Archive of ‘Sewn Gifts’ category

I Quilt Linky Party – Confidence


Welcome to I Quilt linky party at Pretty Bobbins, it’s Thursday (in Nouméa) and time to link up your quilting process.  Please link up, visit a few other linkers and grab my button (code at top right or down the bottom if you’re on a mobile device) and link back in your post.  Let’s spread the quilty love <3 :)  We had some seriously impressive linkers last week and as I was visiting all of the blogs I started thinking about quilting with confidence as quite a few people mentioned this.  Last week a Facebook friend shared a quote that said something like, “don’t compare your middle to someone else’s high point”.  It really struck a cord with me (as did the response that we should never compare our middles ;) ).

i quilt blog button

The online quilting community is great, blogs are great, craftsy and flickr and instagram are great.  But every now and then I catch myself comparing my work rather than being inspired.  Don’t get me wrong, 95% of the time I am surfing the web I am being inspired but there is a small part of me that every now and then thinks, “I’m not that good.” rather than “I look forward to being that good” or “I’m going to try that”.  Of course there are better quilters than me, there always will be!  And that’s great, it gives me something to aspire to.  But my point is, compare yourself to yourself.  To how far you’ve come, to what you achieved during your quilting time today, to the skills that come easily now compared to that first lesson when EVERYTHING was a challenge. (I remember being totally perplexed by how to use a rotary cutter and ruler and cutting all my blocks .5″ wrong!).  I used to sometimes feel like blogland was too happy and no one ever said anything real or negative.  But I have come to understand that the encouragement that we give each other is far more important than saying, “it would have looked better if you….” or “those really aren’t my colours…”  I read every comment I get and whilst I can’t always respond, those comments all build my confidence and that makes me a braver and better quilter.  Share the love people! :)

Photo used with permission from Marelize @ Stitch by Stitch

This week I am featuring the lovely Marelize from Stitch by Stitch.  I think I originally “met” Marelize on Instagram and I just LOVE LOVE LOVE seeing her work.  She also quilts on a Bernina and is super amazing at free motion quilting.  Seriously, check her out if you love quilting candy!   Last week she linked up the most BEAUTIFUL quilt in progress and was talking about how it just wasn’t how she imagined.  Marelize, the rest of us can see how stunning that quilt is, your work is divine!  The back really shows the detail. AMAZING!

Photo used with permission by Marelize @ Stitch by Stitch

I’m actually in the same head space as Marelize at the moment.  I love the quilting I did on my “Dream” mini (below) but it isn’t quite there, it’s not how I imagined it would be.  I need to add a bit and I think by attaching the binding next I will be inspired to stitch on those words like I envisaged and decide whether or not to outline the word “dream” or leave it subtle.

As often is the case, the back is the show stealer here…

My other current quandry is the table runner I am making as a thank you/farewell gift for Mr 7′s teacher.  (Thank you for all the useful suggestions and kind thoughts yesterday.  Apparently he was improved this morning but lost focus this afternoon.  That in itself is a HUGE improvement.  Funny that my son is stubborn… ;) )  After so much dense SLQ on the Dream mini I just couldn’t do it again even though it was my first thought for the table runner (this girl needs curves!).

Triangle table runner in progress

I LOVED this baby during the piecing and felt oh so clever how I’d used all teal and placed it from dark to light with the bold pink thrown in.  I actually really thought this one needed some harsh geometric quilting but I didn’t want to quilt over the triangles.  I pondered it for a day and then decided to just jump in.

Stuck in a rut!

I kind of got stuck on the same pattern.  Does that ever happen to you?  Completely not loving it I gave up the idea of something I would love and decided to throw in some half swirls spewing out into pebbles.  I like it a lot more now, but it looks really beachy to me and that wasn’t at all what I was going for….  Ah!  I need to think less and have more confidence in giving hand made gifts!!  Do you give handmade gifts confidently?  It’s that real conundrum, do you give handmade and put in lots of effort and then maybe it ends up at goodwill or in the rubbish…  Or is it only me that is lacking in confidence on the handmade gift front?  Spill the beans people! :)

Adding swirls and pebbles for interest

Now it’s your turn.  I’d love you to link up below.  Please remember that this is a quilting process linky.  We all want to hear about your process, we want to learn and be inspired and share your quilty journey <3  Please remember to visit a few other linkers and add my button to your post or sidebar.  Happy quilting!! :)

i quilt blog button



Inspired to Hop


Sorry for the silence around here, I’m just back from a week break and it was so chaotic before we left that I didn’t have time to schedule any posts.  I’m planning to post tomorrow about our trip and link up for Sunday Stash with a few little textile goodies that I purchased in Vanuatu.  I’ll also share the highlights of our eventful trip.

The lovely Alyce was kind enough to swap hop days with me on the Kate Spain blog hop.  Our flights back to Nouméa were cancelled and I’ve been sick and I really, really, really need a few extra days to give my hop project the love it deserves :)  So make sure you pop by Alyce’s blog on Monday and then back here on the 25th :)  I’ll post the list of all the hoppers at the bottom of this post, some of my favourite bloggers are involved!

But right now is the time to link up projects that you have using Kate Spain’s prints prior to the hop.  Head over to Blossom Heart Quilts for the link party.  There are some beautiful projects already linked up, so make sure you head on over :)

Kate Spain blog hop

I’m generally not one to make a project from a single line of fabric.  I am one to buy an entire line of fabric though ;)  Yes, I am saving a FQ bundle of Good Fortune for a rainy day and I have a charm pack of Cuzco here waiting for just the right project. Late last year I was lucky enough to win some FQs of Kate Spain’s Christmas line, Joy.  I featured it in my curves class project earlier this year and I’m looking forward to hanging it on the wall this coming Christmas.

oh christmas tree mini

How cute is that Kate Spain Christmas tree?

oh christmas tree

Possibly my favourite Kate Spain project in my sewing room is not by me, but by the lovely Kristy of Quiet Play :)  Kristy made me this beautiful quilted canvas for my Birthday earlier this year, it sits right above my sewing machine and I love it.

quiet play canvas

The lovely Marieka also cottoned onto my love of Kate Spain’s prints and made me a beautiful sewing machine cover for our Secret Santa last year.

secret santa machine cover front

Even the back is pretty!

secret santa machine cover back

But right now I’m going to head back to my hop WIP which features prints from Cuzco, Good Fortune and Terrain.  I’ve just finished handquilting and I’m really excited about this lap quilt that my daughter has claimed :)

wonky stars pieced section wip

Don’t forget the linky on the 28th of June for any finished project you have made uding the hop (this June) using Kate Spain’s fabrics.  It doesn’t need to be a quilt, I just can’t resist ;)

Blog Hop Stops:

Monday June 3rd - Interview with Kate Spain
Tuesday June 4th - Interview Part 2 and Jane at QuiltJane
Wednesday June 5th – Christa at Christa Quilts
Thursday June 6th – Kimberly at Fat Quarter Shop
Friday June 7th – Laura at Quokka Quilts

Monday June 10th – Chrissy at Sew Lux
Wednesday June 12th – Julie at The Intrepid Thread
Thursday June 13th – Kristy at Quiet Play
Friday June 14th - Link up your favourite Kate Spain project! and Lynne at Lily’s Quilts

Over the next two weeks you can find ideas and inspiration here:

Monday June 17th – Alyce at Blossom Heart Quilts
Tuesday June 18th – Heidi at Fabric Mutt
Wednesday June 19th – Melissa at Ms Midge
Thursday June 20th – Jess at The Elven Garden
Friday June 21st – Janice at Better Off Thread

Monday June 24th – Diane at From Blank Pages…
Tuesday June 25th – Gemma at Pretty Bobbins
Wednesday June 26th – Kara at Me And Elna
Thursday June 27th – Readers’ Q&A with Kate Spain at Blossom Heart Quilts
Friday June 28th - Link up your blog hop projects! 

It’s Saturday night and I’m excited!


The monkeys kids are in bed and quiet (I suspect not yet asleep), Mr Husband is bringing washing in off the line and I am sitting here looking at my new design wall!

I bought a queen (? king?) flannel sheet over 12 months ago with the intention of using it as a design wall.  Every time I thought about putting it up it seemed like hard work, I just wanted simple.  So it sat in my stash and I actually started to cut bits off for projects.

I sew in our dining room (we therefore eat in the kitchen) and whilst I am meant to be able to tidy away my creative mess at a moment’s notice, it usually only gets done when we’re having company, and even then not always.  But today I needed to lay out some blocks where they wouldn’t keep getting moved so I asked Mr Husband if I could nail my sheet to the wall.  Being wonderful, he offered to pop down to the hardware store and grab some hooks (I’m SURE we had lots!).  Once he got back it was a 10 minute job.  He nailed in 3 hooks about 7 foot off the ground. I strung some picture frame wire between them and hooked it over the center hook.  Then I just pinned the sheet in place.  YAY!  It is simple, it can be packed away in a few minutes, it works and I love it!

The kids thought it was very pretty and Little Miss was “helping” by putting fabric scraps on the wall with a running commentary ”Pretty.  Help, here Maman. I like it!”  Gosh two year olds are cute!
We are half way through two weeks of school holidays and this is the first time I’ve been completely exhausted by school holidays.  I suspect that maybe my energy levels aren’t quite back to normal after the pneumonia.  I thought they were, but having the boys home from school has been incredibly tiring.  We have been having fun though, lots of playdates and some serious Lego building.
(not actually Lego brand, this took me 4 hours to put together!)
I have not felt very productive, but I did managed to get in some fussy cutting (the pieces on the design wall above) which was very time consuming and a few gifts for two very special new babies and their elder siblings *spoiler alert* (you know who you are, stop reading here if you know me personally and just had a baby.)
Some handmade cards by me based on a design I saw
 somewhere on a blog once. Definitely not claiming the
 bunting is my original idea!  I’ve smudged out their
 names which I also stamped on the cards :)
I made my first bunting.  I can’t believe I haven’t done it before, but I guess I’ve seen it everywhere so it felt like there was no need.  I love how it turned out but next time I will use wider bias binding.  This was pre bought half inch single fold so it was pretty fiddly double folding it and catching the bunting.  I love the final product, so that’s all that counts and I hope the recipient loves it too :)
Baby boy bunting.
Big brother was sent a pencil roll, hopefully it helps keep him entertained while Mum looks after baby brother :)
The new baby girl and her big sister were sent a similar gift to the bunting but a bit more girly :)  I think Little Miss might be getting some of these, they were fiddly but I was super happy with the outcome (excuse the terrible lighting!!).
I love using scraps and whilst the ribbon garland was a little bit of an experiment I think they will both be well loved :)
So after being exhausted all week and feeling even more tired today, I am now super happy and feeling great.  If I was sensible I would toddle off to bed now but I think I will grab a glass of rosé, plonk on the sofa and pretend to watch TV whilst I actually admire my new design wall :)  Yay!
Do you have a design wall?  Is it super simple like mine or more refined?  Has it enhanced your quilting experience?  I’d love to hear your thoughts!

Handmade with care (and lots of experimenting!)


I don’t have many real life crafting buddies that live nearby but I enjoy interacting on an almost daily basis with some wonderful crafty women online.  A few months ago I joined Quilt Club Australia, a Facebook based modern quilting group.  Some of these women have been quilting for years and are amazingly talented and speedy.  Some are on their first, second or third quilt.  All are friendly and willing to share their skills and knowledge.  There is even another expat Aussie in the group!

Not long after I joined I signed up for my first swap with QCA.  I was assigned a lovely lady in Perth who unfortunately doesn’t have a blog but had filled out a questionnaire so I knew that she likes “modern fun stuff”, doesn’t like yellow or grey too much, likes purple, green, pink, red and aqua but is not a fan of old style floral prints, vintage prints or batiks.  I decided that “modern fun stuff” gave me licence to be as creative as I could be :)  She received her gift late last week so I can share with you now what I made!
I hope I didn’t go too far with the experimenting, but as I started to design, cut and sew I got more and more creative.  I am really into texture at the moment and I tried pebbling on the front cover.  This is around some reverse appliqué which is not raw edged but has some hand quilting just because.  I don’t know what this technique is called but I sewed the letters with right sides together, cut them out, turned through the facing fabric and ended up with my letters but nice clean edges.  To be honest the circle in the S and the E was a right pain and I probably won’t do it this way again LOL  I also did everything by sight so it isn’t perfect, but I think that is what I was going for, a natural design progression.
I had so much fun with the back!!  I machine stitched the pleats in opposite directions and then hand stitched on top for a fun detail.  Texture baby!
The blue bit is a little pocket and the
red is a felt square for needles.
I machine stitched the binding, I wish I’d had time to hand stitch it, but I didn’t in the end, I hope my partner forgives me that *blushes*  How much fun are these fabrics?  I had just received the red and the orange and I HAD to use them.  I love putting in a zippered pocket into sewing pouches, nothing like losing a button while travelling that was destined for some crafty goodness.  The ribbon is meant to be for holding cotton reels, again it was an experiment as previously I have used bias binding and velcro.
The pin cushion is my very first cathedral window.  It was so much fun and I’m going to make HEAPS more.  I found a great tutorial here.  
So what do you think?  Did I do OK for my first swap?  I haven’t received my swap item yet, but mail always takes a little longer to get to me, so no surprises there :)  I’ll be sure to share when I do though!

I’m linking up with Thank Goodness It’s Finished Friday at Quokka Quilts this week :)  Technically I didn’t finish this project this week but because it was a swap I’m only sharing it for the first time now :)

It’s cold out!


I just ran down to the basement (why do I feel like I sound American saying that?) to throw some clothes in the dryer.  It turns out the Mr 5.5 has had a growth spurt and nothing fits.  Well, that’s not exactly true.  Following in the footsteps of both his Father and Mother (in my younger days, not so much post-kiddies) he is a very slim and still fits size 2 in the waist, but needs size 5 leg length.  I remind myself these are our genes and he is healthy.

Anyway, I just ran down to the basement only to discover that not only is it raining but it’s freezing!  Well, I am in shorts and a t-shirt, it’s all relative!  But here I was about to stay up and fit in the sewing that didn’t happen today because I was shopping for pants for said skinny child.  Instead, I have decided to work on my secret swap item tomorrow.  It’s so secret that I’m not even going to show you a photo, but I will tell you that I embroidered a button and I’m thinking I might experiment with some pin-wale cord as well as a few new blocks.  If you want some inspiration for a small quilted gift (most but not all of these are quilted), check out my inspiration board on pinterest “Small gifts / swap ideas”

Right now, motivated by the freezing weather, I am about to move to the sofa and enjoy some of the chocolate that Mr Husband is snaffling.  If all goes well tomorrow I might show you a photo or two of my secret swap item.  I’m totally impressed with what I’ve made so far.  My swap partner is luckyyyy :)  I tried out something that I’ve been wanting to do for awhile :)  Yay that it worked, but it has inspired me to go further and keep experimenting.  My swap partner likes modern, so I figure that is licence to experiment away!

Are any of my readers participating in a swap at the moment?  I’d love to see your sneak peaks or inspirations, please comment below with links :)

Happy sewing!

A productive week! Kind of…


We are at the end of the first week of the May school holidays.  I have been squeezing in a little sewing each afternoon during “quiet time” (read: Little Miss naps and the boys watch TV) and a little in the evenings.  I’m hoping to get a few gifts in the post tomorrow, but we’ll see.  I have finished this lovely little Mug Rug that is for a lovely lady. Ssshhh, don’t tell her, it’s a surprise!


I’m in a couple of swaps at the moment so I started a Pinterest “swaps/small gifts” board and I just couldn’t resist this wonderful mug rug that I spotted.  I was enjoying hand quilting but I didn’t want to fill the whole space.  I actually wanted a white background but a white mug rug seems completely impractical to me; it’ll have tea stains in two seconds!  Plus I just received a heap of black homespun from The Oz Material Girls, so I had some handy :)

My other finish for the week (so far!  I’m hoping to have a few more before the week is out) was the name plaque for my gorgeous nephew.  I gave you a sneak peak here and I still won’t reveal the whole thing as his Mummy pops in from time to time and I don’t want to completely spoil the surprise :)

It’s always nice to have a nice backside ;P

Another of my favourite little people turned two this week and I’m putting together a gorgeous pinafore for her.  The first time round it was a little short so I’ve made two :)  Just need to finish off the hems and sew on some buttons tonight.  I then have to figure out if to send the pinafore or the smock…  Both are too cute for words!  I’ll share the pattern source for these in another post, let’s just say that I love sewing from Ottobre :)


The postie made a delivery this week which was nice!  Well, two in fact.  The first was a book that I saw reviewed somewhere in blogland and had to have.

Nice Cover!

I’ve only had a skim read so far but this page is so pretty that I had to share.  I love learning about colour.

My second package from the postie is a little more mundane but I am equally as excited!

How comfy does that thimble look???  Sadly I forgot about it when I was hand-quilting yesterday, but I’ll try it out soon.  I’m also super excited to be sharpening some of my old blunt rotary blades that I’ve kept for using with paper.  Here’s hoping this little gadget actually works!  I like to think that I’m an experienced and knowledgeable sew-er.  I know that I still have a lot to learn ;)  Recently I learnt that there are machine quilting needles!  I always change needles depending on my fabric weight (and I use a lot of interfacing) but I was previously oblivious to machine quilting needles so now I have some to add to my collection.  How many needles does one need??

Has anyone else had any exciting mail this week?  Or been sewing gifts?  I’m getting a bit ambitious and considering making cards to go with the gifts I’ve made…  That might delay the post somewhat!

Work in Progress and my new addiction; free-motion quilting


I mentioned recently on Suburban Adventures that my lovely nephew visited us (he brought his parents too).  He just turned two and is moving in to his big boy room.  I’m a bad Aunty and his present is a little late, but it will be in next week’s post.  I LOVE it and just had to share a sneak peak with you :)  I just need to hand sew the binding and it will be done.

His new room has a blue and red airplane theme.  I have appliqued his name and some airplanes but I really wanted to free motion quilt a kind of wind or sky pattern.  I think I was having mad fantasies of Van Gogh’s Starry Night LOL

Anyway, one of the wonderful women from Quilt Club Australia pointed me toward The Free Motion Quilting Project where I found this gem.  It wasn’t exactly what I wanted, but after watching her video I decided I would just jump in and give it a go :)  I am so pleased with the outcome!  I’ll share a photo of the whole thing once it has been received (my lovely sister-in-law pops in to my blogs sometimes and I don’t want to spoil the surprise!).

I must admit, I am completely addicted to free-motion quilting.  I want to stop doing everything else and just play with my fabric all day making squiggly patterns.  It is so easy to escape the world when you are expending all your concentration on a small area of fabric.  Plus, I hear you get better with practice and I definitely have room for improvement LOL

Anyone else completely addicted to free motion quilting?

Handmade Love


Am I the only person who falls in love with every single thing they make?  I have two items for sale in an online market night tonight and I am so proud of what I’ve made.  What do you think?

Perfect for a slumber party with your favourite dolly!

The theme of the market night is “Celebrate/Party” as it is part of the first birthday celebrations for The Sewing Library (TSL), an online Facebook group that is all about sewing.  I’ve mentioned TSL before and I really do enjoy being part of the group, if you sew I recommend you head on over, you can find TSL here on Facebook and their new blog here.

My second item for the market night is just as cute, perfect for baking birthday cakes :)

Who could resist cupcake potholders?

I’m not going to go all advertorial on you, but if you’re interested in these items or any of the other gorgeous handmade goodies on offer, head on over to The Sewing Library Noticeboard.  The market starts at 7pm AEST tonight, 2 May and all details are in the Market Album.

Quilt in Progress


I’m so excited about this quilt!  I mentioned previously that I’m working on a quilt for my Mr 3.5.  It is my first big quilting project in awhile and I am really enjoying it.  I just have to sew the four border strips and then the quilt top is done!  I probably won’t get much done it today as we are having a social day :)

Have you guessed yet which pattern I am following?  Here are a couple more sneak peaks :)

I really want to show you a photo of the quilt top, but I think it is more fun this way :)

This will be the biggest project by far that I have stippled…  Wish me luck!  I look forward to sharing some more photos with you soon.  I haven’t decided what I’m going to do for the quilt back, so maybe I’ll work that out and then share a photo of that with you :)

Easter Sewing – Before I stayed up all night sewing Bunnies


I’ve jumped on the bandwagon and am sewing Easter gifts.  I’m not sure how I feel about this.  (After staying up all night sewing Bunnies I know exactly how I feel about this and you can read about my Bunny inspired madness here.)  When did Easter turn into another gift giving holiday…?  I mean, chocolate eggs sure, but some of the gift lists I’ve heard are akin to Christmas.  Anyhow, I’m on board and I’ve been sewing up fabric eggs and a range of bunnies (you can find the links to the tutorials below).

I added little gift tags on ribbons.

My first Bunny was a combination of two great tutorials.  I took the shape of this Chibi Bunny and did a face inspired by this Easter Bunny.

I was having a lot of fun and even had a little girl in mind as I was stitching on the Bunny’s pink eyes.  Then I remembered that pink eyes on bunnies are not a good thing.  Where I grew up rabbits were considered a noxious pest and myxomatosis was rampant, slow moving, pink eyed bunnies were on a gruesome death train…

Heck!  Where was I?  Lovely Easter bunnies should not have pink eyes.  Having said that, eggs shouldn’t really be blue or yellow but these look pretty good.

You can find the tutorial for the Fabric Eggs over at Retro Mama.  I have to say, I seriously love the look of her blog!  I’ll be heading back for a better look around soon :)  I have also started a Pinterest Board on Seasonal Crafts, so you can always look there for some ideas :)

In addition to my morbid memories of rabbits and lack of exposure to Easter gift giving, I face another hurdle.  My children go to school in Noumea, the French education system has little place for religion.  Will I be making a faux pas if I give Easter gifts at school?  And if I do decide that it is OK to give the gifts, how do we hand them out?  I’m not making one for all 32 classmates of each child (64 fabric bunnies!) so I’ve decided that they can have half a dozen each to give to their friends and one for each of their teachers (remembering that Mr 3.5 has 2 teachers and a teacher’s aides.

Update: I made enough Easter Bunnies and Eggs for all the Mr 5.5′s classmates, all the teachers and teacher’s aides and a few for close friends of Mr 3.5.  You can read about my descent into Easter madness here.

But back to sewing.  How cute are these fabric Easter Bunnies and eggs?  The template and tutorial for the silhoutte style bunny can be found here at Twig and Thistle.

I’m thinking of having an Easter Egg hunt for our toddler playgroup with fabric eggs instead of chocolate ones.  Although I’m not sure if I can face making another dozen fabric eggs for a few days at least ;)

Are you sewing for Easter?  How do you handle distributing gifts at school when someone will miss out?

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