Wednesday, 16 August 2017

Making progress ........

but not a lot.  It's been one of those weeks when I feel like I've spent so much time in my sewing room, but I haven't much to show for it.  Do you ever get weeks like that?  Of course it doesn't help that I'm still in my 'let's see how many mistakes I can make in this block' phase but It's a phase, I'm sure I'll grow out of it sooner or later.  So what did I do make?

First of all I corrected the mistake I made in the Stash Bee block,


much better, although I know a few of you liked the first one.  Sorry, I had forgot to take a pic and had to take it out of the envelope so it has fold lines, I cropped the pic so you are missing the corners, they are there, promise.   I still haven't posted it on the Stash Bee blog yet either, but both will be done by tomorrow.

Then it was time for Gypsy, oh I am so enjoying the sew along, in fact I am even having a forage into the dark side (Instagram).   I'm not sure what I'm doing over there, I can add pics now and I can click to like pics, hey, I even learned to do a hashtag, but I don't know how to find posts I've seen before and want to go back to and commenting is a learning curve I haven't quite figured out yet.  Commenting is a different world compared to blogland, no-one says much, as you can imagine that is so difficult for me.

I digress, here is my latest Gypsy block, From the Heart.


Now this is the one I'm not sure of, not because I don't like it, it's the shade, it's a little different to the rest of my fabrics, however I'm going with it and I'm planning to add a bit more in a couple of the filler blocks.  This was also the block that cause me the most trouble, my own fault initially, I used a directional fabric for the background.  I knew I would end up making extra blocks so it went the way I wanted it to, that was fine, but I just couldn't get them ALL to go the way I wanted, and in the end I scrapped it and started again, so it was nearly a blue heart.  THEN those little hourglass blocks gave me no end of trouble, I think it was down to the size, they are so small, it's only a six inch block and the seams were so bulky.  But, tis done now and I'm happy with it, but I don't want to make it again, not just now anyway.

Do you want to see next weeks?  Ok then


This is Hope of Hartford, a 7 inch block which as you can see has partial seams.  Now I haven't really done much with partial seams before but they are quite straightforward and nothing to be scared of, although I did learn two things, firstly make sure you add the correct side of the block as you go around, I added the outside of the second block, you can see where i unpicked it on the edge, and second, when it's such a small central square only leave an inch undone when first adding it, I left myself very little room to manoeuvre.

So, what do you think of these new additions?  Someone on the Facebook page commented I was very brave with my colour combinations, brave or foolhardy?  I'm fed up playing it safe, this is my wild quilt and they say fortune favours the brave, so I'm going for it.

I was so sad last week, Festival of Quilts was on and I wasn't there.  I had thought of going and planned to go, but then I thought we were going away, but we couldn't get booked up and we didn't and I ended up at home crying into my fabric, sad...........  So I consoled myself by going SHOPPING!!!  Well I treated myself to some more fabric for Gypsy by way of consolation, which was a lot cheaper than train fares and entry fees to the NEC, even considering I would have stayed with my daughter who lives about 20 miles away.

AND, guess what the postman brought me about half an hour ago?


My shopping.  You can tell from the packaging it has nice contents.  The Postie didn't bring the note book of course, that was a little surprise from Janice a few months ago when she sent my mini, Chicken Poop, that's the name she gave my mini and if you are fairly new here I'm not kidding, have you ever been given anything called Chicken Poop?  If you want to see it and read about our swap you can find Janice post here at Color, Creating & Quilting and my mini for Janice HERE.  Then let me know what you think.

Oh, you want to know what was in the parcel?


This little lot.  After studying my colours for Gypsy I decided I needed more green and red, some lighter shades, and some darker ones to give me more contrast.  Yes I know there is no red but I couldn't get any pillar box red and I didn't want pinky red or orangey red.  So, I just went through the different colours and chose what I liked, I have more green, I have dark and pale shades, and I think they will bring more contrast, and I love a bit of contrast.  Nice little haul is it not?

This week I have a bit of a quandary, it's my sewing group on Saturday (no we still haven't managed to book a few days away, have you seen the price of some of the cottages?) the question is what do I take?  I decided last time I wasn't going to take my machine again, I'm struggling to lift it in and out of the car, what I would really like is a vintage Singer Featherweight, the earlier ones only weigh 1.2 lbs apparently, although that won't include the box I don't think, and Margaret from margiestitcher takes hers to class on the bus!!!  Brave woman.  But have you seen the price of them now?  I would have to have one that was in good working order, I know my limitations, but I'm just not prepared to pay several hundreds of pounds for one.

So, what do I take with me to my group?  I didn't want to start another project but there is no other option, but what should I start?  My thoughts are running to either orange peel or circles (no I haven't finished it yet, it still needs the FMQ and binding) using appliqué.  It will be scrappy, I have plenty of low volume fabric and I was thinking of maybe a rainbow, or perhaps on a dark blue, I have some of that too, any thoughts?  I was set on orange peel initially but more and more I'm leaning to circles, they just go round and round in my head............

So that's been my week, well, I have another Gypsy block or two but I'm saving them so you will just have to wait hehe!

Edit
I just HAVE to tell you, I've been featured again, that's twice in two weeks, this time it's at Wednesday Wait Loss if you would like to read about it.  I feel so honoured, thank you Jennifer.

Until next time,
With smiles from,
Kate x

Linking up with:
Midweek Makers
Let's Bee Social
Wednesday Wait Loss
Can I Get a Whoop Whoop?
A Quarter Inch from the Edge hosting for TGIFF
Finished or Not Friday

Wednesday, 9 August 2017

I've made....

the most ridiculous mistakes this week, honestly you wouldn't believe how stupid I can be at times.  Well, maybe you can.............

But first how about I show you something I didn't make a mistake on?


Colourwheel, the first block in Gypsy Wife.  I am so happy with the way it came together and the beautiful vibrant fabrics on the lovely Carolyn Friedlander background.  Sigh........ I could look at this all day.  When you examine it it is just half square and three-quarter square triangles which I made as such rather than piecing together triangles, I do have some left but I may well be able to use them further on in the quilt, and if I can't then they will go into a box towards a scrappy improv quilt.  Now if I was being really picky I would criticise two of my joins which are off by a minuscule amount, but I'm not so I won't.

The next block is Perishing reputed to be the most difficult in the quilt, I'll tell you how I get on next week.  If you have always wanted to make Gypsy Wife the quilt along has just started so it's not too late to join in, you can find details on the Gnome Angel blog here, including links to Instagram and the Facebook page.

I thought I would make my bee blocks this week and get them posted, I was much later than normal last month and I wasn't happy about it.  I don't like leaving things to the last minute, especially when it is a commitment I have made and people are waiting for me to fulfil it.  Now that's where the trouble started.

The first one I made was from........


Dog Gone Cute.  The block is from a quilt along and designed by the lovely and very generous Lorna from Sew Fresh Quilts, Lorna makes the most beautiful quilts many on animal themes, and you can find several free patterns on her blog.  If you haven't visited Lorna's blog before I strongly suggest you pop over and have a look around, I'd be surprised if you didn't find something you like.

This block was made for Ann one of my bee mates in our own special bee Bee Inspired, Ann has a great blog too,  Brown Paws Quilting.   Ann has just finished a wonderful sampler, if you have time you could pop over, say hello and check it out.

Now about those mistakes, if you have a look at the block it has a centre piece where most of the fiddly stuff is, then two side pieces and a long bit across the top.  I followed the pattern and made the two side pieces then the top piece and as you can see they were quite straightforward to make,  Lorna's instructions were very clear.  Next I made the more fiddly centre, but when you analyse it it's not too bad.  So, all I had left to do was stitch on the side pieces then add the strip across the top, sounds simple they were already made, but thats when the problems started.

I stitched the sides on, one seemed a little short but the block probably just needed trimming so I added the top, but when I measured it it would have been short if I trimmed it, I must have cut the piece wrong.   I couldn't understand it but the easiest way to remedy it was just to make another piece,  no big deal.

I unpicked the top part way across, removed the faulty piece, and made another by cutting the white rectangle, adding a square in the corner and doing stitch and flip to make the triangle, trimming it, pressing it......... and then I realised the wrong side of the white was uppermost, so exasperated, and it couldn't be fixed, sad.

Out came the cutting board and I made another one, perfect, I made it a bit longer than I needed to make sure it fit, stitched it onto the side, stitched the top back on..........and realised IT WAS TOO NARROW  What??????  I had cut it 31/2 inches instead of 41/2, how had I done that?  So I had to take it all off AGAIN

Out came the cutting board, again, and I made the FOUTH one, this time I cut it extra wide and triple checked it, I also made it extra long and triple checked, surely I couldn't get it wrong again.  The relief when I didn't, I trimmed it and it was perfect.

 Here are the rejects, the first one on the left, the back to front one in the middle, and the narrow one on the right.  Lots of white scraps then.

Karen encouraged us to name our dogs this was the easy part, I haven't told you what my little one got up to last week.  When Gary came home last Thursday we went to the pub for a quick one before tea, now that is a very rare occurrence for us but it was a beautiful night and we had a lovely drive first before having a larger in the pub, then we went home to find..........


this.  It's my kitchen and what is that on the floor?   One of the curtains.........


from my lounge.   Indi, she must have pulled on it so hard the hooks came out of the curtain then she had dragged it across the floor, through the hall, and into the kitchen.  I'm not sure if her half sister Ella had anything to do with it but if there is trouble about you can bet your last dollar Indi is at the bottom of it, and no she is not a puppy she was four yesterday.

Remember this?


The cushion I made last year from the practice blocks?  Take a look at it now........


It has sat in the rocking chair for ten months until two weeks ago.   All I can say is I'm glad I had moved my snowman cushions!

So Karen, due to all the trouble dog gone cute has given me her name is Indi.

Now I'm thinking that most people reading have given up by now and gone off somewhere so I can tell you my embarrassing moment.  This is on condition you so NOT let anyone connected to Stash Bee know.

I made this months block for Monica at the weekend and it is one of the nicest blocks this year,


this is her pic from her Stash Bee post which has all her fabric details.

I particularly like the original design where the centre blocks are the same colour and I can just see it as a panel sown a modern quilt in soft greys and pinks, it is the Alpine block and you can find it at Blossom Heart Quilts here .

I made up the block from fabrics in my stash and it went together like a dream and yesterday I posted it on the Stash Bee blog, that's when it didn't go to plan.  I had posted the pic sideways.  I removed it and turned it around, upside down, I removed it again, turned it around again and posted it.  THEN I went to check it had published properly and I noticed it didn't look quite right, I couldn't put my finger on it.  I checked the original pic and realised........


I had put the sides on the wrong way!  i was mortified, and it was on the Stash Bee blog and on the world wide web for everyone to see.  I went straight back to blogger and deleted the post breathing a sigh of relief, if I hadn't spotted it just imagine the ridicule.

Next I went to check my feed on Bloglovin and........... the post was there, mortification.  Fortunately when I clicked the link it came up post not found and my luck was in, the pic on Bloglovin doesn't give any clues as to who posted it, lets just hope no one recognised the fabrics, but I will make sure I wait a couple of weeks before I repost it to make sure.  So, it looks like I got away with it because it's only you and me who know and we are not telling......... are we?

While I think on I just have to tell you that I've been featured on Midweek Makers at Quilt Fabrication today, for my sampler quilt.  I am thrilled, it is the second time Susan has featured me, I have the I've Been Featured button on my sidebar, how cool is that?

Lastly an update, my Dad is doing well and is home, it may well happen again in another six months but we will cross that bridge when we come to it, anything can happen in the meantime and today the sun has come out and I have a block to repair.

Until next time,
With smiles from,
Kate x

Linking up with:
Midweek Makers
Let's Bee Social
Wednesday Wait Loss
Needle and Thread Thursday
Can I Get a Whoop Whoop?
Quilting is more fun than Housework hosting for TGIFF
Finished or Not Friday






Thursday, 3 August 2017

I'm gobsmacked

at the number of you who have taken the time to read my posts AND sign up to follow my blog this past couple of weeks.  I know of course people who sign up to follow don't read every post but even so, WOW!!!

So, what have I been up to this week?  Well my sewing mojo is coming back, as I won't be taking my machine to class in future I decided to get some more of the six inch blocks made for my modern sampler quilt.  I have gone from 21 blocks to 30 so I'm happy with that.


What do you think?  This won't be the layout of course but I can see the colour mix when I put them all together.  I cut three strips of each fabric when I started, 11/2, 21/2, 31/2 inches, but after making some of the blocks added another two fabrics in, so I have been using those two more to catch up.  I have used most of them about the same amount but I do have an excess of the tone on tone black that looks the most solid, the off white, and the dark grey and green with the little dotted lines on.  But, as three of them are dark it's harder to use them up together so I will probably cut another 31/2 inch strip of each but give preference to the fabrics I need to use most, if that makes sense.  Do sing out if you think my colour or fabric mix is wrong though, I may have missed something.


These are the latest I made, triangles, I can't show you a pic of the other three because I had already mixed them in and I can't remember which ones they are.

Oh I didn't show you the fabrics for the Gypsy Wife quilt I'm starting did I?


What do you think?  There are a fair few from the Alison Glass Sunprints which I love, some of the fabrics are from my stash and some I bought specially.  The Carolyn Freidlander low volume ones at the front I will use as backgrounds.  All the ones at the back I have in long quarters so I can cut a couple of strips off before I start cutting into them.  Now what I need to know is are there any I should remove.  A couple of the blues are rather dark and a couple are a bit insipid, and do you think the orange one with the yellow stars is ok to use as all the others (apart from the low volume ones) are tone on tone but that one has two definite different colours.  I would love to hear what you think.  The first block is today 3rd August, if you haven't heard about it and want to join in check out Gnome Angel for the first block post which contains all the other links.

Now to tell you one of my two pieces of news, I may have to have a short break in October, although I'm hoping to get a couple of posts pre scheduled, why?  I have to have one of my cataracts removed.  I don't know how long it will take for my eyes to settle afterwards, I know I won't be allowed to drive for several weeks until after an eye test, and I will need new glasses.  One cataract has been growing a lot faster than the other and my sight is very lop sided, the worst thing is I have problems seeing colour accurately, in fact it was the first thing I noticed, I see colour differently in each eye but because my eyes have been affected differently the eye with the worst cataract has the best sight, it's weird.  I don't know when I will have the second one removed, it depends on how it grows and also how my sight is as it will be different again after.

I forgot to show you what I bought,

I know some of you won't have forgotten what happened when I borrowed Wendy's (blush blush), I wasn't sure about using one at all but two things changed my mind, the first is I have been talking to a couple of people who use them and they tell me how wonderful they are, the second is, I found out the pink side goes down, not up, whoops!!!  Maybe it will work better this time.

I also had a sudden revelation about my quilting, you know how my table is set up now, I showed you last week?


I suddenly realised that for the last few months since I got the table I have been quilting with the cutting mat in position, and of course it's a non slip surface (more blushes), so when I try the slider out the mat will be back under my bed, out of the way and nice and flat.

Oh, my other piece of news, I had been thinking of early retirement, I was supposed to last Christmas then I couldn't as someone left work and I was the only one who knew all the systems and I said I would stay another year, then I said I would leave this Christmas, well I'm leaving in OCTOBER!!!  I won't be going back after my cataracts, all that lovely time for sewing and getting fitter.

You see my fitness has been going downhill the last year, it started when I had the fall in Corfu, I fell on my head and I didn't even have time to put my hands out to save myself.   I ended up with a nasty concussion, it affected my memory and knocked my confidence.   I didn't feel well enough to go out on my own for a few weeks as I had dizzy spells.  Anyway, I'm fine now and have been for ages, but I stopped walking my dogs, Gary was doing it all, and I have just slipped further and further back ever since, sad.  But now that I'm leaving work I realised I can go two ways, either stay as I am and become a total couch potato, becoming more and more unfit as the years go on with less and less mental stimulation as I loose touch with people and eventually stop going out.  Then I will become a recluse and fall into early senility from watching soaps and reality TV, (well, I may have exaggerated a little, giggles).  Or, I can get off my butt and get moving, do more quilting and pattern designing (yes I know I'm not a designer and no I don't ever want to be but if I so happen on something good I will share it, honest).  So, seeing it was the first of the month and as it was an investment in my health and my future I treated myself to


a Fitbit.   In case you haven't heard of them, and I hadn't until a few months ago, they are a combination of a watch, step counter, sleep monitor, and fitness tracker all in one, mine records my heart rate too.  They sync with your smart phone and you get a permanent record of your progress.  At least that's my understanding in a nutshell.   Now I didn't just jump into it, I did a fair bit of thinking and spoke to three people who had them, the general opinion seems to be they can be excellent for improving fitness, as long as you use them that is.  One said her daughter and husband used theirs constantly and challenged each other (can't see Gary getting into THAT), one likes it but doesn't use it to it's full capacity, and one just checks her daily steps and bought it as a watch really, although sometimes she finds she has almost reached a target and marches about the house to the tune of 'The Grand Old Duke of York' until she hits it (is it only my daughter who would do that or do you see a family trait somewhere?  Don't answer that).  I've only had it for three days so I will give you my early impressions next week if anyone is interested.

The long arm of the curse that is family illness has caught us again, it turns out to be similar to the episode we had in January.   When illness comes like this it is frightening, potentially devastating and turns your nice ordered world into turmoil as all the potential scenarios play constantly through your head, and the worst thing is there is nothing at all you can do about it.  At the risk of sounding unfeeling and uncaring I will tell you how I am learning to cope with it, but if it isn't your thing come back next week to see my first Gypsy Wife block.

Life is full of problems of all different sizes, some are small but to some seem huge, it depends on your perspective and past life experience.  Others are so enormous is their magnitude it is hard to imagine how you will cope, but you will simply because there is no other choice.  These moments in time are all transient, they will pass and eventually another event will come along which will rock your world, for good or for bad.  I try to recognise the bad times as just that, moments, and just get through them knowing they will pass, I try not to focus on possible outcomes, only the fact that life is all transient.  Do you remember the fantastic things that have happened, the most wonderful times, like holding you child for the very first time, your wedding day, or looking up and seeing the most beautiful rainbow that stops you in your tracks with the beauty of nature?  These are also moments, we don't constantly think of them, and when we do we are living a memory, not the present, and it doesn't seem as vivid in it's intensity as it did.  The bad times in life are the same.  I try not to let my wonderful moment memories be spoiled by this moment or situation, that I know will pass in a few hours or a few days, or sometime.  I'm not saying that it works for me all the time, I still have my moments of absolute panic and fear, but in my more rational times it's what I try and hang on to.   That's my thoughts for what they are worth, you may agree you may not, we are all different, that's what makes life so interesting, it would be very boring if we were all the same.

Oh dear, I've probably bored you all silly with my philosophising, and you thought this was a quilting blog.
Before I forget the winners of the 12 Days of Christmas blog hop are announced tomorrow Friday 4th August at Confessions of a Fabric Addict.  You can find my contribution post with the free templates to make your own on this post if you missed it.

Normal service will be resumed next week, with maybe a little about the Fitbit thrown in.

Until then.
Smiles from,
Kate x

Linking up with:
Midweek Makers
Wednesday Wait Loss
Needle and Thread Thursday
Can I Get a Whoop Whoop?


Thursday, 27 July 2017

Just messing around.........

Last week was so wonderful, the 12 Days of Christmas in July blog hop was great, I hope you all enjoyed it as much as I did.  I must say thank you for all your support, not only on the hop but on all the other weeks too, and thank you everyone for the wonderful comments you left, they give me such a thrill.  I'd also like to say welcome to everyone who started following the blog too, in fact I don't say it often enough, but it is so lovely to know I'm not just shouting my words to the universe, that someone listens.

Just to let you all know, the winners from the blog hop will be announced on Friday 4th August, I wish you all luck.  If you are reading for the first time you can find my blog hop post HERE and it has links to all the other participating blogs which I have updated for the actual posts, kind am I not? (giggling my head off)

Do you find that after you have had a big high you drop down and find it hard to get motivated?  That's been me.  I have tried, I even tidied my room up, you wouldn't believe the mess I had it in, what do you mean you could?  Anyway, I did have pressing stuff to do so onwards and upwards.

I made,


Irish Eyes, my bee block for Jennifer @Inquiring Quilter who is in my bee @Bee Inspired.  This was a lovely block to make, the centre is dark green, just in case it looks black to you, it does to me but it could be my eyes.  It looks so clean and fresh, it is going to make a beautiful quilt.

Next I made a star block


for Julie in Hive 2 Stash Bee.  Julie's local guild collects lap quilts for the local breast cancer treatment centre, and she asked for either a sixteen patch block or a star block in pinks and white.  I have very little in pink but I managed to make this block.  Don't ask me what it's called, I saw a pic and copied it but it didn't mention a name.

I was at my quilt group on Saturday, I made five more blocks from the Tula Pink 100 Modern Quilt  Blocks book,


these ones.  I just counted my blocks and all I have is 21, I couldn't believe it, I thought I should have had at least thirty.  On top of which I came to a decision, when I go to my group I take my older Bernina, a 440QE, I have a bag on wheels but I still have to lift it in and out of the car and through the narrow door of the shop where we meet, on top of which there are six steps up to my house.  I'm struggling, although it's a lot lighter than Baby who weighs a ton I'm finally starting to realise it is getting too much for me to lift it, so I won't be making anything else at my group that means taking my machine, and that includes making any more of my Tula Pink blocks too.  Don't get me wrong mind, I'm not abandoning it, I'll just have to make them at home that's all.

Mind you that means I'll have to start something new that I can do by hand, something which involves appliqué, any suggestions?

Tell you what I did get this week


this.  What do you mean what is it?  Is it not obvious?


It's a table, specially for when I do machine quilting.


It will take the weight of the quilt so it doesn't pull when I'm quilting it. Before you ask no I still haven't finished Circles and yes I blatantly staged the pic!!! Now, there is lots of room at the back and the side of the table but when you are stitching the top right where does the bulk of the quilt go?  I used to use my ironing board before I got my beautiful table and reorganised my sewing room, but I haven't enough space for the ironing board now as my room in narrow.   This table fits in perfectly, and


It folds too, so I can easily get it out when I need it then fold it to of the way again.  Best thing was it didn't cost much, and it is almost the perfect hight for the table, BUT the hight of the table is adjustable and so I will alter it an inch and it will be perfect.  What do you think?  Do you use an extra table or your ironing board?  Just in case you are in the UK and want to know where I got it it was from The Range and cost £17.99

So, that has been my week, EXCEPT that Gnome Angel is starting another quilt along on August 3rd and guess what it is?  GYPSY WIFE!!!!   Read the first post and the Preparation post if you are interested.   You can imagine how excited I am about it, it's over two years since I bought the pattern and just over a year since I posted about starting the first section, only I haven't done any more since, sad :-(   The thing is there are so many things I want to make, and  so I have abandoned the blocks I made for the first section and I am starting all over again, only this time I have bought fabrics specially, only I can't show you because they haven't arrived yet, I should have them tomorrow though, only you will have to wait until next week to see them, shame.  You will just have to guess what kind of fabrics I would choose, what would you choose?

On a personal note I do have a couple of bits of news, but I'm not telling you, I'll tell you next week (don't hold your breath, it's not that exciting).

So until then,
Smiles from,
Kate x

Linking up with:
Wednesday Wait Loss
Needle and Thread Thursday
Can I Get a Whoop Whoop?
Celtic Thistle Stitches hosting for TGIFF
Crazy Mom Quilts



Wednesday, 19 July 2017

IT'S CHRISTMAS.........

and my stop on the 12 Days of Christmas in July Blog Hop hosted by the lovely and very generous Sarah @Confessions of a Fabric Addict.  There are the most wonderful giveaways on this hop (and I'm not talking charm packs), and Sarah is giving instructions for a new quilt, you'll find all the details at the end of the post.

So now, without any further ado (unusual I admit) is my contribution to the hop...........


It's Christmas

and it's partner, the second of the matching pair............


I Believe

We all love cushions (pillows) and they are great for decorating your home at Christmas,  who can have too many cushions?   So I started  doodling and I came up with, 


this design.    I wanted to keep it simple as I'm a simple kind of girl (no, I didn't mean in the head, who said that?), I'm not a designer and I don't have any fancy equipment, just a pad of graph paper and a pencil.


Next I found some large sheets of graph paper so I could draw it out actual size, I bought it years ago for some abandoned project.   Yes it is rather faint, but this paper is expensive and I thought if I did it faintly I could rub it out and reuse it, waste not want not and no I am not mean!   It was a case of making it bigger and working out the template sizes. Only thing was it took a while to get the  snowman right.


So I measured it for length and width,  halved a sheet of A4 sheet of paper down the centre, and drew the shape to the measurements, and it worked.  Then it was just a matter of cutting it out, opening it up and checking it was what I wanted.  It did take a couple of goes to get it right though.  Once I had sorted my snowman all the other elements were much easier.

This is what I did to make my 18 inch cushion.  If you have done this kind of appliqué  you may find some of this a bit basic but I'm going through it all for the benefit of new quilters who may not have done it before.


First I cut my background fabric, I used Galaxy Stars from Makower, I love this fabric, I cut a 19 inch square.  Appliqué can distort the background so I cut it bigger by just half an inch, it doesn't distort it much though so if you are worried about trimming it later just cut it to size.


Next I traced the templates on to the paper side of Heat'n'Bond Lite, I use this one but any other make will do.  Cut the shapes out roughly, don't cut on the line at this point.  Now iron them onto the back of the fabric you are using, paper side up.  I used just whatever fabric I had, I didn't buy any specially because you need such small pieces and you don't need Christmas fabrics, just a fabric that represents a wrapping paper you would use for wrapping your prezzies.  When the fabric has cooled cut the shapes out on the line, peel off the paper backing and it's ready to be ironed onto the background.  It will still need to be machined or hand stitched though or it will come off again.


First I added the snowman, I centred it about 2 inches or so from the bottom and ironed it on.  I didn't  add all the pieces of the snowman at this point because the nose and arms don't adhere as well and I didn't want them to start lifting while I was stitching the body and scarf in place. 

I used a buttonhole stitch about length 2 and width 2.4 to attach the pieces, although I reduced it for the stick arms and carrot nose as they were so much smaller, down to about 1.5 stitch length and 1.6 width, I just did a few stitches and adjusted it accordingly.  The good thing about using buttonhole stitch is I don't need to use a stabiliser, if you prefer a zigzag make sure you use a tear away stabiliser the back.


It doesn't matter which side you put the scarf on, I just made it the opposite side to the hat to balance it more, but I ended up with the long side different on one of them, it really doesn't matter, does it look wrong to you?

I cut different size pieces of paper for the parcels and snowballs trying for size and ended up using 11/2 inch squares and 11/2 inch circles using seven snowballs in I Believe, and seven parcels in It's Christmas, but you can use however many you want.   I just drew around the top of a reel of thread for the circles, the size isn't vital, for the parcels I just cut a larger piece of Heat'n'Bond, ironed it to the back of the fabric, and when it cooled cut it down to size using my rotary cutter.


Then it was just a matter of arranging the parcels or snowballs how I wanted leaving a space of a couple of inches or so at the top and sides and angling the parcels so they looked like they were being juggled.


At this point I decided to add two larger parcels at the bottom for balance which are a bit bigger at 1 3/4 x 2 1/4 and 1 3/4 x 3 1/4  but I know they are a bit different on one as I cut it slightly small, there again I could just say it's a design thing..........   I was going to add snowballs but when I tried them it just looked like it needed a bit more colour.   I used my ruler to line them up at the bottom.


I added the hat so it looked like it had fallen off.  The hat caused me problems, my original one was far too small so I made it bigger, I made it black and it disappeared.  After I tried another couple using different fabrics and I eventually realised it wasn't going to stand out unless I made it bright to show up on the dark background so I matched it to the scarf, duh!

The arms ere trickier, I just ironed them on and hoped for the best, you could place yours a little higher if you want, you may want to cut them a little shorter though so they don't get too near the edge.  I just took my time stitching in and out of the sharp points.

After all the pieces were stitched on it was the fun time, decorating it.


I made the smile with french knots using two strands of stranded cotton, but if you are not happy with that you could just use a black Pigma pen.  Same with the letters on the snowballs, I lightly marked them using a fabric pencil and backstitched them with two strands of black, but you can use the Pigma pen here too.

The letters may be a little wonky and the smile may be crooked, but add it all together and it says 'Handmade with Love' (hysterical giggles).

After I finished Believe, I had a thought that if I had added the snowballs using needle turn and stitched the letters first I could have stuffed the snowballs with toy filling to give a 3D effect, just saying........


For the parcels I used two strands of cotton and stem stitch for the ribbons, I didn't mark them, I just tried to keep them small enough and figured that being thrown in the air the ribbons would be all over the place anyway.


There again, if I had thought to use a narrow ribbon like this at 1/8 th of an inch wide,


it would work just as well, just remember to stitch through the knot so it doesn't come undone.


Three tiny black buttons added the finishing touch.  I didn't measure it just did it by eye.


Then I made another one, like it?  I stayed with the seven snowballs but as EMILY has only five letters I added snowflakes at the ends in long stitch going down in a centre hole.  But, there is no rule to say you have to use a certain number of snowballs or what size they have to be, the name can be shorter or longer.  My granddaughter is going to love this.

I layered Emily's top with a blended batting and calico, then I quilted it by stitching around all the shapes, I didn't quilt the background as I didn't need to with the batting I used.  Next I cut two pieces of fabric for the back 18 1/2 x 14 inches and made a half inch double hem on one of the long sides of each piece to make an envelope back.  If you haven't done this before put the top face up and the two back pieces face down on top, matching the long raw edges top and bottom.  Pin well, then machine around using a 1/4  inch hem, I do two rounds of stitching to make it secure, especially where the envelope joins are at the sides.  Then I zigzag around to neaten the edges and snip the corners.  Turn it right sides out and carefully poke out the corners, don't use anything sharp though or it could go through the fabric and then you would be sad :-(


Now here is my confession, although I had bought enough fabric I decided I love it far too much to use on the backs, especially as I had already discovered my supplier had ran out.  Fabrics change and I may not be able to get any more, so I had a root around to see if I had anything else I could use.  Oh yes, I found a fabric I bought eleven years ago at Joannes in Florida.  It was when I was a new quilter and didn't know much about fabrics, I knew it washed ok so that's what I used instead.  You see I don't like using favourite fabrics for backs, in fact I would rather use something I got in a sale.  Are you shocked at my meanness?


Back to the cushion, after trimming the corners and turning I stitched all the way around at 1/4 inch to stop the back showing through to the front.


With the two others I didn't even quilt them,  I just lined the back with calico and added the envelope back.


 I think they look just as good unquilted, what do you think?  I may go back and do 1/4 inch stitching around the edge though.  The back doesn't show as it would on the quilted version but it just gives a nice finish, what do you think?


And there you have it, a veritable trio of Christmas cushions, I Believe, It's Christmas, and Emily.

Wouldn't they make lovely Christmas mini quilts too?

It is Christmas (we are pretending anyway, shhhh) and I believe in spreading the love, so, here is the link to MY TEMPLATES in case you would like to make one.  Make sure you print it out at 100%, there are two pages.  I don't have any fancy programmes remember, the templates are hand drawn.   If you make one (or both) of the  cushions I would love it if you sent me a pic  of your finished cushion,  but do you know what would really make me happy?  If you like my design and use it it would be wonderful if you shared the love and peace of Christmas by making a small donation to a children's charity of your choice, just a few pennies, whatever you can afford.

If you are getting a jump on Christmas check out the Origami Christmas Tree I made last year.

IMPORTANT - a number of commenters from the hop are no reply, this means Sarah wont be able to contact you if are drawn for a prize and haven't added your email address.  Please check you are not one of them, especially if you are Google +  Even if you have changed your settings they can revert.

I have had an increase in no reply comments recently including some asking questions, if you have asked me a question and not received a reply or you would like to ask me a question but don't want to leave a comment you can always find my email address on my About Me page, smilesfromkate@gmail.com

As if great holiday ideas and a tutorial weren't enough,  this year Sarah has arranged  something extra special!   The lovely folks over at Free Spirit Fabrics have donated not just one item for a giveaway, but THIRTEEN! And it's pretty drool-worthy stuff, too - it's Tula Pink's new holiday line, Holiday Homies!!!


Sarah has six design rolls, six layer cakes, and one fat quarter bundle to give away - and here's how it works! Visit each stop on the hop, including Sarah's blog, and leave a comment on each post for the day. At the end of the hop, Sarah will do a giveaway for each day by putting everyone's name in the hat who commented that day (from all that day's hop-blogs), and drawing a winner for that day. That will be twelve winners - the design rolls and layer cakes. Then all all the names from all the days go in a hat a name is drawn out  for the fat quarter bundle! Only one prize per person, though - let's spread it around a bit! So carve out a bit of time to visit all the blogs and comment - it makes the time bloggers spend on each post worth it when we see what people think about our work!

Don't forget visit  Sarah @Confessions of a Fabric Addict and Jan @The Colourful Fabriholic today and leave comments on their posts too to increase your chances of winning.  If you haven't seen any of the posts until now you can find Sarah's first post here, you will need to start there if you want to make the Christmas quilt she has designed.  It is not too late to comment on any of the blogs, you get one entry for each and every comment you make.

Here is the full list of all the blogs and schedule in case you missed any, I'm updating the links so they should take you direct to the post:



Friday, July 14th





Saturday, July 15th





Sunday, July 16th





Monday, July 17th





Tuesday, July 18th





Wednesday, July 19th


                   Smiles From Kate  This is me!


Thursday, July 20th





Friday, July 21st





Saturday, July 22nd





Sunday, July 23rd





Monday, July 24th





Tuesday, July 25th






Wishing you all love and peace.

With smiles from
Kate x

Now, if you have caught up on all the posts, why not join me in viewing my favourite linky parties, you can find them on my sidebar, I'll be there for sure.  you don't want to miss anything, do you?