Ho, Ho, Ho and On We Sew – July

It’s July and for many that means Christmas in July and time to get started on sewing for the end of year festive season. For those of us taking part in Ho, Ho, Ho and On We Sew, however, it means that we are seven months into our festive sewing and well on our way to being organised for the end of year festivities.

Ho Ho Ho button photo As always there is a monthly link party for those who have been sewing away and this month the party is being co-hosted by Martha over at Weekend Doings and Chelsea at Patch the Giraffe. Both ladies have great ideas to share: Martha has shared her pattern for an envelope bag, perfect for storing stationary, ipads or other tablet devices; while Chelsea has a tutorial for the cutest Christmas pillows.

The link party will be open till the end of the month as usual and don’t forget that if you join in the fun and link up your makes you will be in with a chance to win this month’s link up giveaway which is being sponsored by the Fat Quarter Shop who are giving one lucky winner the chance to pick their favourite from the Fat Quarter Shop’s range of mini charm packs. Fat Quarter ShopI wish that I could say that I was as organised as Martha and Chelsea this month but I have to be honest and say that I have barely picked up a needle. We’ve been enjoying/surviving what I can truly say is the most amazing of summers and all thoughts of sewing have just been abandoned for now. I’m sure that once things cool down again I’ll get back to it with renewed vigour. In the meantime I look forward to seeing what you all have sewn and if you haven’t done any festive sewing yet then don’t fret as there is still plenty of time left to get sewing and to link up your makes.



Following on from last week’s EPP pouch swap post I thought I would tell you all about the #IGNeedleBookSwap that I recently took part in. I do so love needle books, and I definitely have nowhere near enough of them. Ideally I think I need a couple for my sewing room to store collections of needles and then after that I need a whole selection of smaller needle books to keep in individual project pouches. As I sew, quilt, embroider, knit, crochet and cross stitch depending on my mood I own quite a selection of needles and needless to say I don’t have anywhere near enough needlebooks to keep them properly sorted. I really don’t know why I don’t make more of them myself as they are a relatively quick and easy make, but I think that, as is the case with so many other projects, I put off sewing for myself if there is a chance to sew for others. As a result when I saw that @SameliasMum was hosting a needle book swap over on Instagram I was quick to sign up.

#IGNeedleBookSwap | Mud, Pies and PinsAs with so many of the swaps that I join this was a secret swap, meaning that I was not making for the same person that was making for me. My swap partner indicated that she did not like animal print or gold or silver but liked most other things so I pretty much had free reign when it came to choosing fabrics and designs. I still had some pieces of Kate Spain’s Horizon fabrics and some assorted orange scraps sitting around from the summer pillow I had made for the Four Season’s Pillow Swap (more about that soon), so I couldn’t resist using those. For the cover of the needle book I went with a simple 3×4 arrangement of 1″ squares that I quilted using a decorative stitch. For the rest of the cover I used some grunge fabrics, left over from the EPP pouch.

#IGNeedleBookSwap | Mud, Pies and PinsI choose some pale green felt for the pages and decorated them with assorted ribbons and trims.

#IGNeedleBookSwap | Mud, Pies and Pins#IGNeedleBookSwap | Mud, Pies and PinsI included pockets on the inside of the front and back covers, perfect for holding notions, needle threaders, or even a little pair of foldable scissors that, complete with a bottonholed fob, would also attach to a button on the back inside cover of the needlebook to ensure they wouldn’t fall out in transit.

#IGNeedleBookSwap | Mud, Pies and PinsAs an added extra I decided I would make a small pouch to match/hold the needle book, along with a small strawberry style pincushion.

IGNBS9I packed them all together along with a spool of Aurifil 50wt #4553 and as my parcel was travelling all the way to Mexico I included a little bit of Switzerland in the form of a fabric handkerchief decorated with edelweiss.

#IGNeedleBookSwap | Mud, Pies and Pins #IGNeedleBookSwap | Mud, Pies and Pins #IGNeedleBookSwap | Mud, Pies and PinsI was delighted to hear that my parcel was received with much delight by my partner and I’m sure she will enjoy using it’s contents for a long time to come.

From my partner I received a beautiful felt needle book that was completely hand stitched. As it is a larger book I have decided that it is perfect for some stay at home storage and although it came with some hand stitching needles this book has actually now been now dedicated to my knitting/wool needles which were badly in need of a home. There is a very clever little scissors holder included, so I have popped in the small pair of scissors that I usually keep for snipping wool threads when I am finishing off knitted items.

#IGNeedleBookSwap | Mud, Pies and PinsIncluded with the needle book were a selection of other sewing goodies that have also become very useful additions to my knitting bag. It now has it’s own pincushion and tape measure, so no more stealing from my sewing table, and there is a nice selection of buttons that are just waiting to embellish a new make. Even the little notebook was added to the bag. No more scraps of paper with scribbled notes on new designs for me!


I hope you have enjoyed hearing all about the fun I had with the #IGNeedleBookSwap. There are still more swap stories to tell so I hope to see you back here soon for the next instalment.


EPP Pouch Swap

Time to play catch-up here I think. We’ve been enjoying a wonderful summer here so far and while that means we’re getting in lots and lots of fun garden and pool time it also means I’m staying far away from my computer and my blog. But now, as we experience a major heatwave, well major for us, I’m taking a little break from the garden, escaping the sun for a while and trying to play catch up with some blog posts.

As I am sure you all know only too well by now if there is one thing I do a lot of it is hand sewing. When first I tried English Paper Piecing (EPP) I was unconvinced that it was a method of sewing that I would enjoy. How wrong I was! Those first few hexies started my addiction with EPP and designing my own EPP projects. Because EPP is something that I can do pretty much anywhere any time I like to keep some pouches filled with supplies for whatever projects I am working on at a given time, and yes I usually have a few different projects on the go at one time.

English Paper Piecing | Mud, Pies and PinsAt the moment, for example, I am finishing up a mini quilt for the IG #handpiecedminiswap and another project for the #selfishswap; I have started trial piecing some maple leaves for the Flickr based Four Seasons Pillow Swap; I have my long-term project, the sun prints quilt; and finally there is my Liberty hexie collection – I try to always have a selection of ¼” and 1” Liberty hexies basted and ready to sew with just in case. What I work on usually depends on how much time I have available and whether or not there is an upcoming deadline.

English Paper Piecing | Mud, Pies and PinsBecause I have so many different projects on the go it helps if I have plenty of pouches in which I can pack the supplies for each individual project. However, I regularly find that there is no such thing as too many pouches. As a result I am always happy to add more to my collection and have found that swaps are a great way of doing so. One of latest additions came courtesy of the EPP swap group on Flickr of which I am a member. In the latest swap round we all made pouches to swap.

English Paper Piecing | Mud, Pies and PinsI received this gorgeous pouch from my partner and not only did she make me a beautiful pouch but she also filled it with lots of fabric goodies.

English Paper Piecing | Mud, Pies and Pins English Paper Piecing | Mud, Pies and PinsAs this was a secret swap I wasn’t making a pouch for the same person who created for me. When I first started to EPP I was playing around with hexie butterfly designs and decided I would dig into my hexie collection to recreate one of these for my partners pouch.

English Paper Piecing | Mud, Pies and PinsI chose a Grunge Basic fabric for the outer shell of the pouch and to this I appliquéd the butterfly, thread stitched some antennae, and quilted the whole with vertical wavy lines before going on to create a zippered pouch lined with Makower’s Sew Retro Vintage Pattern fabric in teal.

English Paper Piecing | Mud, Pies and PinsI added a detachable wrist strap to add portability to the pouch and as an added extra tucked a charm pack of Paris Flea Market fabric inside.

English Paper Piecing | Mud, Pies and PinsI do hope that my partner is getting as much use and enjoyment out of her pouch as I am out of mine. It currently holds the pieces for my #handpiecedminiswap and is well travelled as I have been working on this project a lot on my commute to and from work.

English Paper Piecing | Mud, Pies and PinsI hope you have enjoyed reading about my most recent pouch swap. Next up will be needlebooks. Hope to see you back here then.

Ho, Ho, Ho and On We Sew – June

It’s the 18th which means it’s time for the monthly Ho, Ho, Ho, and On We Sew link party.

Ho Ho Ho button photoThis month the party is being hosted by Ruth over at Charly and Ben’s Crafty Corner. You’ll want to check this one out as Ruth has designed a beautiful single block 72″ square quilt that she calls “So Frosty!” and she is sharing the pattern with us all. It’s a brilliant design, one that will sew up quickly and would be perfect for any time of year, not just Christmas. As the pattern includes the use of a lot of flying geese Ruth has also shared a tutorial for the no waste method which makes 4 flying geese at a time. There’s defintiely no excuse not to try this one out.

The link party will be open till the end of the month as usual and don’t forget that if you join in the fun and link up your makes you will be in with a chance to win this month’s link up giveaway which is being sponsored by the Fat Quarter Shop who are giving one lucky winner the chance to pick their favourite from the Fat Quarter Shop’s range of mini charm packs. Fat Quarter Shop

I look forward to seeing what you all have sewn and if, like me, you haven’t done any festive sewing yet this month then don’t fret as there is still plenty of time left to get sewing and to link up your makes. Maybe you’ll make a So Frosty block quilt?


Home Sweet Home – Fabric ATC Swap

I’ve taken part in several swaps so far this year, and I’m sure you’ve seen sneak peeks of most of them here or on Instagram. Now that most have been completed I can finally start to share all of the items that I made and the beautiful items that I received in return. Today I’m sharing some fabric ATCs that I made for the latest round of the Very Berry Handmade ATC swap, the theme of which was “Home Sweet Home”.

As with most of the swaps I take part in this was a secret swap so we don’t make for the same person that is making for us. Inspired by a quick browse through Flickr and Pinterest I decided I wanted to go with a bird’s house theme for my ATC. I picked a Northcott Stonehenge fabric for the background, some Liberty lawns for the applique and then dug out my embroidery cottons for the embelishment.

BirdhouseThis was the finished card that went out to my partner. As I watched the photos of various ATCs appear on the Flickr swap group it turned out that I wasn’t alone in picking a bird’s house as the theme for this swap. A couple of other really beautiful similarly themed cards had appeared and I was more than thrilled when one of them turned up in my postbox.

TreeThe thread stitching on this card is just magnificent, and it really brings it to life beautifully. I am so very delighted to be able to call this card my own and to add it to my collection.

Although I had both sent and received a card at this stage that wasn’t the end of the swap for me. I was asked to be an Angel for another swapper who hadn’t received a card as the one intended for her disappeared in the mail somewhere. I was happy to oblige, as I had actually already made a second ATC soon after the first.

ToadstoolAs I was selecting fabrics for and stitching the bird’s house I couldn’t help but think how well the Liberty lawns would work for a toadstool fairy house and I couldn’t resist also trying out that idea. And I was glad that I had when I was asked to be an Angel as I was able to pop the card straight in the post and I’m glad to say that it did arrive safely at it’s destination.

To date there have been six rounds of the Very Berry ATC swap and I’m thrilled to have taken part in all but the first (I didn’t discover the swap till round two). My collection of ATCs is growing beautifully, and although all are not exactly to size I do not mind as I am more than thrilled with the beauty of each and every one.

ATCsI do hope that the collection will continue to grow and you can be sure that if there are more rounds of this swap that I will be happily joining in.