'Little Traveller' Blog Hop

Hi friends! It's my turn today on the blog hop for Simone Gooding's new book, 'Little Traveller', published by Tuva Publishing. This darling book is out now at most retailers!

Simone is a felt artist and graphic designer whose work I have admired for so long... So imagine my excitement when I heard she was writing a book for my own publishers Tuva - I just knew it would be incredible, and boy was I right. This is one of those rare books you can't just flick through just once. Off-the-scale adorable projects, immaculate photography and illustrations, and all the design details make this book the 'must buy' book of the year for anyone who enjoys working with felt and/or sewing cute softies.

For this blog hop I made two sweet projects from the book. Meet Twig and Daisy - they are off to the woods to gather acorns (well OK, not the woods but my dining table, cause it was too windy outside for the photos! :-D). Cutest!

I just love the detailing of these dolls - Twig's snug cape, the home made basket and the acorns, Daisy's braids and accessories... A lot of the projects in the book have little sewn or knitted accessories - such as a scarf, or a satchel, or a little basket like in this project. Alas I can't knit so I had to improvise and crochet the basket and acorns - I think they came out OK.

For my projects I used beautiful 100% wool felt from Winterwood - who are Simone's own preferred felt supplier. This felt is beautifully soft and has great strength so that it doesn't disintegrate at the seams (the dolls are stitched with a tiny 3mm seam so cheap felt would just fall apart during stuffing).

And here are a few of the other projects from the book that caught my eye! Just in case you needed more convincing to order your copy today. #enabler #sorrynotsorry

Thank you dear friends for visiting today, and thank you Simone for inviting me to join your blog hop. Here are the other makers taking part so please check out their creations on Instagram if you are intrigued and would like to see more!

15th March – Simone Gooding (@simone_gooding)
16th March – Winterwood (@winterwoodcraft)
17th March – Kerri Horsley (@sewdeerlyloved)
18th March – Shelly Down (@gingermelongirl)
19th March – Mimi Kirchner (@mimikirchner)
20th March – Lauren Wright (@mollyandmama)
21st March – Anne Sutton (@bunnyhilldesigns)
22nd March – Jennifer Goldsmith (@frazzydazzles)
23rd March – Manuela Trani (@nuvolinahandmade)
24th March – Jess Cunningham (@pastyourporchlight)
25th March – Simone Gooding (@simone_gooding)
26th March – Jo Molony (@deerdarlingdolls)
27th March – Minki Kim (@zeriano)
28th March – Jooles Hill (@sewsweetviolet)
29th March – Sedef Imer (@downgrapevinelane)
30th March – Ayda Algin (@cafenohut)
31st March – Katy Livings (@katylivings)
1st April – Jodie Carlton (@jodiericrac)
2nd April – Melinda Hume (@mooseandbird)
3rd April – Simone Gooding (@simone_gooding)

Introducing 'Summer Blush'

Hi dear friends - I'm so thrilled to finally be able to share a little peek of my next fabric collection for Riley Blake Designs, called 'Summer Blush' which is coming out this summer (northern hemisphere timezone).

This line very much follows on from my previous collection, 'Sweet Prairie' and is specifically designed to coordinate well with it both in terms of scale of prints and the color palette, introducing fresh greens, peach, apricot, and watermelon hues to the color spectrum. My love of all things floral is still evident with four different floral prints featured in the line - balanced with great blenders. And yes your eyes don't deceive you - bias stripes are back!

Summer Blush will be available in stores from August 2018 - I will share the full collection nearer the time. Pre-sales are in full swing already, so if you are a shop owner and would like to stock it contact me for more info or get in touch with your local Riley Blake distributor.

Zakka Totes

I blinked and January is gone! The last few weeks of summer school holidays went by in a happy blur of parties, beach, play dates, pool, and family time. Not much sewing got done - but we made progress with the chicken coop - also known as 'Cluckingham Palace' - we are finally on the home stretch with it now. We also redecorated the kids' bedrooms, and got them new furniture, wall art, and accessories. Our little boy and girl are growing up so fast and it was time to update their room decors, and get rid of all the 'baby' stuff. Out with the old, in with the new - everything is organised, clean, and free of clutter! Feels so good.

School went back last week, so I'm back at work now, busy on my new book and a new fabric collection. But I found some time to finish the scrappy tote I started back in January - a gift for Alice's best friend. Of course, Alice demanded an identical one herself, so they could go around like twinsies. I added little tags with their initials to the bags so they don't get mixed up.

The style of these totes is very much early Nana Company - fabric designer Amy Sinibaldi's gorgeous blog which is one of my all time faves. A very 'zakka' look with lots of linen and pretty florals, and sweet little touches such as hand quilting on the panels, and linen patches.  I didn't use a pattern - used the same method as a tote I made last year (essentially a simple box bottomed bag) but added a pocket to the front.

A while ago I mentioned that I was planning to have a quilting studio built in the grounds of our property. I may still do that some day, but I got quite fond of my sewing room in the house and hubby and I would like to have the property landscaped first and have a custom library installed, like we both always wanted (priorities, people!). Which means I will be making alterations to my current sewing room instead, to make it work better as a dedicated sewing and design space. More decorating fun for me to come! For starters I need more shelving - much, much more shelving. Because, honestly, I don't think I can fit another fat quarter into my cupboards. You all know I'm a self confessed fabric addict, but I think I may have a slight 'problem' when it comes to notions too (as I found out when I was looking for something the other day). I can't help myself - I love vintage style notions, pretty buttons, lace, cotton trim, cute wooden boxes, scissors, vintage thread spools...the list goes on. I know I shouldn't keep adding to my collection, but look, aren't they pretty? I just know there are kindred spirits out there who will totally understand where I'm coming from. Having said that, I think a major destash is way, way overdue too!

Until later, when I will be back to show you my newest collection for Riley Blake designs, which is coming out in just a few months! What a thrill!

Hello 2018

Happy new year everyone! I hope 2018 brings you good health and happiness, and everything you ever wished for. I've had a lovely Christmas break with the family and am still in holiday mode this week, truth be told. We are doing a major spring clean at the moment - decluttering the house and garage, sorting out the kids' rooms, and a big tidy up in my sewing room. We still had unopened boxes since we moved house in April! We did a major cull amongst the kids' toys and clothes (they outgrow both so fast) and have thrown out heaps of junk and filled several boxes with clothes and toys to donate. I really think clutter and mess in one's living space is a reflection of one's state of mind so it feels incredibly cleansing and therapeutic to get rid of it all.

I was especially shocked to see how much space is taken up in my sewing room by all my UFOs so I'm going to make it a mission this year to finish them. Starting with this cot quilt and cushion set I made for a dear friend's new baby - I started it in our old house when my friend was still pregnant (*blush*). The house move got in the way, (and then, you know, life), but I'm so happy that it's finally finished and being enjoyed by an adorable little lady.

The lovely fabric I used is Lauren Nash's first collection for Riley Blake Designs, called 'Bunnies & Cream'. I adore the soft pastel colours - and the bunnies & strawberries are so stinkin' cute. It's still available in stores if you wanted to get your hands on some. It's perfect for fussy cutting and hexies!

The sweet doll and bunny in the photos are alas not hand-made (mentioning as I have used them before in blog posts and always get questions about them and requests for a pattern). They are from British retailer Mamas & Papas from a few years back - the rag doll is called 'Famiglia' and the bunny is from their 'Millie & Boris' collection.  You may get lucky if you search for them on ebay.

I gave myself some time off our decluttering mission yesterday to start a tote for another special little lady - I am winging this one without a pattern and kinda still suck at bag making so I hope it comes out OK! Here's the panel I made with some precious fabric scraps which if all goes according to plan, will turn into a pocket at the front of the tote. I love some of these fabrics so much I decided to hand quilt the panel so I could savour the pretty designs. Seriously, I love fabric so much, I think I may need help! Anyone else in the same boat?

See you very soon I hope, with pictures of the finished tote. If I don't ruin it!

*** EDIT: The pattern for the Bunnies & Cream quilt is now available in my Etsy shop ***

Happy Holidays + Zakka Cushion

Hi friends! Hope you all had a great Christmas with your nearest and dearest, and enjoying a happy and relaxing holiday week. Christmas was such a lovely day at our home - I made our first Christmas ham (with maple syrup and orange glaze - yummm). It came out of the oven looking so scrumptious and we were all so very hungry that I completely forgot to take a photo!! It was incredibly delicious, even if I say so myself. On Boxing Day we were joined by friends and their kids for a 'left-overs' party. It was a pretty hot day (34C) so we set up gazebos by the pool side, playing water games, cooking sausages on the barbie, and enjoying ice cold drinks. Great times.

Now for some selfish sewing! This year has been a really great year for me and Down Grapevine Lane - I’ve been so busy on the ‘business’ side of things - illustrating two new fabric lines, working on my new book, launching my quilt pattern series, sewing magazine commissions, collaborations, and so on and so forth. But a few weeks ago I realised I don’t sew for pleasure anymore! And the never ending quest to come up with something ‘original’. You know what? I just made this simple square patchwork scrappy cushion 'just because' - and it felt so good!

I wavy quilted the cushion front in Aurifil Pink 2410 (50wt), added a sweet little Zakka tag, and bound with bias gingham. So pleased with how it looks on my sofa in our living room.

Wishing you all a lovely holiday season and happy and healthy new year in 2018. The wreath in this image is a free embroidery pattern from my Tutorials section - you can download it here. Happy Holidays!

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