Friday, December 26, 2014

I'm back!

Hi folks! Did anyone miss me? I know, I've been such a bad blogger, but time just got the better of me and I can't believe it's been almost half a year since my last post to you. I will try and better myself in the next year, but I can't promise anything ;)

The sewing definitely hasn't stopped in the last months and yesterday I had a major finish. The quilt - my first ever quilt top - that I pieced 4 years ago when my sewing adventures started. Yes, it's now finished.! Woohoo!

Yay! It's done!

Yesterday I spray basted it like a mad person with 505 spray baste (I love that stuff) and then went to work. Honestly, my piecing back then was horrendous, not everything is straight, and the Warm and White batting definitely won't be bought again either.

This is one of the parts that actually look ok.

I literally spray basted like a mad person, everything was sticking together perfectly, flat, straight. Nothing was moving, no bunches or bulks anywhere. I then started sewing down the length of the quilt in wavy lines and realised that my brown border fabric was stretching in places.

Ok then, 2 or three little bumps here and there that could easily be ironed out. Except it didn't stop there. When I reached the middle of my quilt, the batting had bunched up, like it had stretched and extended between my top and backing and I started to get bumps everywhere.

Lots of bumps and bunches. *sniff*

At this point I told myself, the hell with it, and just went over. It will get bumpy after being washed anyway, it's my first every quilt and I definitely suck at free motion on big pieces, so that would've looked even worse, I won't be giving this away either, but keeping it for myself, and while the perfectionist in me got majorly annoyed, I told myself, it's ok. It's another experience, and I'm glad I finally finished it.
I also actually love it, as imperfect and bumpy as it is, because isn't perfect either. You always get bumps in the road. ;)

Simple polka dot backing fabric and binding in matching colour.

But my next project - if it is going to be another quilt - will be a QAYG one. Preferably with free motion samples, because I got a great book for Christmas for free-motion beginners and while I didn't get any free-motion-learning done this year, I really need to try it next year. I already bought several classes on Craftsy, so might as well watch them now.

What are your plans for the new year? Any super-exciting and sewing-related Christmas gifts you got? Comment below, I'd love to know :)

I'm wishing you all a very Happy New Year and am leaving you with my year of finishes as a special treat!

Hugs and Love
xx Lia

Saturday, July 19, 2014

Strawberry Craziness...

It's absolutely safe to say that I have a soft spot for everything relating to strawberries when it comes to patterns and sewing. Which is a bit crazy since I'm actually allergic to strawberries unless they're turned into jam or cooked or else. 
But I've been waiting for a Strawberry Swap to come along for a while and when Jamie started hosting an Instagram and Flickr based Strawberry Swap, I just knew that I had to join.

My partner listed a few a few things that she would love to receive, one of them being a fabric basket and since I loved making the one for Kristel in the Simple and Sweet Scrappy Swap, I thought I would make my Strawberry Swap partner a proper fabric bucket as well.

It all started with pulling a few fabrics and a pattern. For the basket I used the Birch pattern in small again, for the Strawberries I got the Strawberry block from Sew Ichigo and reduced the size to 50%, so that each block came out at 3.5" including seam allowance.

I just love how the colours pop against the low volume fabrics and how cute these strawberries are in this size. Granted I had to pull out my stitches on the first block as it came out wonky at first, but then I got the hang of it. Yes, I get a bit rusty with paper-piecing when not having done it for a couple weeks, lol! ;)

After sewing them into rows, I started working on the actual bucket parts. No pictures here, but I added half an inch in size to the pattern of the bucket as I would've needed to cut off some of the strawberry blocks else and the seam allowance is already quite close to the actual berries.

Here are several pictures of the finished bucket, though. It is the smallest of them, but don't let that scare you away, the actual basket has quite some space for filling it.

In the last picture you can also see the inlay bottom that I made to make it more sturdy when standing. Just made a tube of the same fabric, turned it over and pushed some cardboard in. Voila! :)

And since a Strawberry Swap can never have enough strawberries... here are also a few pincushions. They look edible, don't they?

Once again there's a few firsts in this swap for me. First time making these pincushions. Also I never so actively used text or low volume prints in one project before. I've only seen others do it and always loved it. Needless to say that I'm having a very hard time parting with this fabric basket, but I think my partner wouldn't be too happy with me keeping it, lol!

I added a few scraps, including strawberry prints and a couple leftovers of the texty prints I used in this project.

After that I dug out pretty much anything strawberry-themed that I could find. I may have gone a bit overboard again on this one, similar to the bug themed Dumpling Pouch Swap the other week, but I just love spoiling people and sending packages like this. I'm sure my partner won't mind, I know I definitely wouldnt. 

All of this is now packed up in a box and ready to go to its new home once the temperaturs have dropped a bit here. It's pretty hot at the moment and I don't want the Choclait Chips to arrive a melted mess. Hopefully they won't have to travel too long.

That's it from me for now. Happy sewing everyone!
 xx Lia

Friday, July 18, 2014

A whole lot of fabric buckets!

It's here! It's here! And I was completely right in saying that it would need an extra blog post!

My fabric basket from the lovely Karri in Texas finally arrived after an almost 8 week long arrival/delivery time. If you ask me customs must've had a ball playing with it, judging from the amounts of stickers they put on the package!!

Here's a look at what was in the envelope. Tea flowers, yummy chocolate and a beautifully wrapped packkage. Until then I didn't know the crazy amount of goodies that she had wrapped with the adorable piece of fabric. I love butterflies by the way and Karri clearly picked up on that! :)

Inside this beautiful wrapping was a low volume and texty fabric bucket. This bucket was the initial swap item for the Simple and Sweet Scrappy Swap and I love the orange and blue side of it. Plus Karri used several of my favourite fabrics from Alison Glass, Lotta Jansdotter and Carolyn Friedlander. Win!

Wrapped inside the basket were even more goodies! Lots of lace trims (I have used some of these for a recet project, that I'll blog about soon), a load of lovely scraps, a Prairie Pointer Tool, zipper with zipper pull charm, metal tags and so on and so forth!

But that's not all, because shortly after Karri had sent this original package in May, she realised that some of the things she had wanted to include were still lying around at her home and she sent another enevelope. That one actually arrived a month before the original basket package. But I've withheld posting pictures before, as I wanted to get it all together in one big post. 

In that package was more trimming, a clover seam tool (which I've been using while paper-piecing and just LOVE!), a pencil, some cute labels, a bag pattern aaaaand Aurifil!!! it's my first ever Aurifil! Happy dance!

So you can imagine that I was more than thrilled!

But Karri - the lovely angel she is - had gotten together an actual angel package when the first basket was still stuck in transit and customs and whatnot. That one arrived last week and was an equal stunner!

I couldn't believe my eyes when I opened the package and found this loot in it. Plus, it's like she installed a secret camera into my sewing room and spied on me, because she sent Frixion pens in the only 2 colours I didn't have yet, a quarter inch seam ruler (I've been wanting one), more Aurifil and even more scraps. Also another bag pattern, a stamp, rick rack ribbon and hexie templates. Seriously spoiled here!

And then there's this cute, amazing, little scrap of Heather Ross fabric, that literally had me bouncing and squealing. It's the out of print and extremely popular Fish Out of Bags print. I've seen listings online where a yard goes for well over $50, just so you know how crazy people are over it ;)

I mean, just look at how cute they are??? Am gonna end my blog post with these cuties and wish you all a very happy and sunny day! :)

xx Lia

Thursday, July 3, 2014

Craft It Forward!

It feels like ages ago that I left a comment under a Craft It Forward blog post on Angela's blog Heart of Charnwood, but today I received my Craft It Forward gift from her in the mail, which came as a total surprise.

Craft It Forward is basically like a chain letter for crafty goodies. The first 5 people who have a blog and sign up by leaving a comment under this post, will each receive a handmade gift, as a surprise, at someone point within the next 12 months. Once you have received your gift you will have to Craft it Forward for 5 people as well.

So today I received my Craft It Forward surprise and Angela made me this cute, lined drawsting bag, which is quite fab, as I've been looking into making one as a lunchbag for work, but hadn't gotten around to it and also wasn't able to join the Simple and Sweet Scrappy Swap at the time that they were all sewing drawstring bags. Meaning, I'm really happy about this little drawstring bag, especially as the colours (the lining is blue) go well with my new Super Tote. Thanks Ange!

What do you think? Do you want to join in on the fun? Want to receive one handmade gift and make the same offer for 5 other crafty people (once you have received your Craft It Forward gift)? Then sign up by leaving a comment below! :)

xx Lia

Monday, June 30, 2014

Happy Mail!!!

Hi everyone!

I promised I would make another post with all the loot that I'd receive in the swaps I joined and the past few days have been loaded with Happy Mail!

First I'm going to show you the inspirational mosaics that I made for my partners and after that the goodies that I received.

Let's start with the Secret Tote Bag Swap, that I'm hosting myself. In round 4 we were sewing to the theme 'Summertime' and this is the mosaic that I made as inspiration for my partner.

My tastes are actually quite obvious, I think. I love the Noodlehead Super Tote pattern and already have one Super Tote that I received in a previous round of this swap. I love the colours aqua and teal combined with blues and greys and shades of green or yellow and I looooove low volume and text fabrics. I think I also said that I wouldn't mind the bag being in QAYG style. Oh and that I like butterflies and bees.

Last Friday I then received a box from Susan aka sewlikesue with these beautifully wrapped packages.

And inside was a gorgeous Super Tote in exactly the colours I had requested and showed in my mosaic.
Sue also added 2 fatquarters of bug fabric, some flat-headed, butterfly-shaped quilting pins, dark chocolate and yummy tea. I was super-thrilled with this beautiful bag!

Here are a few more pictures, she really hit the nail on the head and I'm most impressed with how sturdy the bag is. She wrote she used some Pellon as stabilizer. And else I thought was really intriguing, is that she used some of the actual fabrics displayed in my mosaic. So Awesome!

Zipper and lining match the outter fabrics and there's a load of pockets. I always need many, many pockets for all the things I carry around with me. On the outside there's another big pocket as well. :)

Here's another look at all the extras that came along with the bag. Quilting pins, chocolate, beautiful fabric and herbal and fruit tea!

Last, but not least, here's a picture of the bag with my coin purse, that I bought when receiving the bag from the previous swap, and I'm so glad that the colours still match, yay! 

Next up is my mosaic for the Dumpling Pouch Swap hosted by Mari-Ann aka Rockislander. Once again, it's quite specific.

It's quite obvious that I love bees and was looking for a pouch in a colour range of aqua, light blue and yellow combined with lov volume and text fabrics. And since the swap was for a bug-theme, I really, really wanted to receive something with a bee.

The funny thing is, that not many participants actually used the same colour ranges that I did, but I was still keeping my fingers crossed a lot when Mari-Ann herself posted a couple pictures on Flickr of a little pouch in the very same colours. I kept my eye on the swap and more and more pouches turned up at their new homes, yet not the one Mari-Ann had made. Until today when I received a thick, padded envelope from Mari-Ann, coming all the way from Bermuda! Woohoo! 

When I opened the package, the little pouch fell out and after the initial squeal followed a happy dance! ;)
I'm absolutely in love with this little pouch and the ÜBER-adorable needlebook that she made to go along with it. 

There are a ton of tiny details there, that Mari-Ann herself has beautifully captured in a few mosaics on Flickr, see here, here and here. :) I didn't want to steal her pics, so just follow the links! ;)

The pouch itself is lined with text fabric, embroidered with a little bee and has a small bee charm dangling from the zipper. 

Along she sent many, many goodies such as fabric covered buttons, pins, sticky notes, EPP hexagons, Burt's Bees handbalm, jelly slugs (which for some reason are not in any of my pictures, although I've not eaten them yet lol!) and LOADS of bug themed fabric scraps! I'm in bug heaven! See below how many there are ;) 

How can you not be happy with all of that? My fingers are tickling to make something small with a few of these. Maybe a few notebook covers. The ants are just the cutest! 

But that's not all yet. Today I also received another swap package from the lovely Erin aka madbury13 for the Fabric Scrap Swap, that I'm also hosting. No mosaic here, but I requested texts and low volumes, bug prints, sewing themed fabrics and also added that I like small fruit and flower prints and any other cute small prints.

Erin sent an amazing pack of scraps that completely covered the options I had given her and the scraps you can see in the picture below aren't even all of the ones she sent! There are so many that I couldn't fit them all into the picture and they are beyond fabulous! Look at those donuts or the cute strawberries in the bottom row. Love all of them! And she also included a mini lint roll and mini gel pens. 

Today really was an extremely great day for receiving mail, especially since it's a Monday and we hardly ever get mail on Mondays, so I'm extra thrilled.

Also last Saturday I received a letter from customs and this morning it was confirmed by them that the package they have for me is the one from my Simple and Sweet Scrappy Swap partner Karri, that we've been patiently waiting for to get through to me for 8 weeks now. Finally! Woohoo! There's light at the end of the tunnel! 

I'll keep you updated on that one, so there might be another post with more happy mail announcements coming soon ;)

Until then I wish you all a great time!
xx Lia

Friday, June 13, 2014

A few things I recently made

As previously mentioned, I took full use of the 3 weeks of holiday time that I had off work to catch up with my sewing. Not only did I participate in a lot of swaps, but I also made and worked on the following items.

My mum wanted a small pouch in box-shape and she loved this cherry fabric that I had, so I made her one with it.

I also made these zippered patchwork pouches in 2 different sizes. The bigger one went to a friend in the US, who was so kind to help me get a fabric for me, that I'd been looking for, the other was a birthday gift to my colleague, so that she has a secure place to store her mobile phone in. 

I also did a bit of upcycling with one of my mum's T-Shirts as she managed to dribble apple juice over herself. She's an apple lover and has so many tees with brown stains due to that. It actually turned out better than I thought. I used iron-on adhesive paper to attach the fabric patch to the tee and then used an applique stitch to go around again.

Mum likes it and I doubt it's going to be the last of her tees that receives a new look.

Added to that, I've been making loads and loads of shopping bags out of old fabrics. Mainly from old bed covers, or fabrics that I had previously cut to make cushion covers, but then never got around to it and also fabrics that my dear friend Iris has provided. All of these bags will go to Iris, who is running the website Recycling-Helden
This is a project that is close to my heart and that I am currently voluntarily sewing for and where we are creating new bags, rugs, gift wrapping and other items out of waste-products from manufactures, such as leftover cuts from productions of deck chairs, mattresses, tablecloths and so on and so forth.
The website is in German, but I am encouraging all my German speaking readers to have a look at the Recycling-Helden page, as we'll be giving away 100 shopping bags in July. All you will have to do is send a self-addressed and stamped envelope to Iris and you will receive a free shopping bag in return. More details will be on the site, though.  

Here's a look at my sewing place from last weekend, I now have almost 100 bags done, in different sizes and fabrics, just eye-balling and cutting to have no waste. 

I'm so glad I bought a serger last year, though, or else I would've never been able to make these as quickly as I've done with a serger. And I'm also thanking Teresa from Green Bag Lady for that easy shopping bag style she invented. I'm not using the actual pattern, as our sizes vary depending on how wide or how much fabric we have, but the way she's making them is a very fast and easy way to make sturdy bags! Thanks, Teresa!

I'm also including a couple pictures of the gift bags, that I made for the Recycling-Helden last year, I made a good 500 of these small bags, all from waste cuts of wax-tablecloths. Reusable, water-resistant and in all sorts of colours.

Lastly, I have a friend who is a self-published writer and whose birthday is coming up at the end of this month. Sometimes I'm struggling to find something as a gift, but I thought she could use a mug rug for when she's sat writing on her laptop, with a mug of tea or coffee next to her, while she's imagining and creating yet another new novel. And of course it had to have a bit of a book theme.

So I bought a pattern from The Patchsmith and made her a mug rug, inspired by her favourite colours, which are purple and green as far as I know and a few details thrown in, that would make it more personalized.

Since my friend is a follower of this blog, and she's already received her gift, I guess I can now reveal what I used to personalize this mug rug and why.

I used selvages for the book titles, which will be obvious for all quilters and sewists.

The Piece O' Cake was used because she's writing a lot at the moment and has quite the speed in finishing her goals. So it seems a bit like a piece of cake, how fast she's finishing future novels. 
C is for Cat is quite obvious as my friend is a cat lover and has 2 of the furry friends living with her, along with dogs as well, though. 
Out of this World is also easy to explain, as she's living in Sri Lanka which is extremely far away from me and she's also an out of this world person, simply because we've been friends for at least a decade now if not even longer. 
Fluttering Wings & Colourful Things. This one I used because she loves butterflies and birds, and her nickname used to be Butterfly Devi, and also because the flowers and colours used in traditional gowns in her country is what I would definitely put in the colourful things category. And the mug itself has Butterflies on it as well, by the way. :)

So yeah, that's that...Another extremely long and picture loaded post, but I hope you enjoyed this little insight, even if I've not posted that often or regular lately. 

Until next time!
xx Lia
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