy Daisies onto coloured fabric I knew that it would work even better. And it does! The design and the magnets themselves show up so much better and have such a popsicle of colour on my fridge.

Other things I have been playing with today are Buddha Orange Scrap Packs. More fab colour pops!

I finally got around to going to the screen printing workshop today and printed up a screen for a new something I've been working on for, shhhh, C..... Still too early to mention it but not too early to get going on it.
Here's a little sneak peak for those of you that don't follow me on Twitter, Flickr, Instagram, or any other networking medium that I bore you on and there will be more to come very very shortly.

One final thing to mention today is that tomorrow the giveaway will close, so if you meant to enter and haven't you have about 24 hours to do so...and if you are not lucky this time, come back at the end of the week when I will be hosting another wonderful giveaway from another fab sponsor.
My lips are sealed...you'll have to come back later to see...but I am pretty certain you'll be queuing up (behind me) to enter...

Sunday, 15 July 2012

 I have been having a little fun playing around with a few things this week all in the name of "product design and development". That makes it sound much more important than "having a play and see what happens".
A few weeks ago I started experimenting with 2 colour prints, the results of which were the orange and grey below.
I loved the effect but knew that the 2 colours I had picked were too bold together. I hadn't really planned to use these 2 colours together...it was a result of the newsprint testing pieces for the colours I happened to be using at the time and I was merely overlaying on a whim.
It did make me discover however that there was potential for a 2 colour print with my designs, particular with the stripe and scruffy daisy.
Again inspiration triggered by my old newsprint tester sheets, I set to print in pale blue and turquoise and here are the results below...
...and I'm really rather pleased with it!
Is it wrong to be excited by ones own work? It has such a fresh summery (ha!...there's that strange word again) feel to it and think it would work on so many things. I'm planning on making some pretty summery wash-bags to start with and also incorporate into a quilt I'm doing. I printed up a few to start with, so if you want to grab a piece go here.
I'm planning to try it in a light pink/dark pink combo so watch out for that.

My other "product design and development" this week involved printing onto some Quilter's Linen swatches I had received with the view to creating my winter (that's more familiar...) range. It's hard to get a feel for how a fabric is going to look when it is printed on so doing it this way is great.
Quilter's linen is really lovely. It is 100% cotton but has a look of linen due to it's texture markings. I find linen to sometimes be a little stretchy so this is a perfect alternative as it looks great and sews up beautifully.
I now have rather big decisions to be made as actually I like how so many of them have turned out. So a little help please...which colours would you like to see in the collection??

Wednesday, 11 July 2012

 Giveaway Time!!...

...from one of my lovely sponsors Avery Homestore.

I have actually met Jo, the owner of Avery, in real life and so was delighted when she wanted to be one of my sponsors.
Jo's store is a little different from my others - as well as being online it is also a real life bricks and mortar shop, where she stocks a great range of fabrics amongst other delights.

 Jo is a very talented quilter herself and also has a particular flair for embroidery, of which she has designed these amazing patterns. I am totally in awe of her skills and ability to design these intricate patterns. They are all now available as PDFs for you to produce your own version and you can also get Perle Cottons in all the necessary colours in store too. Personally I'm quite drawn to Boris, but if you can't decide Jo offers a complete set of all 4 of her characters for just £6.50.

Another big attraction at Avery Homestore is the selection of wools on offer. I know I mainly stick to sewing these days but I do have a bit of a soft spot for piles of yarn, particularly when they are as delicious looking as these. Rooster Almerino is a luxurious, soft blend of Baby Alpaca and Merino wool. The only problem with them is... how on earth do you decide which colours you can leave out!!

Avery Homestore is based in Edinburgh and I suggest you take a visit if you are lucky enough to live nearby as I have just touched on what Jo has to offer. One thing I will quickly add before I tell you about the giveaway - are you still with me? - is the extensive range of Craft Classes Jo runs, from weekly evening classes, to Half and Full Day classes, teaching everything from her cute little owls, to making an heirloom-in-waiting like the one below.

Ok so the giveaway. Quite frankly if you have stayed with me this long you deserve to win!

Jo is generously offering a PDF pattern of your choice to 5 - yes 5! - winners and, this is where it gets more exciting...the first name out of the proverbial hat also gets a full set of 10 Perle Cottons as shown in the pick at the top, a prize worth about £30...pretty damn generous I'd say!

Here's how you can win..

1 entry for telling me which pattern you would choose...
another entry for following my blog before or now...
another entry for follow Jo's blog before or now...
another entry for signing up to Avery Homestore's Newsletter...
a final entry for tweeting about it.

So 5 chances to win...what are you waiting for??!

Giveaway open until this time next week - end of play Weds 18 July 2012.

Monday, 9 July 2012

 The summer holidays have already started in this house. Sam and Noah broke up on Friday, Ruby has almost another 2 weeks to go. At the moment it doesn't seem too disruptive as the boys have gone to London to stay with my in-laws this week and since Matthew took them down yesterday morning, it is just me and The Rubester around these parts.

It is extremely rare for it just to be the 2 of us so we tried to have a real quality day yesterday. 
It started with a little glittery nail painting and it was even warm enough for us to expose them and show them off.
I then dragged Ruby out for a run (her on her bike)...actually I think we did that before the nails...would have made sense to anyway.

Cooped up in front of Murray-Federer for the next 4 hours made us need to go out for a breath of air and stretch our legs. (Didn't the boy do well? Was mightily impressed with his performance and made me quite warm to him.)
The day was so calm and relaxing doing a little bit of everything. 

It's not often I can say that about a weekend around these parts. We even managed quality bedtime with cuddles and reading thrown in...makes a pleasant change from being thrown into bed and lights out in haste at an attempt at a decentish time for the next week at school.
What's more I even managed to get some sewing in after lights out (hers not mine).
Not bad for a Sunday...

Sunday, 8 July 2012

This little (?) pile of loveliness arrived from one of my lovely sponsors this week...

After having been studiously pouring over my Kona chart I ordered a bunch of neutrals, along with some pretty tangerines. It's amazing how varied neutrals can be and you never quite have the right one to hand. I'm actually looking into doing something with all of them together...an idea is forming.

So a little bit about The Village Haberdashery...
Annie openend The Village Haberdashery just a few months ago but it is already reaching lots of radars. Annie seems to know what everyone wants and stocks a wide variety of fabulous fabrics, including an amazing range of our favourite Kona solids. And if she doesn't have the one in you are after, she will do her best to get it, as my little stash is case in point. 
Aurifil thread, the name on everyone's lips at the moment and stocked here, is another example of how Annie has her finger on the pulse and wants to provide for all our sewing needs and desires.
Perhaps you are a knitter or crocheter? Take a look at the selection of yarns stocked at The Village Haberdashery. Scrumptious, every one of them. I'm saving up for some of this...a beautiful blue wool with a mix of luscious mohair and entwined with glittery tinsel, neon coral crochet flowers, tiny yellow velvet daisies and shimmering turquoise 
sequins. Wow!

Please do take a look at The Village Haberdashery...I think you will like it.

Friday, 6 July 2012

I'm a little bit glued to the TV today...
It would be fair to say I like tennis rather a lot and so when Wimbledon is on I get a little obsessed with catching as much as possible...
and when our only decent Brit is playing...well, need I say more?

I just wanted to pop by very quickly and let you know about my fabric offer. Our summer is such pants over here that I wanted to do something to make it a little cheerier. 
I am offering 2 for £10 on my fabrics until, well until the sun comes out and quite honestly the way our summer is going, until sometime well into next year.

Click here to grab some...I'm back off to watch the tennis...

Thursday, 5 July 2012

 Having had these fabrics on my desk all last week for my Siblings Together quilt, I have slowly been sneaking in a little playing time each day.
Earlier in the week I I had set my heart on having a go at the Castle Walls Block from the Shape  Workshop for Quilters Book by the lovely peeps at Fat Quarterly.

 Those that know my work will realise this is quite a departure of styles for me. Normally I can be seen quilting in relative simplistic styles, but this has completely converted me. 
I was hooked when i first started quilting and this is pulling me in even further.
It could be the fantastic fabrics that are pulling me in, but I am pretty sure you will start to see some more intricate piecing around these parts.

I am such a beginner at piecing blocks that I didn't even realise that the pattern was mirroring itself and when I pieced together the adjacent blocks I had a real "oh my g-d" moment at seeing the central castle emerging! I am slightly embarrassed at mentioning that, but I know you will gain delight from hearing it.

I had a slight technical hitch when I ran out of FMF, but to be quite honest I had done more than I should have done today so a natural pause has taken place, while I wait for reinforcements from the quilt's sponsor.

I am still undecided with how I am going to finish off the quilt (I'm thinking of piecing a border of some sort) and what to use for the binding. 
Any thoughts?

Tuesday, 3 July 2012

I would like to introduce you to another of my lovely new sponsors...

Seamstar is run by Courtney who scours the world for beautiful and unusual fabrics. A particular favourite of mine is the collection of cotton lawns (top right), which are very reminiscent of Liberty Lawns, both in designs and weight. They are so silky smooth and a pleasure to sew with. I think this is my favourite but go check out the whole collection here.
As well as a fab selection of fabrics, Seamstar offers a great selection of felts, trimmings and haberdashery amongst other things.
You may remember my quandary about pom pom colours...Courtney was to blame for that.
I am completely in love with the collection of cotton bias seam bindings...another decision quandary that Courtney offers.

So a big thank you to Courtney for being one of my sponsors and I look forward to sharing  exciting news, offers, giveaways in the future from Seamstar with you. In the meantime, give Courtney a warm welcome and go shop!