Saturday 31 December 2011

Happy New You


IMG_1191...   In strange parallel with much of  2011, my hair was just too long, too heavy and starting to strangle me at night …

                                          .... so today I had a haircut …

                  … To see in the New Year …

           ... a little lighter, a little less strangled …

And to provide you all with a comedy hair moment:

Here's hoping 2012 is brimful of delights for us all.

Thank you for spending some of your precious time here over the last 12 months … see you next year! Woot!

Friday 30 December 2011

Bundle of Joy

I hope everyone had a lovely Christmas - I've been struck down with a stomach bug so have been lying low the last couple of days … Less of that another time.

Are you playing along with the fantastic giveaway over at Quokka's Quilts ??? 

All you have to do is choose 15 swatches - 12 pattern, 3 solid - and make your very own Blogger's Choice Bundle for The Fat Quarter Shop

Then, make a mosaic and link up to the fantastically inspiring linky - there are some really lovely choices out there already! 

The winner gets 1/2 yard cuts of all 15! Woot!!

This is my final choice - although, really, I could make a gazillion bundles!

Flora Turquoise Feathers Yardage SKU# 25055-15 Terrain Bloom Aster Yardage SKU# 27093-14 Michael Miller Berry Cotton Couture Solid  Yardage SKU# SC5333-BERR-D
Oval Elements Papaya Orange Yardage SKU# OE-901 Bespoken Aqua Stitchery Yardage SKU# BE-6105
Bella Solids Hyacinth Yardage SKU# 9900-93 Cocoa Berry Berry That's All Dot Yardage SKU# CX4927-BERR-D Ooh La La Citrus Le Stripe Yardage SKU# DC5201-CITR-D
Bella Solids Cheddar Yardage SKU# 9900-152 Amelia Cotton Glowing Green Stripe Yardage SKU# 22165-11
Sketch Spring Screen Texture Yardage SKU# C8224-Spring Tutti Frutti Fuchsia Dots Yardage SKU# C8889-FUCHSIA

I found it really difficult to be restricted to 3 solids, so I used the wonderful Sketch crosshatch fabrics to pad out my need for less pattern more solid!

If you received this bundle, what would you make?  Or do you hate it? LOL!

Sunday 25 December 2011

Merry Christmas!

Merry Christmas to all you lovely people who stop by. Thank you.

Just a quickie before we go for some transatlantic & pacific skypery ... how cool is the interweb, really?

I have my best friend staying with me, it's his birthday today too! - the other important birthday being my lovely nephew - oh and Baby Cheesus, obvs.

Cat is very happy as he gets the hamper as a new bed.  Doesn't look happy though, does he? 

No.  That's because he's giving me the evils, the psycho. 

I hope all of you unwrap a lovely Christmas.

See you on the other side, round the leftovers ...

Tuesday 20 December 2011

Christmas Tree

I decided it would be a good idea to start a brand new Christmas present … an applique tree, for g’ness sake.  Am I mad?

This is a request from my lovely friend who's coming to stay for Christmas.

So … I started off ironing fusible onto 10 different scraps of fabric … and then cut a seemingly infinite number of leaves (I wanted to have some left over to ‘bank’) My sister-in-law cut out tons when she and my nephew stopped by on their way home from Lunnun.  Lovely treat.  The visit!

It's his birthday on Christmas Day, and he brought me this beautiful linen and cotton lace tablecloth after he saw the tree I did for the MMM swap earlier this year ...  Sorry about the cold dark winter light!  It was about 2pm!

He has a really funky 70s orange and green bedroom ....  I'm not sure if it's going to be a quilt or a bed spread yet ... Realistically I need to detach the lace for what I want to do ... but time is of the essence here!

I've added more leaves to the bottom two sides since these photos ... it looks a little out of balance here, I think.

I’m going to hand stitch with perle through the middle of each leaf, rather than sit at the machine and go round the edges … I want to use different colour threads, so it would be a real faff.  This way, I can sit in front of a movie tomorrow and get the applique finished.

I quite like the idea that they’ll be fluttery when the fusible washes out … maybe?  hope so.

Amidst all this, I’m still finishing off three sets of placemats, not one of them complete yet!  LOL! 

So, anyone else just started a ridiculous project? Or are you all properly sane?

Saturday 17 December 2011

Sew Mama Sew Giveaway Day - Winner!

It's time to announce the winner of my Sew Mama Sew Giveaway Day prize.

Thank you for all for your random breakfast testing answers! They are really worth a read!

Intense and thorough interrogation of the data (I love that expression) reveals that there are two main breakfasting types out there …

TYPE A wildly inappropriate or unhealthy, and
TYPE B so virtuous I had to eat several biscuits to recover …

Anyway the good news is that my little mince pie wrist pincushion from Sew Mama Sew's Giveaway Day has a new owner!

Mince Pie Wrist Pincushion
 Look at that dry crocodile winter skin ! Or rather, don't. Oh bums, now you will look even closer.

Mr Random No. Generator chose:5

Katy from I’m a Ginger Monkey

That would be TYPE A then …

Congratulations Katy!

Hula Hoops - not only wonderfully nutritious but lucky too! who knew?

Have you seen Katy's fantastic piped pillows for the 12 Days of Ruby Star, over at Fat Quarterly?

Mmmm divine ... go look ... go look ...

Commiserations to the rest of you, but what a wonderful set of comments, thank you so much!

I wish you all a positive and productive weekend!

Wednesday 14 December 2011

12 Days of Ruby Star - fancy a peek at my lapkins?

Pop on over to Fat Quarterly for my Lapkin Tutorial using Melody Miller's wonderful fabrics ... go on ... off you go ... spit spot ... love you ... missing you already ...

Tuesday 13 December 2011

It's beginning to feel a lot like …

Hell on earth Christmas.

No, really it is …

A group of  us teachers sang Christmas carols at lunchtime round an enormously good tree in our atrium.
I like a bit of joy in my carols, but it was all a tad dirge like… tried to up the tempo, but fell on deaf eyes/ears.  Anyway.  It was jolly good to sing. Singing is good.


<--- I can hardly believe that this time last year it was all snowy and cold and slippery.  Today it was just gusty and a bit nippy, although we did have an almighty storm last night.

 In a clumsy segue, also in the news today ...

Kirsty kicks off day one of the 12 Days of Ruby Star Challenge over at Fat Quarterly … with a fab bucky ball pincushion.

You may or may not be able to see something there from me tomorrow … just sayin …

Here might be a sneaky peek:

FQ Melody Miller Designer Challenge

Don't forget … it's also Sew Mama Sew's Giveaway Day until the 16th … so you still have time to enter for a chance to win my mince pie pincushion here … Can't tell you how much I'm loving all the totally bonkers breakfasts! …

or you can find a gazillion other things …. all organised neatly here

.. now … where was I?  oh yes … 3 projects down, 11 to go … eek!  How are you doing?  Are you smug with completedprojectititis … or are you flapping? do tell …

Monday 12 December 2011

Sew Mama Sew Giveaway Day! - grab a mince pie on your way out …

Today is Giveaway Day over at Sew Mama Sew


Now, before you all stamped over there to partake in the veritable feast of lovely generous linky upiness, grab a virtual mince pie and leave a comment below to be in with a chance to win one of my little mince pie wrist pincushions.

Mince Pie Wrist Pincushion

Made from wool felt and satin ribbon, stuffed with risotto rice - how upmarket can you get?  Really! LOL

... just leave a comment below telling me the first thing you ate todayI had a stick of liquorice with my coffee, because I couldn't face porridge  …

Good luck everyone and remember to go to Sew Mama Sew to check out all the loveliness …

giveaway runs until midnight UK time December 16th and your prize will be mailed by 24th December. It is open internationally.

Saturday 10 December 2011

P.A.N.T.S for Santa

Christmas is so very close and I am so very unprepared.  who knew?

I've been trying to keep the twigging about on the interwebs to a minimum and the actual marking of work & making of stuff to the max ... (the latter pretty unsuccessfully, I must admit) … 

But I have been trying to organise my P.A.N.T.S.

pings pants
In case you missed me rambling about it before, it's a flickr group I've set up to link to tutorials you've created using your own genius crafting brains or to show stuff you've made from others' tutes that you really like. 

Discussion threads are open to the usual mixture of smut, wisdom and community spirit …

This weekend, May the Crafting Force Be With You and your P.A.N.T.S. ever inspirational ...

Saturday 3 December 2011

Tutorial: {Caffeine} Molecule Mug Rug!

The most important thing I have learned about the Accuquilt Go! Baby is that it isn’t just designed for cutting a whole quilt or larger project … oh no!

My initial fear about using any kind of cutting machine was that anything I made would look just too anodyne and perfect (fat chance!)  When I twigged that it's the sewing and embroidery that defines my stitching, not what I use to cut the fabric, it all fell into place.

Once the novelty of cutting bulk circles & hexies
& squares out of scraps (for the sheer joy of it) had worn off, I realised I had a tool that affords me the time to actually try new things out - because I know that I’m approaching the task from a starting point of accuracy. 

People talk about the fabric wastage, but really for me, my usual process involves having to agonise over cutting templates and several botched cutting attempts, so there is very little fabric wastage with a machine if you use your noodle a bit and precut the fabric.

<-- For this tutorial I was inspired by this brill nerdy mug rug from Lillian’sStitches over on Flickr.

Even though there’s only one hexagon to cut, I wanted to make a few of these for nerdy sciencey mates & colleagues, so it was a great Go! Baby project. 

I also had to cut pentagons, which I did using my lazy laptop-screen lightbox method:

  1. find an image on the interweb
  2. resize it in the browser using Ctrl + or - (the keyboard shortcut makes your whole browser magnify or diminish incrementally - blurry handy!)
  3. using tracing paper or template plastic and sticky tape if you feel you need it (get rid of some of the sticky on some batting first to keep your screen clean) trace image off laptop screen with a fine marker.
  4. cut with old fashioned scissors.  carefully.


I was a bad girl (I’m sure it’s not recommended) and also cut a piece of template plastic using the Go! Baby for the 1” hexagons. I really wanted to fussy cut neatly as they’re so small. 

Here’s what you need for the molecule mug rug (click on image to enlarge on flickr)


in case you can’t read the measurements, the front and wadding pieces are 9” x 7” and the backing (and self-binding) is 10.5” x 8”.

I found some mug clipart (for the other side) and traced that off the screen too, straight onto bondaweb. 


I also traced it onto paper using a marker, so that I could flip it for the reverse image, and add to my other applique templates.  I used red and green fabric for the mugs to make it a little more Christmassy.

Quick scrawl of caffeine molecule (also traced off screen) ...


Next, iron the applique pieces onto front and back pieces.


Either machine or hand applique (I forgot to photograph that bit!)

Embroider your molecular connecty bits …

Lay backing wrong side up, batting and front right side up and baste. 

Pic taken before the embroidery and applique, sorry … don’t be confused! … I was taking advantage of the 10 mins of daylight I had!

 To self-bind, fold backing over twice, as for hemming, and press with an iron.

Pin and sew as you would for binding - I didn’t mitre my corners here, I wanted them square and blocky:

Ta Da! One Caffeine Molecule Mug Rug!


I hope you feel inspired to run up a few of your own … if you do, please add them to my squeaky new and very empty Pings And Needles Tutorial Stuff Flickr group  
(Bwahaha .. PANTS for short!)  I’d love to see what you make!

I'd really really love it if you used it like a kind of permanent linky group for any quick and easy tutorials that you do ... We can get organised in the Discussions, but just adding pictures to the Pool that link to tutes would be fantastic ... 

Accuquilt Go! Baby Winner!

Someone's getting an early Christmas Present ....  (tee hee, isn't this great!?)

Thank you to everyone who entered.  And ... Congratulations to

otherwise known as ...

Sally from DitzyandDotty

 !! Yay you!

If you don't know Sally's blog you must go ... she is brillfabtastically creative ...

I so want to crochet this tongue-in-cheek banana cosy

(makes a banana all graceful and ballerina-like)

Congratulations Sally and commiserations to everyone else. 

Stay tuned for my caffeine molecule mug rug tutorial .... 


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