Thursday, 31 May 2012

Dear everyone-going-to-the-FQ-retreat

I hate you. Every last one of you. Okay, I don't hate you, I am just so insanely jealous I could cry. Have an amazing time and take loads of photos so I can live vicariously when you get back! and try not to tell too many 'you had to be there' stories, or I'll be like...

Let's get acquainted!

Hi everyone! Lots of love to my current followers, but an even bigger hello to those of you stopping by from the "Let's get acquainted blog hop":

My name is Libby, I am 28, I'm a secondary school English teacher and I live in Lincolnshire in England. I have been sewing a couple of years now, I made my first quilt about two years ago, then I made a quilt for my friend's baby and a quilt for her little girl, then a quilt for my chair at work, and finally my New York Beauty quiltalong quilt. I also love making bags, travel sewing kits, a kindle cover for my mum...I just love to sew!

While I've still got your attention, I will just mention please go and check out Jodi's blog, she is the other stop for today on the blog hop. I know she would be thrilled to see you! Ooh and check out Heidi from Fabric Mutt and Amy from Amy's Crafty Shenanigans from earlier in the week!
Here's the Q&A section:
- How long have you been quilting about 3 years
- Favorite quilting tip(s) be liberated! Life is to short to unpick!
- Favorite blogging tip(s) check if you are a no-reply blogger
- Favorite fabric (or wish list fabric) I love Fig Tree and Co
- Favorite craft book All the Lintott's jelly roll books
- Favorite book I'm really into crime, both true crime and fiction. Love Ian Rankin
- Favorite children's book The velveteen rabbit
- Favorite quilting tool A brand new cutting blade, uhhh, I love how they cut like a hot knife through butter!
- Favorite music to listen to while quilting I only listen to music in my car, then it's Radio 1
- Favorite TV show while hand stitching How I met your mother
- Binding - by hand or by machine? On something important, hand-stitched. On wall hangings and mug rugs, machine.
- If I'd only known - what you wish you knew about blogging before you started your blog How amazing it is, how it's like being part of an enormous international family, how exciting it is to see your follower number or viewer count has gone up...
And last but not least, here is my tutorial!
 I make bags for an organisation called Beads of Courage:
The Beads of Courage programme is designed to provide an additional treatment and offers support for children and teenagers undergoing serious illness and treatments. The initial reaction to the Beads is “aren’t they pretty” but it is not until you see it in action and talk to children and care givers that you can see the impact that they have.
The childrens’ beads of courage collection helps others to understand what these children go through and shows their strength and courage. As their string of beads grows, it is something that they can use to remember and retell the story of their treatment. It is also about taking control of a tough situation.
With each procedure or milestone in their treatment, they get a special bead. Each bead is their way of saying “this isn’t easy, but I did it”. Another nurse said “I never would have expected for the beads to have such an effect on anxiety as well as compliance issues related to taking medications. I have also seen changes in patients coping skills and confidence with active involvement in this programme”.

Each child needs a bag to keep their beads in, so the organisation puts out pleas for quilters to make and donate bags following the instructions on their website. I found these instructions hard to follow. There is a photo guide as well, but the two don't run alongside, and I am rubbish with instructions at the best of times. It was a struggle to make my first bag, but they are actually really easy to make! So I contacted the organisers and asked if they would mind me doing a photo tutorial on my blog and they agreed, so here we go! I really hope that you will make and donate some bags, and I also hope these instructions are easy to follow, to encourage more people to get involved, as they are so easy to make and will make such a difference to the children involved, so if you spot any mistakes or have any suggestions for improvements, just let me know!

Bead bag tutorial

For one bag you will need 4 pieces of fabric, all 9" x 12", 2 for lining and 2 for the outer. You could use a couple of fat quarters, and you will have just under half left of each one*. You will also need a 26" length of cord or ribbon.

Place the two outer pieces RS together sew a 1/4” seam on both long sides making a tube. Do the same with the lining pieces:

Press seams open:

Turn lining right side out and place inside of outer fabric (RS together):

Line up seams and sew a 1/4″ seam around the top of the tube:

Turn right side out. Press seam towards lining:

Tuck the lining back inside and press the top seam flat. Sew a seam at 2″ from top. When you get to the two seams back tack about 1/4″ across the seam (This makes the seams stronger for the cording to be pulled through). Sew another seam 2-3/4″ from the top back tacking again at the seams:

Using a stitch unpicker, pop the seam between the two back tacks on outer fabric for cording to be pulled through. Put a safety pin through one end of the cording and pull through the casing:

Tie ends of cording together in a knot.

Turn project wrong side out. Line up the raw edges along the bottom (you may need to trim if the outer has ended up shorter than the lining) and sew along at 1/4", right through all 4 layers. Trim with pinking shears:

Turn right side out and press bottom seam. And then you're done!
Once your finished bags are ready, please forward to:-
Sarah Drummond
2, Park Close
Essex SS12 9EH

* Beads of Courage also accept smaller bags, so you could use the left over fabric to make another bag. Cut two pieces 7" x 10" from each fabric, and construct in the same way, except stitch the casing for the cord at 1.5" and 2.25" instead.

Linking up with:

Sunday, 27 May 2012

I've been a bad blogger...again!

:( Sorry guys, I've let you down once again! I've just realised I haven't given you an update since 12th May! And I haven't done a WIP Wednesday for a month! So I guess I'd better update you...

The main problem has been that I am working on a couple of things that I can't tell you about yet. It used to really annoy me when I read that on blogs, but now I can see how it is unavoidable sometimes. But I have designed something totally awesome (though I say so myself) and entered it in a competition - top prize is a sewing machine, so I really want to win! And the other thing I've been working on is my Let's get acquainted blog hop post - it's not my turn until July, but once I'd decided what I was going to do, I couldn't wait to get started!

But I've got a few other things to tell you about. Remember the lovely coffee pot fabric I won from Susan at Canadian Abroad:
Well I used it to make a cafetiere cover and 6 mug rugs. I had lots of funny shaped scraps left over, so I jiggled these about a bit and made a mat for the cafetiere, sugar pot, etc to sit on. So from a fat quarter there was only about 2" x 3" worth of tiny scraps left over! The mat won't win any design awards, but for optimum use of the fabric I don't think I could've done much better! Here they are:

The cafetiere cover is loosely based on a pattern I found online, but I can't for the life of me find it again!

In other news, I've bought and won a few bits and pieces. Firstly, I won this beautiful charm pack from Izzy at Dizzy quilts as part of the Fugly party at Charm about you:

I went to Doughty's sale at Dunholme near Lincoln, and bought a few things. This jelly roll:

I also bought this blue fabric (the one at the bottom in this pic) to go with the fabrics I won from Maria at Not only quilts:
...and this floral fabric to go with the Kitty Boutique my mum bought me:

And while I was at the sale, my partner went out to get his hair cut and came back with these:
...and a bunch of flowers!

and finally...this is what I will be working on for the forseeable future:

I'm linking up with:
WIP Wednesday at Freshly Pieced

Tuesday, 22 May 2012

Anyone else got giveaway fatigue?

As much as I am loving all the chances to win, is anyone else a bit overwhelmed with it all? My google reader is full of giveaways, with not much else besides. I am trying to be selective and only enter the giveaways for craft supplies, but even so I am only on about 85 of 268!! I want to read some tutorials, see some beautiful finished items...smell the flowers, breathe fresh!!

But anyway, just in case you live in a cave, have just come back from holidays or are otherwise unaware, go check it out, there is something for everyone!

Saturday, 19 May 2012

I won, I won!

Lilys Quilts

I won Lily's Quilts' competition to make a Jubilee project on a budget!!!! Now I get to choose £20 of fabrics from Abakhan Fabrics and make up my idea, and Lynne will put a tutorial on her blog so others can make it too!

My idea is to make a Jubilee-themed picnic rug that can fold up and be used as a bag too. Ideally I want the bag to be functional too, so you can carry stuff in it, rather than it just being a folded up rug with straps to carry it, but I'm not sure how possible that will be - I don't have much experience of designing stuff from scratch. So I'm going to go and have a pootle around t'interwebs and try and get some inspiration...

Friday, 18 May 2012

Let's get acquainted blog hop info

I am so excited to announce the schedule for Plum and June's Let's Get Acquainted blog hop!! My scheduled date is the 3rd of July (someone remind me when it gets near, I am so rubbish at remembering events!) I am particularly excited to be appearing the same day as Di from Willowbeck Designs (completely by coincidence) as Di lives just up the road from my mum! It's such a small world! She is going to the FQ Retreat in London, I am so you think by mentioning her in my blog she might sneak me into this beautiful bag she's just made especially for the retreat? ;)

Rather than try and reword Beth's post and make a complete hash of it, I will copy and paste from her site and let her explain in her own words:

Come join in the fun this summer as we hop through Quilty Blog Land to find some new, fun blogs filled with fun projects and creative inspiration!

The Hop begins on May 22, 2012. We'll hop to 4 blogs a week (2 on Tuesdays and 2 on Thursdays)

For details and updates, see my Monday Blog Hop News that I'll post here on every Monday throughout the Hop starting May 21st.

So, what is it all about?

1. Who can participate? The Let's Get Acquainted! Blog Hop is for blogs that were started in 2011 or 2012 and that focus primarily on quilting. We hope readers with older blogs or no blogs at all will join us as we visit these new blogs but only blogs fitting this criteria will be the stops on the hop.

2. Each blog in the hop has an assigned date. The calendar will be listed on this page as well as in my Monday posts. On each blog's date, we'll all "hop" over for a visit, look around, leave a comment or two, and if we like what we see and want more, we'll subscribe (or follow or join!)

3. What should you post on your hop day? Well, there are no strict rules - just some general guidelines about what your post should include:

***An introduction to you and your blog - maybe create a collage of your favorite finishes or links to your tutorials or favorite posts. (This is optional - it is totally up to you how you want to present your blog to the new visitors.)

***The official theme of the Hop is novelty prints (blogger's choice - examples include typewriters, monsters, bicycles, clocks, animals - or even just flowers.) You can make anything related to quilting - a quilt of any size, bags, pillows, coasters, etc. You don't need to include a full tutorial but you should include pics and a description of your process. Your project does not need to be used just for the hop - link it wherever you want, use it for a swap or a QAL - whatever you want.

***Q and A - This is completely optional but what about answering some fun questions about yourself and your blog. Answer as many or as few as you want in as little or as much detail as you would like. Use the following questions as guidelines or create your own (or send me some suggestions.)

- How long have you been quilting
- Favorite quilting tip(s)
- Favorite blogging tip(s)
- Favorite fabric (or wish list fabric)
- Favorite craft book
- Favorite book (or book you are currently reading)
- Favorite children's book
- Favorite quilting tool
- Favorite music to listen to while quilting
- Favorite TV show while hand stitching
- Binding - by hand or by machine?
- If I'd only known - what you wish you knew about blogging before you started your blog

***Please include the Blog Hop button in your post so we can pick up more visitors along the way. Also, please cut and paste from my Monday Blog Hop News post the links to the blogs assigned to the day before you, the same day as you, and the day after you.

4. You can post before your assigned date but your blog's official hop date will stay the same on the list. And if you want, you can definitely have your blog hop day coincide with another event on your blog (start of a swap, QAL, etc.)

5. Join the Let's Get Acquainted! Blog Hop Flickr Group! You can post links to your tutorials/how-to's you created for the hop and post pics of any projects made using the tutorials you found through the hop.

6. Grab a button and please share the information about the Blog Hop with your readers - Link, Tweet, Pin! New bloggers interested in joining should send me an email (plumandjune(at)gmail(dot)com) or leave a comment on one of my posts.

7. I'll update this page regularly! And I'll publish Blog Hop posts every Monday starting May 21st which will include the week's schedule. In my Monday post, I'll (1) list the blogs we are "hopping to" for the week, (2) post information about anything happening on any of the blogs in the hop (like swaps, QALs, SALs, giveaways - email me with any information about your blog that you want included), (3) pick a few posts to feature from some of the blogs involved in the hop (if you don't want me to post any links from your blog, just let me know), and (4) post any updated information about the hop.

8. Also, as part of these Monday updates, you can link up any projects you make using the tutorials presented throughout the hop. Just another way for us all to "get acquainted"

9. And last but not least - please visit all the blogs in the Hop on their day and comment, comment, comment!

Participants and Schedule:

May 22
Kelsey from Kelsey Sews
Erin from Billy Button Designs

May 24
Nik from Bold Goods
Alyssa from Pile O Fabric

May 29
Heidi from Fabric Mutt
Amy from Amy's Crafty Shenanigans

May 31
Jodi from Tickle and Hide
Jennie from Porch Swing Quilts

June 5
Cinzia from Deux Petites Souris
Kristy from Quiet Play

June 7
Taryn from From Pixels to Patchwork
Em from Sewing by Moonlight

June 12
Kelly from Jeliquilts
Yzo from Chez Roo

June 14
Debbie from A Quilter's Table
Sarah from Silly Banana Sewing

June 19
Jennifer from Sewlandia
Nicole from Mama Love Quilts

June 21
Suzanne from SuzClaas
Mina from Kindaquilty

June 26
Svetlana from Sotak Handmade
Beth from Plum and June

June 28
Julie from Jolie Maxtin
Lori from Adventures in Fabric

July 3
Di from Willowbeck Designs
Libby from Miss Beau Jangles
Jennifer from Knotted Thread

July 5
Sarah from Sarah Lou
Catherine from Knotted Cotton

July 10
Jenelle from Echinops and Aster
Julie from Bedsheet in the Kitchen

July 12
Rebecca from Sew Festive Handmade
Marti from 52 Quilts in 52 Weeks

July 17
Katie from Kati's Quilting
Claire from Sewing over Pins
Caroline from Quilting in the Cold

July 19
Jamie from Sweet Baby Jamie
Janine from Rainbow Hare Quilts

July 24
Colby from Sew Quilt Explore
Fiona from Celtic Thistle

July 26
Mary from Spoolhardy Girl
Fiona from Finding Fifth

July 31
Audrey from Hot Pink Quilts
Michelle Renee from Quilt Matters

Aug 2
Jennifer from GH Quilting

Aug 7
Liz from What I Did on My Summer Vacation
Susan from Canadian Abroad

Aug 9
Kirsten from Gemini Stitches
Stephanie from Sewing by Stephanie

Aug 14
Sarah from Sarah Sews Quilting Blog
January from Sew Sew Go

Aug 16
Alison from Little Bunny Quilts
Cathy from Blueberry Patch

Aug 21
Marta from From Marta with Love
Marion from My Quilt Diet

Aug 23
Sunni from Love Affair With My Brother
Ginny from Fish Creek Studio

Aug 28
Lucy from Charm About You

Aug 30
Elaine from Dashasel Sews

Danny from MommyFor Reals

***Kathy from Pink Chalk Studio has agreed to be interviewed during one of my Monday Blog Hop News posts and she'll also be giving away 4 $25 gift certificates to her awesome shop, Pink Chalk Fabrics - date to be announced soon.

***On June 11th, Lynne from the wonderful Lily's Quilts will be guest hosting on my blog as part of the Monday Blog Hop News.

Bloggers' Quilt Festival Spring 2012

Suddenly blogland is awash with entries to the Bloggers' Quilts Festival:

As my followers will know, I'm pretty knew to both blogging and quilting, so I have no illusions about winning anything, but I am really excited to take part and welcome new people to my blog! So if that's you, welcome, I'm so pleased to see you, and I hope you will take a look around my blog and will like what you see!

Anyway, on to my entry! I really wanted to enter this quilt, which I designed myself and made for my best friend's little girl. It was the second quilt I made:
...but I only have this one (pretty rubbish) photo, and I can't take any new photos of it as its owner would not be parted from it!

So I've decided to enter my New York Beauty quilt. My followers will have seen it before, but I had so many positive comments about it *blush* that I hope they won't mind seeing it again!

I decided to take part in the New York Beauty Quiltalong because I'd never done paper piecing, I'd never done curves and I'd never done a quiltalong! (brave or crazy, you decide!)! So I made a start and this was my first block:
 It went together so easily, I decided to make 4:
So then it seemed sensible to carry on like this, making 4 blocks each week. Week 2:

 Then I started to lose steam! I think in retrospect it was too ambitious to plan to do 4 a week alongside a full-time job and my other sewing! So I kept putting off doing week 3, but eventually came up with this:
 ...and then this is week 4:
...and then I stopped. For a good few weeks. I just couldn't face the thought that there were still 6 blocks to go, 4 of each one... that's 24 squares...AHHHH!! So my beautiful blocks sat there assuming they would be relegated to UFO-dom forever. Then I saw Teresa's beautiful entry for the weekly Quilting bloggers competition and thought what a great way that would be to finish off my quilt! So I got to work, week 5's block is bottom right:

 And then when it was all quilted and bound, I took it to my mum's to take some pictures:
 For only my 5th ever quilt, I'm pretty damn proud of it!

Saturday, 12 May 2012

A finish and some decent photos!

...and that's not to say my photos are usually indecent...ooh er missus! Anyway, here it is, my completed New York Beauty quilt, this time with binding, and an attempt at some decent photography. Those of you who live in the UK will be more than aware that this was the first dry day we've had for about a month, so I made the most of it and went out into my mum's garden! Let me know what you think!

I'm linking up with:

Wednesday, 9 May 2012

My first blog hop!

I am going to be taking part in this exciting new blog hop:
Plum and June
So grab a button and spread the word!

Tuesday, 8 May 2012

Fugly fabric party!

Woooo!! Another...
Charm About You
This time I am looking to swap, as mine aren't really fuglies! They are some of the leftovers of my New York Beauty quilt:
Some were from my stash, but others I bought specially for this project.

I have 3 scrap packs on offer:
  •  Ten 10in x 10in squares, there is only one repeat in there: GONE
  • Forty-five 4in x 2in rectangles
  • Ninety-two 2.5in x 2.5in squares GONE
I will consider any swap for a similar amount of fabric.
I am particularly interested in blue and yellow pastels that might go with the fabrics in the pic below, as I'd like to do a similar quilt but in pink, blue and yellow instead of pink and grey:

A long-overdue return to soap-making

I know most of you that read this are more into the sewing, etc, but before I started blogging about that, I used to blog about soaps, so as I made soaps yesterday, it seems only right to share my new recipes.

Firstly, I made this one as an everyday soap to go in our blue bathroom:
I LOVE the smell of this one. It's a recipe called the 'Feel Good blend' from this book (which I highly recommend). I won't give the proportions, but the essential oils included are ylang ylang, patchouli, black pepper, palmarosa and rose geranium. It smells lovely, really uplifting, and I would compare the scent to walking through a rose garden.The soap itself was made in two parts. I made the blue part first, taking 100g of clear melt-and-pour soap, 2mls of the fragrance and a couple of drops of blue dye and pouring this into a tupperware, so get a large thin flat piece. I left that to set in the fridge, then rolled that up into an s-shape and put it in an old biscuit tube. I then melted another 200mls clear melt-and-pour soap, with 4mls of fragrance and a handful of cone flowers, then poured this in around the s-shape. I left this to set for about an hour, it was quite a mass by the time it was all together, so took a good while to cool completely. Then I slice it into 4. I love it!

Secondly, I made these:
These were made with 100g clear melt-and-pour-soap, a few drops of red/blue dye and some sequin hearts. I made these to go in the bottom of some clear cupcake-shaped soaps BUT when I went to make the clear part, I decided to use benzoin oil, as it has a lovely vanilla-y fragrance. A word of warning: this oil is a deep amber colour, so when you add it to stuff it dyes that an amber colour too! Hmm. So then I thought, ok, can't use this for the clear surround, so I will make these up as separate soaps. So I went with these:
This is 200mgs clear melt-and-pour soap, 2mls benzoin, 1ml sweet orange and a tiny drop of red/blue dye, to make this peach rather than and orangey colour. They smell *divine*. Benzoin is good for lots of things, but I chose it for it's relaxing and anti-depressant properties.

Finally, for my daddy, I made this shaving soap:
This is 100mg clear melt-and-pour soap, 1/2tsp bentonite clay (mixed into a paste with boiling water) and 2tsp of sandalwood oil. My dad says this is just as good as the stuff he usually gets from Crabtree and Evelyn, yay me!!

I am linking up with: