Sunday, 28 December 2014

.: Handmade Christmas - mermaid doll :.

And a mere three days after Christmas, I'm sharing my last handmade Christmas pressie with you - sweet, tiny and already given to my niece on Christmas Day.   It's a Mermaiden doll from Hillary Lang's lovely 'Wee Wonderfuls' book - you can see Hillary's Mermaiden on the front cover  (can I just digress for a minute, and say that whenever I (or anyone) says "It's a ...", I always say 'croquet bush' to myself, because of that 'Favourites' chocolates ad on TV, do you know the one?  It's the same with anyone saying "don't touch it" ... are you with me or have I lost you? :-D).

Anyway, back to Mermaiden.  I used a skin-tone fabric for her body, a long-stashed Alexander Henry print for her fin, and black wool felt for her hair, and added a few (a lot of) little decorative stitches into her hair too.  

My hand-stitching to sew the mermaid inside her fin are not good.  I can sew pretty neat little decorative stitches no worries, but hand-stitching that is supposed to be tiny, hidden and for a purpose?  Not so good.   

To continue on with my need to add meaning to pretty much everything I make, I made sure that the mermaids on the fin had the same colour hair as my girls - one brown-haired mermaid, and one orange-haired mermaid.   My orange-haired daughter is not happy that "she" is on the mermaid's bottom, but I told her that the brown-haired mermaid worked better for the front so the choice was out of my hands, fin-aesthetics was the deciding factor. 

Mermaiden is really sweet, and a pretty fast little pressie.  By far the most time-consuming part was hand-sewing her hair, since I added in so many stitches - there's a lot of stitching on the back too - a couple of hearts and my niece's name-initial - but I forgot to take a pic of that before giving her to my niece on Christmas Day. 

I hope your weekend has been a good one - we've had lots of rain here, which has been perfect for having the cricket on in the background while pottering about doing other things (or actually watching the cricket while catching up on some reading, like my husband has been doing).  We're gearing up for a family game of 'Stitchopoly' (exactly the same as Monopoly but created by DMC with a sewing-theme) this afternoon, most likely with a glass of wine and some chips.  Enjoy the rest of your weekend.   xoxo cat

Saturday, 27 December 2014

.: Handmade Christmas - XO and #spellitwithfabric once more :.

Oh Christmas is over?  I know.  We've been away for a week at the beach, in a unit with no wifi, in a little town with very unflash internet coverage.  I took the laptop with me and was full of excellent blogging intention, but I barely kept up with instagram on my phone, and knew the dodgy internet connection would just drive me a bit batty with the computer. 

So, here we are on the 27th with yet more handmade Christmas goodies to share with you - all cushions, lots of pics, let's go. 

I posted some XO cushions recently and had been surprised I hadn't blogged about them - I'd gone searching the blog for them so I could remind myself of their size - and that was all because I was about to make two new sets of XO cushions.  This first set - all sewn from Cotton + Steel - follows the tutorial on Canoe Ridge Creations blog, with added borders to make the cushions finish at 18 inches.

These cushions have not yet been gifted - they're my Random Santa (as opposed to Secret Santa, since the results of the random name-draw are not a secret ...) pressie for my sister-in-law.  They're arriving at the beach from Sydney today - and we left the beach to come home this morning - so we'll arrange to meet up at some stage for a catch-up and pressie handover. 

The backs are made from two different Echino prints.

And this next set - already gifted to lovely friends + neighbours - follows the same XO tutorial, but with bigger pieces, so the XO are bigger, but the cushions still finish at 18 inches.  I was very intentional with my fabric selection for these cushions - I made them to match a couple of cushions I'd made for our friends a few years ago.  The Prints Charming Starbursts and black Echino cars are the same, but this time for a touch of red I've gone with Cotton + Steel lions (one of my favourite C+S prints, along with the navy arrows up above), and added the sweet Echino rabbit print on the back. 

And now the third - and last - set of cushions, for my nephews.  Mr C is four and loves the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.  Apparently he most loves the red one (interesting, since I've recently made a Mr Red Turtle cushion ... what's with the red turtle getting all the love?).  Mr C also loves Batman.  I had the Turtle fabric already sorted, but had to ask my lovely friend Tracy for some Batman scraps. 

The backgrounds for each cushion are Lizzy House 'Constellation' prints, and I framed each letter in solids - one red and one orange. 

My nephew Mr A is only six months old, so really, he's getting a cushion to match in with his big brother.  As the girls gave me the ok to not have to focus on the Red Turtle, I made sure to include the other three as equally as I could, so welcome to the blog blue, purple and orange turtles, one day I might even learn your names.

And since Mr A is only six months old ... I figured he wouldn't mind a little bit of Wonder Woman fabric in his cushion ... I couldn't quite stretch the Batman scraps far enough ... I'm really hoping Mr C has a bit of love in his heart for Wonder Woman, given that she's awesome and has an invisible plane and golden lasso. 

I went with red Echino rabbits for the back, plus a bit of Spolight big-spot print in orange.  We haven't gifted these cushions yet either - since Mr's C and A are the sons of my brother and sister-in-law who arrived at the beach today (the day we left) as mentioned above.   Cross your fingers for a bit of cushion-love. 

I hope your Christmas was relaxed, merry and bright and that you shared the time with people who make you happy.  'til next time xoxo cat

Saturday, 13 December 2014

.: Christmas swapping via hashtag :.

Lovely Ros coordinated the Sweet Pouch Swap (#sweetpouchswap) once again this year, and this time with a Christmas theme.  This was a direct swap, with each partner swapping with the other.  I was partnered with Nic, who said that she loved (amongst others) Tula Pink, Anna Maria Horner and text prints.  Here's what I came up with. 

I followed Anna Noodlehead's Open Wide Pouch tutorial for the zipper (but not for any pouch measurements), which results in a very handy open-wide pouch - surprise! 

And here are the goodies I popped in, for the "sweet" part of the Sweet Pouch Swap.

I've received a very gorgeous pouch + goodies package from Nic, which I will share once I have also received my swap package from the #carecirclechristmasswap - oh, what an awesome segue!

Our Care Circle of doGoodStitches decided to do a little Christmas swap this year.   This time it was anonymous, meaning the person you make for doesn't know you are making for them, and a different person is making for you.   My partner-to-make-for was Merran, and after a little stalking, I went with Ayumi's envelope pattern from her Patchwork Please! book - I made a Christmas envelope and a Liberty envelope, and sewed them into a basic zip pouch.  

My love for Monica's Holiday Happy gnomas is showing no sign of ending.  How sweet does he look with Monica's Winterkist fabric for the envelope!

And I thought Merran would really like this Liberty combo for the other side, I so love that animal print, paired with the gorgeous floral. 

And I popped in a few extra goodies - Aurifil thread and chocolate treats.

I made the lining a Christmas/non-Christmas combo too - with Aneela Hoey's Cherry Christmas and Anna Maria Horner hearts. 

Both my swap packages have safely arrived now, with Nic and Merran.  I'll be back again soon to share what I've received in the swaps.   Enjoy your weekend - we've got out Brisbane MQG Christmas lunch tomorrow - there will be fat quarter swapping and lucky door prizes, as well as a lovely lunch and lots of chat, wahoo!  xoxo cat

Friday, 12 December 2014

.: XO cushions :.

A really good way of realising you haven't blogged about something, is to go searching your blog for a post about cushions, so you can remind yourself whether you upsized the pattern or not, and if so by how much.

So.  That's how we come to today's post, and my realisation that despite being a slap-dash, unreliable blogger, I DO actually rely on this blog as a record of what we've been making.  Who'd have thought?!

I made these XO cushions for another school raffle prize earlier this term.  The pattern is by Megan at Canoe Ridge Creations, and looking at the size of the finished cushions, I think I must have made the X and O a little bigger than the pattern, but now of course I can't be sure. 

The lions are of course, Cotton + Steel.  And the background is Essex linen in natural. 

The backs are two of our panels, sliced in half and paired with a Spotlight big-spot print.

And now I'm off to make another two set of XO cushions, one set with the X and O a little bigger than in the other.  Have a great weekend.  xoxo cat

Wednesday, 10 December 2014

.: Handmade Christmas - #spellitwithfabric :.

In the second of my Handmade Christmas posts for the year, all I can say is - thank goodness for Moda's little 'Spell it with Fabric!' pattern book.  All the letters are very easy to follow, and quick to sew up.

First up is an 'E' cushion for my younger daughter's little Prep buddy at school.  I hope you are noticing, even if you have to squint, the fussy-cut red Ninja Turtles, since she told me that he (Mr Red Turtle) is her buddy's favourite.

Next are three enormous coasters/small table mats/mini quilts for teachers of my older daughter  - her French teacher, year adviser, and music/drama/homeroom teacher.  

Sewing up these three enormous/small/mini's coincided with the arrival of my Priory Square half-yard bundle from Pink Castle, so I have used it in each one.  I love all the prints I have used, and will most likely be looking to buy more.  

Here are the backs - two with Priory Square, and then the last with Kate Spain - though all three with Priory Square binding.  I do get a little immediately obsessed when fabric packages arrive in the mail.

And now last up, a set of coasters for the girls' violin teacher and his wife (since I figured it would be a little mean to just make one for him ...).  I half-sized the Moda letters for the coasters, and used Bonnie & Camille's new Daysail line for the letters, and my favourite print from their Bliss line for the binding - as well as the perfection Andover 'Love Notes' music print. 

And for the backs - come on, could I really go past violin fabric?! - since it exists?!

More sewing will be kicking off tonight, and will possibly be finished to share tomorrow but certainly by the weekend.  It's the last day of school tomorrow, which is just so completely fantastic, I can't even tell you.  Hope your week has been going well and you are gearing up for a great weekend.  xoxo cat

Tuesday, 9 December 2014

.: Handmade Christmas - let's get this party started :.

Ever since I started sewing, I've had Christmases where EVERY gift I give has to be handmade, and then others where for whatever reason - time, mood, life, a too-hot summer to be sewing - I don't have the same handmade-gift-giving-obsession.

This year is a handmade year (despite it being a very humid, hot summer so far ...).  Not EVERY gift will be handmade but a lot of them will be - bags, coasters, mini-quilts, cushions, zip-pouches.  So let's start with this one - a tote bag for my younger daughter's very fabulous + awesome teacher. 

I wanted to use one of our cat&vee panels for the back, so I cut a piece of batting a little larger than the panel, and made a quilt-as-you-go piece for the front.  I started with the Melody Miller typewriter and went from there, slowly choosing and adding favourites.

I sewed a strip to go across the top, and then added it as a whole piece.  This teacher is an absolute favourite, she has now taught both my girls and we're very blessed to have been in her class. 

For the lining and pocket, I used fabrics to make her think of her grand-daughter, Lily! - are you with me on the lily-pads line-of-thought?

For the handles, I pieced fabrics that would go well with the bag's front and back.  I'd run out of interface, so lined them with strips of calico, which seems to have worked just fine.

And for the back of the tote - our 'Stand Out from the Crowd' panel, which is just perfect for this gorgeous lady.

I'll be back to share a few more pressies over the next few days.  Are you having a handmade Christmas, or are you off to find a few goodies at the shops instead?  A mix of both is usually my favourite thing to do.  xoxo cat

Sunday, 7 December 2014

.: My QuiltCon 2015 entry! :.

So I was aiming for two months without blogging, but have fallen six days short.  What a shame, to have aimed so high, come so far and fallen so short ...

In fact, I wasn't aiming for that at all - if blog posts were made up of good intentions, we'd have been posting daily, there would be blog posts aplenty, you would be saying "oh please stop, go and do something else with your time, you're clogging up my Bloglovin' feed".

If you follow me on instagram, you'll have seen there's been plenty of sewing going on, some Elf on the Shelf creepiness, plus a whole of lot of end-of-school-year crazy.

The biggest thing I've been working on has been my entry for QuiltCon 2015.  It was due to be submitted on November 30, and I made it with a whole day to spare.  It's called 'QuiltCon Essentials' - my thinking was that I should commemorate my epic Brisbane-to-Austin trip with a quilt full of 'essentials', tumbling through the air and landing in a patchworked bag.  Here we go ... 

{the quilting reads 'oh the quilts you'll see, you're off and away' - a big nod to Dr Seuss}
First up is 'go', since it's a very good place to start.  The background for the quilt is Robert Kaufman Essex yarn-dyed linen blend in a mix of indigo and steel.  'Go' is in Emma Jean Jansen's Terra Australis, with a couple of peeks of her gum leaves in the background, and with Umbrella Prints hearts in the middle.  And there's a peek at Heather Ross' Macaroni Love Story from Spoonflower - that's to represent my family (who I can't quite believe I'm flying so far away from, even if only for a week!) 

Then we have flying geese, to get things moving in the right direction.  I added in some fun Push Pin prints to represent the actual flying-part of the trip, and also the anticipation of meeting up with so many online friends, wahoo! 

I really thought a 'to do' list was needed for QuiltCon, and so Vee and I created a little list and printed it via Spoonflower.  Do I even need to say that it's very tongue-in-cheek, in a Kath Day Knight 'umour kind of way?  There will be no tattoos for me, or touching of quilts.   

And now it's time for thoughts of the Moda Dance Party to dance in your head, along with a bit of lipstick - an absolute handbag-essential, let alone a QuiltCon essential. 

More flying geese, to keep you on track, and not off on a tangent thinking about those Moda Dance Party moves.  I'm getting excited at this point of the trip, thanks to Happy Sew Lucky Berene's 'Imrov Adjectives' on Spoonflower, and I'm thinking the little Liberty cars are actually taxis that I'll catch from the airport to the hotel in Austin.  

And now another Heather Ross Macaroni Love Story girl - this one is me, with my fortune-cookie-fortune coming true!  The 'cookie's fortune' fabric is one of the very awesome Amy's designs in her PennyCandy Spoonflower shop

At this point in the quilt (and just in this blog post alone - too many photos, anyone?!), you may need a little reminder of what you are looking at.  So - here is a Kei Kerchief girl to remind you that it's a 'large Australian quilt'.  Let's say it together slowly.  The kangaroos are another Terra Australis print - and I've just realised it's kind of fun that they're here - the Suzuko Koseki dictionary fabric has been fussy-cut from the definition of 'kangaroo' (yes, "a large Australian animal").  

Within the improv quilt design, I used four patterns.  I contacted each of the fabulous + talented designers to ask for their permission to use their patterns in the quilt, and very happily received approval from all of them.  First up are the HBo specs from the 'Get Your Geek On' pattern collection by the wonderful Sew-Ichigo ladies, Penny Layman and Kerry Green.  The specs-fabric is by Pam Kitty Morning and 'buy more fabric' is part of the fun 'Good Intentions' design by the lovely CeriGwen on Spoonflower

The scissors and thread are by the gorgeous Kristy Lea from Quiet Play (Kristy's Craftsy shop is here).  The 'letters of l-o-v-e' fabric is another design by Amy, from her Spoonflower shop - it's one of my absolute favourites of Amy's designs, which is saying something, as I love them all! 

And now it's time for the kitty underwear, surely an essential item for anyone travelling anywhere.  I bought the fabulous Lori Holt's (of Bee in My Bonnet) Support Group pattern, and then half-sized the 34B bra pattern to make this oh-I-wish-it-were-real bra. 

You can't have a kitty bra without kitty undies - I've heard those very words spoken by many people around the world, oh yes indeed.  The undies pattern is by Penny Layman - and I upsized them by 80%.

And now, the very last essential item, the bag.  I figured that making-and-taking-of your own patchwork bag to QuiltCon is going to be quite the thing to do, as it is for Quilt Market.  So I made one using some favourite fabrics, and for the bag's bottom, I cut up one of our cat&vee Material Girl panels in Cherry Red.  I really want to make this bag for real to take with me, that would be really fun. 

Once I'd finished the quilting, I stitched the bag's handle down to secure it.

And now the photo over-load is over.  If there are any fabric-details that I haven't mentioned, and that you would like to know about, please ask in the comments.  Hope your weekend has been great - in fact, why stop there, I hope your whole last two months have been great.   We'll be back soon, let's aim high.  xoxo cat

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