April 2013 archive

Giveaway – FMQ book



So I mentioned that I was planning a giveaway for my birthday.  I had the best intentions.  Then my husband had food poisoning.  All night, then slept all day on my birthday.  That’s cool, I had an awesome day with our kids.  I took them toy shopping and gave them each a budget.  It was really fun and there were no tears (bonus!).  It was actually probably the best birthday I’ve ever had.  I usually get a bit depressed thinking of sad family stuff on these occasions, but I realised that my kids are awesome and there is nothing better than spending the whole day with them.

blowing candles
Blowing out the birthday candles

You’ll be pleased to hear that my husband got up the next day and took the kids out so I could have some ‘me time’ that was also great :)  I did a bit of this:

Create Quilt FMQ in progress

But back to the giveaway!  You know I love to Free Motion Quilt.  I’ve previously discussed some of my quilting resources and it turns out that I have two copies of one of these great books.  I don’t need two copies and I’d much rather someone else got to use this fabulous resource than it just sit on my bookshelf :)

book cover

You can read more of my thoughts about this book here, but it is essentially a FMQ sketch book that has been filled out for you by an awesome quilter, Bethany Pease.

This giveaway is open worldwide and you have two chances to enter.

1. You need to be a follower of this blog to enter the giveaway (however you please, you don’t need to tell me, I trust you) and just leave me a comment below letting me know what theme you would like to see for my next set of Paper Pieced Patterns. You can find the existing ones here.

2.  For your second chance to enter you need to follow my Facebook page, just leave me a comment letting me know that you do.  Previously I was using it as a platform to share my items for sale, but it is now blog focused and with Google Reader shutting down it will be a good place to keep up to date with my posts.

I will use Random.Org to select a winner.  The winner will be announced on the Monday 6th May and I will also email the winner.  Because timezones confuse the heck out of me and I live in little old Nouméa, you may enter until midday Sunday 5th Australian Eastern Standard Time (eg. Sydney).

Please make sure you are not a no reply blogger or leave your email address in your comment :)  If I don’t hear back from the winner within 3 days I will redraw.

*Phew* I hope I’ve covered all bases there :)

Best of luck!


April blocks in the nick of time!


I seem to work well under pressure.  Well, that’s my excuse for leaving my BOM and Bee blocks until the last day of the month AGAIN!  I didn’t manage to sneak in my Lucky Stars BOM but I have printed the patern and selected the pritns (about two weeks ago!) so it will be done shortly :)

I did get my And Sew On BOM block done today.  To be honest I wasn’t all that excited about it but I’m so pleased with how it has turned out!!

sew on bom april block

Until now I had been using a cohesive colour palette for this BOM but I decided to be radical today and change it up.  I have decided that I’m not going with my original plan of making a wall hanging with the blocks, but to turn them into SUPER COOL sewing related gifts for my quilty pals :)  This block is going to become a little pouch for carrying scissors and rotary cutter to quilt group.  How cool will that be? :)

Sew On Bom Jan-Apl

I also squeezed in my QCA Bee 1 (we need a better name, right?) block today. Marieka chose the Garden Fence block by Hyacinth Quilt Designs.  Again, I was not super excited about this block.  But it is AWESOME!  So easy to put together and so fun!!  If we weren’t in the same Bee I would be choosing this block too LOL

QCA bee block
Wonky photography not block :)

Keep your eyes peeled for my birthday giveaway that I will be posting in about 15 minutes :)  Trying to squeeze in all the April essentials ;)

I’m linking up with the April Sew On BOM Linky at Quiet Play.

Equation mini and two new patterns


I seem to be making more minis and fewer large quilts recently, but they’re all fun, so on with the show and tell ;)

Earlier in the week I finished a fun retro TV cushion for the boys.  I used my own pattern for the centre block and it is now available to purchase on craftsy.  I had previously made a 10″ version of this block but I wanted to have fun fussy cutting a print for the TV screen so I went with a 15″ block this time.  The cushion requires a 26″ insert but our cushion are rather deflated from pillow fights, but you get the idea :)  I plan to make a few more large cushion covers for the children to play pillow fights with have in their playroom.

PP retro TV cushion

It’s a week of birthday celebrations for us, I turn 35 tomorrow (keep an eye out for a celebratory giveaway over the next few days.) and Mr Husband had a birthday earlier in the week.  We have a few bought presents coming but I made this mini for Mr Husband.

equation mini on grass

In my mind my FMQ writing was much neater *sigh* but this probably accurately reflects my messy scribble ;)  The words reflect significant points in our life together (my first memory is of him holding the bus door open, I thought he was such a gentleman! I was obviously easily impressed as a 21 year old LOL.)

equation mini FMQ detail

I selected a red thread (Aurifil 50wt 2250) for the writing to jump out and a pale cream (Aurifil 50 wt 2000) for the rest of the FMQ to blend in.  Usually when quilting I have a plan.  Before I jump in I generally sketch out my design or run my finger over the fabric to work out the size and shape or any obstacles I might encounter.  This time it was made up as I went.  I threw a couple of feathers in because Angela Walters says they’re her favourite and she will always fall back on them.

FMQ around numbers

I love harsh geometric shapes and I played off the sharp edges of the numbers and symbols balanced with lots of swirls and organic shapes for interest.  At one point I stitched a leaf and decided it was perfect for an apple.  We fell in love in a village that grew apples so there you go, there’s an apple :)

FMQ apple
The apple looks a little strange as I wrote the name of the village.
But hey, the recipient gets it :)

We lived in Beijing for awhile so I stitched out The Great Wall and then underlined it with the highrise skyline of Beijing.

FMQ Beijing skyline Great Wall
The Ls got chopped off when I trimmed the mini.  This is where planning would have been helpful!

I decided this location theme was fun and added in some bicycles.  We used to go on lots of family bike rides in Australia. Generally with kids on the back of the bikes but I thought I would end up with a mess if I started to draw a kid’s seat attachment LOL

FMQ bicycles

As you may know, we currently live in the South Pacific so I added in a little scene of the Pacific, some waves, a traditional hut, a coconut palm and the brilliant sun.

FMQ South Pacific scene

There are lots of love hearts hidden in the FMQ and the whole thing is a bit of whimsy, possibly over the top, but Mr Husband is very supportive so I’m sure that he’ll love it when I give it to him tonight :)

equation mini on dark

The mini measure up at 13″ x 15″ and I used some scrap cotton wadding.  I used a fun orange print (Soul Garden) for the binding and some favourite prints for the paper pieced equation.  I’m hoping the equation makes sense, but it’s meant to represent that 1 (him) plus 1 (me) became 5 when we had our three wonderful children.  (Well, mostly wonderful, Miss 2 has spent the last hour refusing to put on leggings and is wearing a dress I made her a year ago which barely covers her bum.  Keeping it real, people, keeping it real.  LOL)

Once I’ve finished wrestling with the software I will offer the 1 + 1 = 5 pattern for free on both Craftsy  and within my Paper Piecing Tutorial.

I’m linking up with TGIFF over at What a Hoot and once I’ve managed to get these pattern pieces into a PDF I will be celebrating TGIFF!!!  In the meantime I’ll check out the other linkys and enjoy the quilt candy ;)

Paper Pieced TV


More Paper Piecing?  Really?  Yes, really :)  (Although if you follow me on Instagram – I’m PrettyBobbins – you’ll be sick of this project LOL)

Last week I was super excited to share my Tea or Coffee mini and announce the release of my very first patterns :)

tea or coffee styled

This week I’m working on my next pattern for release and because I just can’t do things by halves I had to turn the block into something pretty :)

PP retro TV cushion

I first designed the block for Fiona as part of our Paper Piecing Bee, she selected a “mid century modern furniture” theme.

paper pieced TV
Paper Pieced retro TV block 10″ for Fiona.

I’ve keep the design the same, just tweaking it a little (mostly making it more user friendly).  For the cushion cover I actually scaled it up to 15″ square and I had so much fun with it that I’m thinking I might include pattern pieces for both a 10″ and 15″ block.  The 15″ block just gives you a little more versatility for the TV screen :)  I chose dueling Pirates as my monkeys boys often break into a wrestling match whilst watching TV.

PP retro TV duelling pirates

When I originally made this block I left the vase empty with the thought that Fiona could chose to embroider her own flowers or not.  This time I went a little nuts.  I’ve never tried thread painting before and to be honest I’ve been dreaming of making an art quilt so I got out my BSR foot and and had some fun.  I’m thinking of putting a tutorial together showing how I did these flowers.  Would anyone be interested in that? :)

thread painting flowers

I think my favourite part of the entire cushion cover is that droopy flower and the fallen petal LOL

flowers thread painting

We will move into our new house early next year, we will have lots more space (yay!) including a rumpus room :)  The bedrooms are quite a modest size so the rumpus room will be a big playroom with either an old bed set up as a day bed or an old sofa (because I’m dreaming of replacing ours).  With that in mind I went for bright, kid-friendly colours and plan to make a few more cushion covers and decorations with a rainbow theme.  You might want to squint, that back is insanely bright LOL

rainbow cushion back
My children are bilingual Francophone/Anglophones so I just couldn’t resist the number
 print as Mr 6 is learning to read.

I added log cabin style borders and had a whole lot of fun with quilt as you go.  To be honest, it probably made the whole process a lot longer, but it did mean that I could secure my ends by going back and forth rather than burying all those threads.  It’s hard to see but I quilted each section differently, mostly FMQ but a little SLQ thrown in.  Of course I used my favourite thread, Aurifil, in 50wt (colours 2000, 1128, 2605, 2250, 2235, 1100, 5006, 2884 and possibly my favourite 2810, a brilliant, glowing aqua).

QAYG retro TV log cabin
I trimmed the cushion cover front down to 25″ x 25″ and actually considered turning it into a mini at this stage.

The back of the cushion front actually shows the quilting better (and you know that I can’t resist a good back!).

retro TV quilted back

Whilst this cushion insert definitely needs replacing (I figured out it is 6 years old and it has seen A LOT of pillow fights!) I like the look of the binding and it will be a lot plumper once I replace it with an actual 26″ insert and not a terribly deflated one.

PP retro TV cushion in chair

For the first time I’m linking up with Sew Cute Tuesday over at Better Off Thread.  If you haven’t checked it out, you should.  Janice is one of my favourite bloggers :)

Have you fit any sewing in yet this week?

Better Off Thread

Sunday Stash


I’m hoping that next Sunday I’ll have a lovely new stack of voile to share with you :)  This week I’m going to share the most recent stash mail that arrived from Pink Castle Fabrics.

Stash Stack Club Green

Green is not a colour a naturally favour and that’s why I love having a subscription to a monthly stash club (there are lots around now but I’m happy with Pink Castle so will stick with it for now).  I think this contour print from the fabulous Architextures range is possibly my favourite fat quarter this month!
stash stack green 1
Second favourite would have to be this small scale print.  I also have it in purple and orange and it is great for paper piecing!
stash stack green 2
I used the orange version here in my Lucky Stars BOM block.
lucky stars up to march
I have no idea what this print is but I can see it being used sometime soon.
stash club green 3

I’m linking up to Sunday Stash over at Kate Quilts today.  Have you added to your stash recently?  Do you have a stash club subscription, or one that you recommend?

Finding Fifth

Tutorial: Paper Piecing and a free pattern


You may have noticed that I have a thing for Paper Piecing ;)  Yesterday was a big day for me, I launched my first Paper Pieced Patterns, exciting!

tea or coffee styled

Today I’m sharing a tutorial (and free pattern for the teapot block – you can download it from the second last page of the tutorial) for anyone new to this technique.  I hope that you find this tutorial useful and that you enjoy the new format that I am using for my tutorials.


I would be absolutely delight to hear from you if you do make something with one of my patterns.  Please feel free to add images of your creations using my patterns to my Flickr group :)
Do you have a favourite piecing or quilting technique?

Tea or Coffee?


It’s awhile since I’ve linked up with TGIFF but I definitely have that TGIFF feeling today!  I’m also linking up with Finish It Up Friday over at Crazy Mom Quilts.

Recently I’ve been working hard to produce a number of paper pieced patterns.  It’s fun and creative but there is also a lot of tedious computer work involved in creating a simple downloadable pattern to share on Craftsy.  Today I’ve finally achieved that and I’m super happy!  You can find my very first pattern here.

Teapot image for pattern

I originally designed this pattern for Lara as part of our paper piecing bee, Wombat Stew, so I’ve made this block twice now :)  The second time around I decided to design two more blocks and turn them all into a mini.

tea or coffee mini wall

Never one to be overly ambitious ;)  I also decided I needed a tutorial to refer back to.  So I put together a Paper Piecing tutorial for beginners (I’ll share it here tomorrow) using the teapot block.  And because I’d been talking about this block for so long I decided to make it available for free on craftsy :)

craftsy screen

But I’ve also been talking about opening an etsy shop for like, FOREVER!  So I’ve listed it over there too.  I’ve almost finished the teacup and coffee machine patterns and they’ll be there soon too :)  *Phew* What a day!!  Definitely got that TGIFF feeling!!

coffe machine without lines
Coffee machine pattern is now available here.
Teacup Pattern is now available here.

But back to the actual quilt LOL

tea or coffee dark background

This mini measure up at 30″ x 17″ and was machine quilted by me using Aurifil 2000, 2065, 2692, 2245, 5006 and 1100 in 50wt.  I also had some fun hand quilting around the reverse applique in a lovely verigated pink (4660) 12wt Aurifil thread.

reverse applique

It feels like forever since I got my quilt on and I think my soul was crying out for some quilt time so I densely echoed the teapot, cups and coffee machine.

tea or coffee quilting close up

I don’t think I can produce a quilt without getting my FMQ on so I played around with the teacups and the teapot.  I didn’t want to overdo it and tried to work with the various prints.


The teacup block is really easy and I have to thank Kristy for coaching me through the process.  Her patterns are fantastic and I was trying to channel my inner Kristy while designing this one ;)  The coffee machine is actually my coffee machine LOL

coffee machine

I even tried tried to get all trendy and do some styling ;)

tea or coffee styled

I added hanging corners to all four corners as I think a piece of dowel running along the bottom will help this mini hang flat.

tea or coffee back

I’m super happy with this mini but I don’t know if I’ll keep it or sell it.  I’m not really one to decorate in the kitchen (you should see my old French kitchen – paint peeling off the walls, not old rustic – it does not inspire spending time in it other than to cook) but I have used some favourite prints here.  Plus now I’ve finally got that etsy shop with one listing I should add a few more items LOL ;)

tea or coffee mini

I’m linking up with TGIFF over at Sew at Home Mummy for the first time in awhile and holy moly, I am happy it is Friday and that my patterns are published and my quilt is done!

Have you had a big crafty week?  Do you set yourself deadlines?  I’d love to hear if you make any of these patterns :)

Work in Progress: Paper Piecing


The last week or two I have been spending more time on the computer and less sewing.  But it’s all for a good reason :)  Yesterday I shared my tutorial for replacing a patch or block and I’ve been drawing up lots of patterns with EQ7.  I’m hoping to have three patterns ready to download this Friday along with a Paper Piecing tutorial for beginners and a mini.  Ambitious? ;)

I’ve finished my teapot and coffee machine blocks and just need to turn them into something:


coffee machine

Today I am working on a stack of teacups and hopefully by Friday I will have turned all three blocks into a mini :)

***Update: You can now find all three patterns available here and a paper piecing tutorial here.***


I am still very slowly working on Mr 6′s Rainbow I Spy quilt.  Next time I will FMQ the writing ;)

rainbow i spy quilt in progress words

I just ordered a heap of Aurifil from Quilt Jane in preparation for three upcoming quilts.  (Again, ambitious?)  So far I only have pretty stacks of fabric but after all this computer work I am busting to roll around in piece some pretty fabric.

not quite there

I still need to get onto my BOM and Bee blocks for this month (I’m queen bee for Wombat Stew and the girls are producing some amazing blocks! Party/celebrate is my theme and you can see my inspiration board here.).  I’m really loving the Lucky Stars BOM and have ordered some more of the architexures print that I have been using for these blocks as I have decided to turn them all into a quilt :)  Here are my blocks so far:

lucky stars up to march

For April I’m thinking of one of these two bundles.

stars option two

stars option one

I’m trying to stick with my original pinks, oranges and teal but last month I brought in some purple.  Either way, I hope to work on this block before the end of the week.

I’m linking up with Work In Progress Wednesday over at Freshly Pieced.  Have you been getting stitchy this week?

WIP Wednesday at Freshly Pieced

Tutorial: how to replace a block in a quilt


Before I start this post I just want to say that today my thoughts are with those in Boston and Baghdad.

If you’re a regular reader you will be familiar with my long term work in progress.

I Spy Quilt top complete

I’m in the final stages of finishing this quilt for Mr 6 but it’s taking awhile…  Mr 6 is thrilled with his quilt, absolutely loves it and can’t wait to use it, except for one print.  As soon as I showed him the finished top he asked me to replace one print.

offending patch

Last week I finally got around to ‘replacing’ the offending print using a technique that I’m pretty sure I first read about here.  I’m pleased to say that you can’t even tell that the original block is hiding underneath and that Mr 6 is happy :)

replacement block

So today I’m sharing a tutorial on how I replaced the offending block in case you ever need to do the same.  I’m using a new web app, Simple Booklet, for this tutorial and I would love your feedback.  Simple Booklet is basically a code free slider and flipbooklet maker, so it’s easy for me to use.  I can edit everything in the one place making it much quicker to put together than my previous tutorials and they provide monthly stat reports which is handy.  I think this new format will make my tutorials easier to navigate and make my tutorial page a little tidier plus it was fun to use :)  Please let me know your thoughts!  (If you’re reading in a reader and you cannot see the below photo, please click through to my blog so you can read the tutorial and also let me know, thank you!)  And in the spirit of disclosure I’m friends with one of the creators of Simple Booklet, but I do really enjoy using it and wasn’t asked to promote it :)

Click on the arrows on the photo below to view the tutorial.


A mini break in Sarraméa


Hotel garden

We’re currently in the middle of two weeks of school holidays, Mr Husband took the first week off and we headed to the small hamlet of Sarraméa in the hills for two nights.  We had a great time and the hotel was right near a horse ranch so my city kids had a lot of fun checking out the horses.


The hotel had wifi but there was no reception and I intentionally did not get the password for the wifi.  Since being sick with pneumonia last July I really struggled with energy levels.  Although I only spent 4 days in hospital it took me four months to recover.  Then in December I had a thyroid episode which took another 4 months to recover from.  The chronic fatigue I suffered during those months saw me spending hours at a time just laying on the bed unable to summon the energy to get up.  I didn;t have the energy to be a good parent.  I yelled a lot, I cooked the quickest and easiest meals I could manage and I pretty much stopped participating in any activities that occurred outside of the house.

“hiking” family style LOL

It is so amazingly wonderful to have my energy back that I am really just focusing on being with my family, on being an active and engaged parent.  So it was great to completely disconnect from social media.  A good friend of mine said to me a couple of years ago, “I always wanted to be an active Mum, the Mum that gets in the pool with the kids rather than sits on the side watching them swim.”  I feel like I’m finally at that point again.  That I can race the boys down a path, jump in a freezing pool with them, take them for a ‘hike’ and get down on the floor and play lego and Hello Kitty.

Racing Mr 4 whilst Mr 6 photographs us :)

It’s great!

Having said all of that, I am hoping to get my craft on today ;)  A girl does need some ‘me time’ and for me that means sewing and quilting.  I kind of have too many projects to choose from so I will just quickly show you an order I finished earlier in the week :)

pillowcase collage text
chequebook collage text
Chequebook cover (I LOVE this one!)

Do you ever struggle to be the parent/person you want to be?  How do you find the right balance?  Any tips? :)

Mr 4 enjoys taking photos with the iPod

Bon weekend!

1 2 Next