an early christmas present … or two!

There are some new additions to my sewing room thanks to a couple of early Christmas presents …

ribbon holder1

My ever resourceful Dad made the wonderful ribbon holder for me, which I absolutely love! (that goes for the ribbon holder and my Dad by the way 🙂 ).

I was going to wait until I had painted it before I showed you, but I just couldn’t wait! Isn’t it fab?

ribbon holder2

And my lovely Mum (who knows me only too well) gave me this fun little plaque for my wall

sewing forever wall plaque

* feeling blessed*

Who needs Santa? 😀 x

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it’s a giveaway!

I promised you something a little bit lovely as a giveaway prize and I hope this wee offering fulfills that promise.

Set1

You wouldn’t believe it, but I have completely trashed my sewing room putting together that wee bit o’ nonsense. My husband entered my sewing room during my “creative phase” and gave me *that* look. You know the one; complete disbelief mixed with a slight suspicion of some kind of hidden mental illness. Mania perhaps?

“Do you really need to empty all this stuff on to the floor every time?” and “How can you find anything in all this mess?” was what he said, or words to that effect. He was genuinely perplexed, bless him.

Good questions.

Why do I do that? Every time.

scissors

supplies

Almost every other creative person I know does the same. You get a whiff of an idea and every piece of fabric, thread, button, lace, ribbon, felt etc that you own gets pulled out and examined for worthiness of inclusion in your current project. You can lose track of all earthly time and find yourself still in your jim-jams and furry slippers at 2.30 in the afternoon. Shocking!

Furry slippers and jim-jams

I had gone into Hobbycraft last week looking for something or other (can’t remember what?) and I came out, not with the thing I went in for, but with some beautiful Tilda fabric.

Sound like a familiar story? Are you kidding me, I know you guys do that kinda thing too 🙂

Tilda fabric

After much fabric stroking and fretting over the actual cutting up of such a thing of beauty, I finally convinced myself that it was the right thing to do. After all, it’s what the fabric would have wanted, right?

in progress

And with my Facebook page reaching a wee personal milestone of 2000 followers (I know! can you catch your breath!), I thought it timely to host a little giveaway to say ‘thanks’ for keeping me company all this time 

So, here it is … a pretty wee pouch for one lucky reader. Well worth getting my sewing room all messed up for 🙂

pouch5

The pouch is padded with cotton wadding for extra softness. A wee bit of lace and a few other carefully chosen embellishments help to create a delicate, feminine look that I just love!

Close up heart tag

pouch side on

The little suffolk puff has a brooch pin sewn on to the back of it, which allows you to detach it from the pouch, so you can pin it on to something else if you like. Nifty!

close up suffolk puff

Close up brooch on leaf

And whilst I was on a roll, I made a wee lavender sachet to match which I’ll include in the prize

Lavender sachet

Set from above 4

For a chance to win, here’s all you need to do:

  • be a follower of this blog by subscribing to email (click the box in the top right of the home page) or Bloglovin (or some other means!) and leave a comment below telling me which way you are following along. If you are a no-reply blogger, be sure to leave me an email address so I can contact you if you win 🙂
  • for a second chance to win pop over to my Facebook page and follow the instructions on the giveaway post pinned to the top of the page

That’s it!  The giveaway is open until 24th October 2013 at midnight, GMT, after which time a winner will be picked at random from all entries here and on Facebook. The winner will be announced on Friday 25th October 2013.

Good luck everyone and thank you for entering!

Natalie x

Edit: This giveaway is now closed, but you can purchase the pattern for the little zippered purse featured in this giveaway here.

The pattern for this vintage-style zippered pouch is available in my Etsy pattern shop

button love

Buttons6

I don’t know what it is about buttons that makes me want to squirrel them away for a rainy day. I’ve always had a fascination with them – I can’t throw them away, so I cut the spare ones off new clothes – you know, the ones that are sewn to the care label – and I save them in my button bag (is any of this making me sound crazy?!!).  Ironically, I don’t think I’ve ever had to use one of these ‘spare’ buttons, but I always keep them ‘just in case’.

Buttons7

I use buttons quite a bit in my sewing though, so it’s not like they don’t serve a useful purpose 🙂  

Tiny buttons used as flower centres

Tiny buttons used as flower centres

 I like to use them in fun and decorative ways and am always on the look out for unusual or cute buttons.

Buttons2

I spent a couple of hours in my sewing room the other day,  just organizing my button collection. I sorted them all into colours and then placed them in cute little jars that I came across at IKEA.  They are supposed to be spice jars, but what the heck! I use them for buttons!  The jars have a wonderful pot-bellied shape and aren’t too big, which I like.

Buttons5

Even with all these buttons, I still buy more any chance I get!  I mean, just look at these little beauties – who could resist those?

buttons

I featured a little button pouch on my face book page recently and promised to do a tutorial to show you just how easy it is to make one.

Buttonsy

Buttons4

Buttons12

Embroidery and buttons

I promise to write up the tutorial for the little button bag in a day or two, so pop back often – you won’t want to miss it!

In the meantime, have fun and happy stitching!

mother’s day gifts

I have been wondering what to make with my stack of Suffolk Puffs

Stack of suffolk puffs - sewing room secrets

And, with Mother’s Day just around the corner, I really wanted to use them in a pretty way to make a gift for my Mum.  I had already purchased some delightful novelty pins from Teeny Tiny Vintage (trust me, her pins are even more gorgeous in real life!), but I wanted to give my Mum something else that I had made with my own two hands.

Pins

So ……  I began my usual ritual of ransacking my sewing room, trying to find inspiration from my stash of pretty fabrics, buttons, ribbons, lace and the like.

image

For a while, I drew a blank, but then ‘it’ happened.  You know that moment when you get a picture in your head of ‘it’ – the thing you want to make – and suddenly you become even more frantic in your search for that ‘perfect piece of fabric’.  “I’ll know it when I see it” says the voice in your head and, sure enough, the exact fabric you need turns up… eventually.

image

Amidst the mess that was once my tidy sewing room, I have managed to sew a cute wee zipper pouch and two lavender scented sachets.  All in all, I’m really happy with my efforts. All that’s left for me to do is to package it all up in a pretty ribbon, ready for Mother’s Day (after I’ve put my sewing room back together that is :))

Mother's day gifts from sewing room secrets

Mother's day gifts from sewing room secrets

Mother's day gifts from sewing room secrets

Happy Mother’s Day everyone! x

time to just be me

One of my favourite designers, the talented Kate Popovski (aka LiliPopo), has just released a new embroidery pattern and my copy arrived last week.  I have been itching to get going with it, but there was always something else to do and I’ve not managed to find the time.

Today, with the March sun streaming through an open window, I managed to sit down in my sewing room, just me, and stitch for a few glorious hours. 

lilipopo in progress

Oh! there are few things more satisfying than those precious moments when nothing else requires your attention, other than the needle and thread in your hand and making sure there is tea in the pot!

lilipopo in progress2

I love combining appliqué with embroidery and have done so to great effect in many of my own projects, but I think that these little LiliPopo designs are perfect to showcase just how effective this technique can be.

My glasses case

ipad2

I shall need to carve myself out some sewing time next week in order to make a Mother’s Day gift.  I have some Suffolk Puffs lying around somewhere; I’m sure I can rustle up something lovely with those 😉

First though, I shall need to post this wee glasses case to my aunt in Northern Ireland.

Aunt Hilary's glasses case3

I just love days like today, when you can while away the hours just sewing, nothing else, just that.  Bliss x

quilters block

I’ve had a patchwork quilt top lying around for about four months just begging to be finished and quilted, but I’ve not managed to get beyond sewing all the blocks together. The reason for the halt in proceedings is one that has temporarily sabotaged many of the quilts I have made so far. I’m a ditherer, you see, when it comes to deciding on what to do about the borders. Is it just me or do you struggle with borders too?

I seem to get ‘quilters block’ and the quilt top languishes at the back of the cupboard like some forgotten relic.  Strangely, when I leave it alone for a wee while, an idea will often come out of the blue and, suddenly, I know exactly what to do and all is well again.

This ‘Turning Twenty’ quilt top was made at my monthly sewing group.  A quilting friend had used these colours in a lap quilt and I fell in love with them straight away! Aren’t they pretty?

image

There were some scraps left over from cutting out the blocks, so I sewed them all together in one long strip

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and this is what the border looks like

Border on turning twenty quilt

Border on turning twenty quilt

I’m kind of excited about the backing I’ve chosen for this quilt.  Excited and nervous at the same time, actually.  Excited, because it is a sort of soft, minky type of material which I think will be deliciously cozy!! And nervous, because I have absolutely no experience of sewing with this type of fabric and it looks like it might be a little bit tricky to quilt!

image

505 spray

Temporary fabric adhesive spray

I’m going to take the finished top and the backing along to my sewing group next week, when I’ll be trying out a temporary spray adhesive that my quilting friends have said works really well and means there is no need for basting. No basting? Sounds fab!

I love having such generous friends who share all their time saving tips!

Then, once the backing is on,  all that’s left to do is the quilting.  Yikes!

Have a lovely weekend everyone and happy stitching!

camper van iPad sleeve

Have you noticed the sudden return in popularity of the VW camper van?  With all the ‘vintage love’ around, the iconic old camper van is popping up all over the place! Some people are even getting married in them!

I was in town a few weeks ago with a good friend and we stumbled upon a great little shop selling all kinds of vintage memorabilia.  I just couldn’t resist buying this piece of metallic wall art  for my sewing room wall.  I can’t help but smile when I look at it.  It’s just too cute!

my happy little campervan

my happy little camper van

My friend’s cousin has just got a new iPad and I know she’s just crazy about camper vans, so I have been working on a camper van themed iPad sleeve for her.  This is how it has turned out ……

Campervan iPad sleeve

Campervan detail

Her name is Emily but everyone shortens it to Em, so I have embroidered ‘Em’ on the flap to personalize it. I really hope she likes it! Monogram on iPad flap Happy stitching folks!

born to sew but forced to work!

Woke up this morning to a very wintry scene! The perfect day to snuggle up under a patchwork quilt and do some hand stitching.

Snow Feb 2013

But, alas, I will have to leave my cozy sewing room and get myself to work!

Mug rug1

This is my new mug rug for work – says it all really!

dull women have immaculate sewing rooms

It’s hard to believe that I’m actually writing my first post! I am so excited to have finally set up my blog, which I hope will allow me to share a few tips and tricks as well as free tutorials for cute little projects. It’s amazing to know that there are so many of us sewing-obsessed lovelies out there, itching to learn new things and share our sewing room secrets!

For many years, before we moved to our present home, I used to have to do what a lot of other keen stitchers do. I would drag out the sewing machine and all my ‘stuff’ from the cupboard and set up shop on the kitchen table. I would just be getting totally engrossed when someone would ask ‘What’s for tea?’ and the whole lot would have to be packed away to make room for the family mealtime!

These days, I am fortunate enough to have my own sewing room. Ah! What a blessing it is! It is a wonderful space that I can retreat to and sew in peace and quiet. The best thing is, I can just close the door at night and leave everything out ready to pick up where I left off the next day.

image

Most of the time my sewing room is fairly organized; my fabric stash, patterns, notions, magazines, and other materials are all neatly filed and folded. And then I get an idea. That’s all it takes. Just one idea, to make my sewing room look like a bomb has hit it – fabric everywhere, ends of threads clinging to my clothing, ribbon, buttons, pins and needles covering every inch of my sewing table. It’s just about this time that my husband usually enters, as I emerge from beneath a mound of material. He doesn’t say anything, but I can tell that he thinks I’ve lost the plot! These days, I warn him to enter at his peril by hanging this little pillow outside the door.

pillow: sewing room secrets

I rather think that I have rambled on a little too much for my first post (note to self – try to make posts a little shorter), so I will sign off for now. I’ll upload a free PDF pattern for the little pillow in a while – come back soon! Happy stitching!