Ho, Ho, Ho and On We Sew – April

It’s the 18th and time for another monthly Ho, Ho, Ho and On We Sew link party. If you’re new to the party then you can read all about it here. This month’s link-up and associated giveaway is being hosted by Karen over at Practically Pippy so be sure to pop over and visit her.

After making a cufflink holder as a gift last month I had intended to make some fabric bowls this month but with Easter on the doorstep and several weeks of unseasonally warm and sunny spring weather behind me I must admit that I wasn’t too inspired to work on and of the festive fabric I had chosen for my bowls. So I put the festive ideas aside and with childrens’ gifts in mind I dug out some yardage of Tidny fabric that I had bought in Ikea last year.

Tidny1This is a really fun fabric that would appeal to most, if not all, of the children I know. There is something for everyone with designs of all sorts: from castles to farms and spaceships to submarines.

Tidny2Now if there is one thing I know about little children it is that they like to collect things. And carry things. Lots of things. So with that in mind I decided I would make a few simple tote bags with some of this fabric.

Ttotes2These bags were easily made. For each one I cut a 20 x 14″ rectangle that I folded in half. I then french seamed down the side and across the bottom to form the bag shape and added a nice deep double hem at the top. For a splash of colour I used red webbing for the straps.

Ttotes1Another thing I know about little people, or should I say the little people I know, is that they love to colour, and paint and draw. With that in mind I think that I shall be gifting these bags along with a set of fabric markers and closer to the time, and once I know the appropriate sizes, I will buy some plain white t-shirts to add to the bags so that they can not only decorate their bags themselves but they can also design their own t-shirts.

TtotespensTidnycolourHave you been getting ahead and making any Christmas gifts or decor items this month? If you have then be sure to pop over to Practically Pippy and share your makes in the link party. If you’ve not started yet then there is still plenty of time to do so as the link part remains open till the end of the month. I look forward to seeing your makes.

Fun Trips or Field Trips?

We’ve been out and about a lot over the past couple of weeks as I make the most of my son’s spring holidays. Earlier this week we took a trip to the nearby Papiliorama and I must admit that while the trip was mostly about fun for my little ones, it was also a bit of a field trip for me. For the boys the highlight of the trip was possibly the outdoor play area, followed closely by the tree top walk in the Jungle Trek area.

Mud, Pies and Pins Mud, Pies and PinsWhile I enjoyed every moment of my time outdoors and climbing up and down and up and down the stairs in the jungle I will admit that I could happily have spent many a happy hour in the Papiliorama section watching and photographing the butterflies and getting more ideas and inspiration for my butterfly designs. But even with all our running around I did manage to garner a little inspiration and will hopefully get working on some new designs next week.

Butterfly - Mud, Pies and Pins Butterfly - Mud, Pies and Pins Butterfly - Mud, Pies and Pins Butterfly - Mud, Pies and Pins Butterfly - Mud, Pies and PinsAlthough I’ve not been sewing too much of late I’ve still managed to add another EPP butterfly to my slowly growing collection. If you haven’t seen any of the earlier butterflies then you can find them all here.

EPP Butterfly in Liberty lawn pinks - Mud, Pies and PinsThe mini butterfly ATCs (artist trading cards) that I had been working on last month were finished, sent off, and delightfully received.

EPP Butterfly ATCs - Mud, Pies and PinsI followed these up with a third mini butterfly which I created as a Mother’s Day gift for my mum. Similar to the ATCs this butterfly was appliquéd to a mixed fabric background featuring an embroidered flower garden of beaded lazy daisies and french knots. I then mounted the finished piece on strong card and then framed it in a box frame. By gluing a piece of cork between the finished picture and the back of the frame it appears to almost float in the frame.

EPP Butterfly framed - Mud, Pies and PinsI’m delighted to say that with the addition of lots of buble wrap this little beauty survived the postal journey home to Ireland and that my mum was more than delighted with her gift, even if I was a little couple of weeks late in getting it to her.

Although my butterflies don’t really feature hexagons, or at least not regularly shaped hexagons, they are still all EPP with the odd hexagonish piece here and there so I’m linking up with this month’s Help for Hexie-aholics! over at Sarah Did It!

If any of you would like to try and make your own versions of my butterfy designs you’ll be delighted to know I’m in the process of finalising patterns for the first couple of designs at the moment. I hope to have these available within a couple of weeks once I hear back from all of my pattern testers.

Butterfly#1cover

Sunshine and Sassy in Spring – WiP Wednesday

My sewing space hasn’t seen too much of me the past two weeks. It’s spring holidays here which means my five year old is home from Kindergarten and we are all making the most of the beautiful spring weather that we’ve been having. Temperatures are unseasonally warm so instead of sewing we’ve been sowing. The boys have their own veg garden and I have reclaimed my greenhouse which was sadly neglected for over a year.

SassysowingThere have been trips to parks and the zoo as well as lots of playdates in the sunshine. All in all I couldn’t have asked for a nicer couple of weeks. And although I’ve not got much sewing time I don’t mind as there are only eight days to go till I head off on sewing retreat.

SassygardenNow while I am mostly organised for said sewing retreat, the one thing I am missing is a good way to transport my sewing machine as I will be taking the train. I had a look for sewing machine bags but couldn’t find anything I liked, or anythign that didn’t cost the earth so I had a quick look online and came across a great tutorial on Sew What? by Debbie Shore. Being me I had a quick read through the tutorial, then went off to design my own bag based on Debbie’s idea. As soon as I had decided I was going to make the bag I instantly knew what fabric I was going to use.

SassybundleI’ve had this bundle of Keep it Sassy sitting in my stash just waiting on the perfect project and this is defintiely it. Sunday evening I quickly got measuring (my machine) and cutting into the fat quarters and started sewing the outer cover of the bag. That started to come together pretty quicky but then I discovered I was out of the fusible fleece interlining I wanted to use and so I had to put it all aside till I got to the fabric shop. Not to be idle I decided I would make a quick lined and reversible tote from part of the panel that came with the Keep it Sassy bundle. It is going to be perfect for packing one of the projects I want to bring on retreat.

SassybagAlthough I got to the fabric store on Monday I’ve not had a chance to get back to the bag till now. I’ve finally added the fleece interling and straps to the outer cover and the zipped section is all ready to add.

Sassyflat Sassy with zip SassyfrontIsn’t it looking wonderful already. These fabrics really are so much fun, I think I’ll be using the rest of the bundle to make more bags, totes, buckets and the like. As we’ve more trips planned over the next couple of days I’m not sure I’ll get back to finishing this bag till next week, but one way or another I’m sure I’ll get it finished in time for my trip.

Linking up with Lee’s Work in Progress Wednesday over at Freshly Pieced. Hope to see you there.

 

Flying in Circles

I’ve been English Paper Piecing again. I took a break from the butterflies to create a dragonfly. I put aside the Libery lawns in favour of some batiks.

EPP Dragonfly Quilt "Flying in Circles" | Mud, Pies and PinsI created the dragonfly using EPP techniques. The body section is composed of seven individual pieces, each pair of wings is made up of 21 pieces and combines three different fabrics.

EPP Dragonfly Quilt "Flying in Circles" | Mud, Pies and PinsFor the quilting I decided I would simply stitch overlapping spirals. The end result, although not quite perfect, is effective in adding a fluidity to the background.

EPP Dragonfly Quilt "Flying in Circles" | Mud, Pies and PinsWhile stitching the inner parts of the spirals was easy it became more difficult to track their progress as they passed through the dragonfly. When I do this again, which I will, I will make much greater use of my magic pens in sketching out the more difficult parts of the spirals before I stitch them.

EPP Dragonfly Quilt "Flying in Circles" | Mud, Pies and PinsDespite this one little hiccup I am still more than pleased with how this mini quilt, “Flying in Circles”, has turned out.

EPP Dragonfly Quilt "Flying in Circles" | Mud, Pies and PinsThis little beauty has soared off to a new home, but I don’t think it will be the only dragonfly that I will create. The freshwater biologist part of me has always admired these beautiful creatures and I am rather in love with the idea of having one all of my very own.

Linking up with Sew Cute Tuesday over at Blossom Heart Quilts and this month’s “in hand” EPP link party over at Splish Splash Stash.

Secret Sewing

In just under three weeks I’m off on my first ever sewing retreat and I can hardly wait. Patchwork in The Peaks 5 is an Alpine Quilt Retreat being hosted by the lovely Elita from Busy Needle Quilting and it sounds like it’s going to be the perfect weekend getaway.

One of the workshops that we’ll be doing at the retreat is the “Peaks Mystery Quilt”. We’ve been sent the fabric requirements and instructions on two steps to complete before we arrive at Peaks but that’s all we know about this mystery project. In addition to fabrics for sashing, borders, binding and backing we were to select a focus fabric and up to five coordinating fabrics for our quilt. So I went through the list of requirements, went through my stash and decided I was going to use fabrics from Sandy Gervais’s Snap Pop range as I have a nice selection in my stash.

Snap PopI ordered some extra coordinating fabric I would need for the borders and then once I had everything in place and was ready to cut and sew the pieces in the two steps we were to complete before the retreat I threw all my plan out the window and started ove. Why? Because of three little words, those three little words that just melt your heart: “I love you”.

I should explain. Yesterday I was discussing the retreat on the phone with my Mum and when I got off the phone my five year old son told me tearfully that he didn’t want me to do away for so long. When I told him he would have great fun doing lots of activities with his Daddy he said he knew and that he was looking forward to that but he still didn’t want me to go. When I asked him why he simply said “Because I love you”. There were hugs, and chats and more hugs and he’s slowly coming around to the idea. I have now decided that I am going to make the mystery quilt for him for being so brave and letting Mummy go away for a whole weekend.

This morning was the last morning of Kindergarten before the spring holidays and I decided it was the perfect oppertunity to get all organised while my little man was out of the house. I quickly went through my stash and pulled out a fat quarter bundle of Stonehenge Out of This World by Linda Ludovico for Northcott Fabrics.

OOTWbundle

I got cutting and sewing and the first two steps of the project have been completed. The pieces and the remaining fabrics are all safely packaged up out of sight and ready for the retreat. I’ve put in a last minute online order for some border and backing fabrics (last minute because post from the US can be slow at times) and hopefully by the time I return home I’ll have a wonderful quilt to gift my little man. I am making the wall hanging size, but at 41.5″ square I think it will make a perfect lap quilt for him for now. Perfect for cuddling up on the sofa reading books or watching the odd movie.

OOTWstartI’m fairly excited and intrigued by this project. Oh, and did I mention that some of the fabrics from the range glow in the dark? Not only that but the sashing fabrics does as well! I think I can defintiely say this finished quilt will be “Out of This World”.

Linking up to Can I get a Whoop Whoop? over at Confessions of a Fabric Addict as this is defintiely something that makes me happy today.

cooltext whoop whoop