A mat and some strawberries

We have been a sick household this last week, all four of us have had this annoying cold. My sewing room has not progressed much as a result. I am getting quite impatient for my own space, so to satisfy that need to some degree I joined a sew-along run by Ros from Sew Delicious, and made a quilted mat for my sewing machine. One little step closer to my dream sewing space.

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I used Fig Tree fabrics, except one square which is Lecien (the square with the embroidery on it). The backing fabric is tiny little white dots on beige. You know me, any excuse to add a little hand embroidery, so I stitched on some sewing icons. I pieced my quilt top by butting the seams, and kept the quilting simple - just straight lines on either side of the seam using my presser foot as the guide.

I was a little petrified about making my own binding and machine stitching it, but it was easier than I thought it would be.

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For the binding I used Sew Delicious' tutorial, and also these two other tutorials have been very helpful (as I am one of those people who can't possibly try something new until I have read 17 tutorials on the subject first). Diary of a Quilter's binding tutorial was great for the mitreing of corners, and Red Pepper Quilts' tutorial shows you how to make a continuous cross-grain binding (with diagonal seams) and how to machine stitch it.

It's not too late to join the sew-along, it consists of a tutorial in three parts and only takes a couple of hours. It's suitable for beginner quilters with clear photos and instructions, and quite a simple project overall (especially if you use shop-bought bias binding). Ros also has a fantastic tutorial to make a sewing machine cover - I simply NEED to make one to match my new mat soon.

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Did you spot the strawberries? All my favourite bloggers have been making them recently - I simply had to join in (see the ones made by Amy from Nana Company, Kristyne from Pretty By Hand, and Sandra from Cherry Heart here, here and here). They are so, well, me, and wonderfully satisfying (and quick) to make. I never seem to have a pincushion nearby when I need one, so these will be spread all over my working space.

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I don't think I will be able to stop making them now. I finally found a great use for scraps of my favourite fabrics (that I can't bring myself to discard). They can be immortalised in pincushion form. So I will probably end up with a collection of hundreds of them!

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In love with apricot

I have a big crush on apricot shades right now. It all started with this crochet hat.

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The crochet pattern is by Stitchykits. I found the gauge quite hard to get right so I had to improvise a bit, but it turned out OK I think. I love it, the only drawback is getting stopped all the time by people wanting to know where I got the hat from (I really should start carrying some business cards with me!)

Then my good friend Lauren gave me free rein to design a new floral bib for her friend's baby. I may have squealed a little.  Perfect for these apricot and cream fabrics I had in my stash for a while. From top to bottom, the floral fabrics are: Le Petit Jardin by Lecien, Strawberry Fields by Fig Tree, and the bottom one came from Cottonholic on Etsy (not sure who the designer is, as nothing is printed on the selvedge, but I am pretty sure it's Japanese).

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Those who follow me on Facebook may remember that I ordered a big batch of Fig Tree fabrics recently (OK I went a bit nuts). I love their fabric ranges so much but they sell out so quickly! I got three layer cakes (Tapestry, Butterscotch & Rose, and Buttercup), a fat quarter bundle of their latest line Avalon (swoon!), and some yardage of their old lines Strawberry Fields and California Girl, which are becoming increasingly hard to find.

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There will be a quilt made from these some day soon, and perhaps a cushion or two. However to begin with I am making this quilted mat to go under my sewing machine, as part of a sew-along run by Sew Delicious. Here are my 5 inch squares all cut and ready to be pieced together! After the mat I am also going to make a matching cover for my sewing machine.

Back soon with my finished mat!

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New sewing room

I have been resisting it for a long time. Converting our guest bedroom into a craft room for me that is. I used to have my own room until I got pregnant with Alice, and we converted it into a nursery for her (I blogged about that previously here). Since then I have been doing all my sewing on the dining table in our family room. After eight months of this both me and my husband are fed up with the mess, and it is a total pain having all my fabric and craft supplies in a cupboard upstairs, and having to go up and down the stairs twenty times a day for stuff.

This is the room that will be my new sewing room, as it looks now. We were going to take the bed out, but for now we just pushed it under the window. Depending on how cramped the room gets it may or may not stay there. I actually like the idea of having a bed in there - I can put my feet up whilst crocheting or embroidering. It's not a big room, so there is just enough space for a desk and a cabinet in that empty space to the left of the bed. And that's all I need for the time being.


For planning inspiration, I pinned some fantastic sewing rooms onto my Craft Room board on Pinterest. How amazing would it be to have a studio like these to create in. I especially love that red polka dot armchair, I want one!


Having limited space and a small budget, these will remain a dream for the time being, so this is what I am planning instead. A free standing cabinet with glass doors (I am fussy about keeping my fabric and yarn dust-free), and a pegboard above the desk to organise all my tools. A drawer unit under the desk for my packaging supplies. Some glass fronted kitchen cabinets would be perfect above the desk, though probably not immediately, I think I will just put a shelf up there to begin with, and add the cabinets at a later stage.

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(links to all original images on my Pinterest board here)

So we are off to Ikea this weekend to get the furniture (where else!). In the meantime, I have been organising my trims and ribbons. I roll my ribbon onto wooden pegs (another Pinterest idea). It keeps them tidy, and I use the peg to clamp the end of the ribbon, so no pins are required (which is handy - as I like to stick my hand into the jar to fish out ribbons).

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For the trims, I found some delicate glass jars in Spotlight, with bird handles. The ribbons I keep in a large glass jar, which I am especially pleased with as it didn't cost me a penny. It consists of a large glass vase that I had for ages (but almost never used), which I coupled with the lid of a very large apothecary jar that our cat broke a few months ago. Somehow the lid survived the fall and it fits the vase perfectly!

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Back with 'after' shots of the sewing room in a few weeks!

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Happy Mother's Day

Today I am celebrating my third Mother's Day as a mum. It's quite surreal. I still get these moments of sudden dawning realisation that I am, actually, SOMEONE'S MOTHER. I gave birth to two absolutely perfect little people, who are growing and learning new things in front of my eyes every day. I am so proud to be their mum. I think I am going to do nothing special today, and will just spend it with my gorgeous little family. What can be more 'special' than that?

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I wasn't going to make anything for Mother's Day as I have been literally submerged under an avalanche of shop orders. Then a few mornings ago I was reading something at 6am and saw the words 'Love without reason lasts the longest'. It reminded me instantly of a mother's love - totally unconditional and everlasting. And this embroidery idea just popped into my head. By 8am I had designed the embroidery on the computer, started stitching that night, and it was finished the next day. Gotta love a quick project! And I confess it was refreshing to do a 'grown up' project for a change, something to hang on the wall of my new craft room perhaps (more on that later).

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So I am sending lots of love to all mothers around the world, and especially my own mum. Hope you all get pampered and spoilt today, and have a beautiful day. Here is a little card and some flowers for you all.

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(Link to all flower images here)

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Tutorial: 'Love Without Reason' embroidery

I designed and made this embroidery for Mother's Day this year. A mother's love knows no bounds, it truly is 'love without reason'.  I am so pleased with how it came out, exactly what I had envisaged in my mind's eye. The design itself is very simple, with only four basic embroidery stitches, so even beginners should have little trouble with it.

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Love Without Reason embroidery
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You will need:
- The pattern (download it as a PDF and print it to A4)
- 20cm embroidery hoop
- 30cm square of fabric of your choice
- Pilot Frixion or other fabric tracing pen
- Embroidery thread in any colour you like
- Embroidery needle
- Two felt discs the same size as the inner hoop


1. Trace the pattern onto your fabric. You can refer to my tutorial 'Tracing an embroidery pattern' for this.
2. Stretch the fabric onto the hoop, making sure the tightening knob is on top.

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3. There is no particular order to the embroidery of the elements, you can do it in any order you wish. The only exception to this are the yellow buds - embroider those first before adding the green stalks.

Here is a quick guide for each element, with links to video tutorials for the stitches from Mary Corbet's Needle 'N Thread (my online embroidery bible). Seasoned embroiderers will know these all by heart. Beginners - have a go, all the stitches used here are beginner-friendly and while some (like the french knot and satin stitch) may take a little practice to get 'perfect', you will be surprised at how easy they are.

Yellow buds - 1 strand - satin stitch
Flowers - 2 strands - lazy daisy petals and french knot centre. I used four different colours for the flowers, a pale blush pink, a darker bricky pink, orange, and aqua.
Leaves & stalks - 2 strands for the outline, 1 strand for the central vein of leaves - back stitch
Text - 2 strands - back stitch (an extra row of back stitch for the thicker parts)

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4. To finish, you need to tidy up the back of the embroidery. Cut the fabric in a circle 4cm wider than the hoop. Put a felt disc inside the hoop. Cut a piece of thread 10cm longer than the circumference of the hoop. Knot at one end, then do regular stitches of the same length all the way around the hoop. Tighten the thread to achieve a 'yo-yo' effect with the fabric, and secure the loose end with a knot. Put the second piece of felt on top and stitch it onto the fabric all the way around with a blanket stitch.  (Or you can glue a piece of cardboard onto the back edge of the wooden frame. I have a mortal fear of using glue around fabric, as I tend to make a huge mess, but you may be braver than me!).

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5. If you have used a Pilot Frixion pen to trace the pattern, give the embroidery a quick blast with a hair drier or steam it with a steam iron (without touching the embroidery) to remove any pen marks still visible. And your embroidery is ready to hang!

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Stocked up

Two bundles of fabric arrived in the post this week. One for the shop, and one for my personal stash. A lot of fabrics in the shop had sold out, so it was time to replenish, and also to get some new designs in.

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There are new fabrics for both boys and girls. I adore the one on top - it's a Riley Blake print called 'Fly a Kite'. Cute!

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There is also a whole bunch of Tasha Noel fabrics. I replenished my dwindling stock of her old line 'The Simple Life' - very popular with my customers, so several prints had sold out. I also got my hands on some of her new fabric line 'Little Red'. I like the way her fabrics coordinate so well with each other.

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The other parcel had some Fig Tree layer cakes for my personal stash, but I will share those with you later. I went a bit nuts fabric shopping, I confess! And not just fabrics, notions too. Just look at these adorable lace-edged bias tape that arrived this morning, and these wooden buttons. Apple and teddy bear buttons! (Love.) No idea what they will be used for yet, but I am sure they will be perfect for a project some day. If I like something I like to get it there and then (especially if it is on sale). Most of the time I have absolutely no idea what I am going to do with it. However there is nothing I hate more than going back to order a particular fabric or a trim, only to find out that they have sold out or been discontinued. I end up kicking myself then.

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Things have been a bit slow on the project front, as I am still up to my ears in shop orders. In the little spare time I get from those (and my two hooligans) I have been working on the clamshell blanket and also started an embroidery for Mother's Day. It is my own design and the pattern will be coming in the next post.

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Until then - have a lovely crafty day!

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