Ho, Ho, Ho and on We Sew – May

Welcome to the May installment of Ho, Ho, Ho and On we Sew. For those of you who may be new to my blog let me give you a quick introduction to Ho, Ho, Ho and On we Sew. Back in January myself and Fiona over at Celtic Thistle Stitches decided that this year we were determined to be much more organised for Christmas than we were last year and we came upon the idea of holding monthly link up parties where we would share the decor and gift items we were making for Christmas 2014 and encourage you to get creating with us.

Each link party is being hosted by a different guest blogger who posts a tutorial on a gift or decor item, and each month we have a prize to give to one randomly selected linker. This month’s giveaway prize is thanks to the lovely people over at the Fat Quarter Shop who have given us a mini charm pack of 25th and Pine, the great new line of festive fabrics from Basic Grey.

fatquartershop25thandpineThe link parties open on the 18th of each month and close on the last day of that month. This month the link party is being hosted by Sian, who blogs with Simi over at buttons and paint. Sian’s tutorial is for an upcycled tie pouch, a really clever project that uses any old ties you might have lying around. Beut before you let me share with you my makes for the month.

Last month I was making bags for the little ones, this month it’s totes for the grown-ups. Now I don’t want to show you the bags that I actually made, as some of the recipients do tend to pop in and read my blog from time to time, but I can show you the another two very similar totes that I made at the same time.

Sassybags These were made for my two sisters earlier this month, one as part of a birthday gift, and the other one just because I could. I have to admit it wasn’t all plain sailing when I was making these bags. I started by getting in some practice with my latest new toy – the Olfa circle rotary cutter.

SassycirclesOnce I had cut out two circles from some Keep it Sassy fabric by Olive Sandwiches I attached them to the outer fabric for the bags, pieced the bodies of the two bags, boxed off the corners, and then I realised I had stupidly boxed the corners too much. Way too much.

SassyboxedNow this wouldn’t have been too bad if I hadn’t already trimmed them. I don’t know what possessed me! Seam-ripper-to-the-rescue-time. I opened up those seam, lopped off the bottom and added new bottoms to the bags in black fabric. Turns out it wasn’t just crisis-avoided-time after all, it was in fact massive-improvement-on-the-original-design-time. Happy days.

SassycorrectionsI quickly set about improving the linings of the bags to match. Yes I had made linings as I wanted the bags to be reversible, and yes I had also boxed them out without checking how they were going to look. I had alreday trimmed the top of the linings with the red fabric I had used on the outer parts of the bag so I added more of the same to the bottom of the bag and you have to admit that adding the red band to the bottom gives them a lovely symmetry. I used some Priscilla in Orange from Jennifer Paganelli’s Crazy Love Collection for one of the bags and Denyse Schmidt’s Florence for the other.

SassyliningThese two bags were very well recevied by my sisters and can only hope that the Christmas versions will be just as well received when they finally make their way to their intended recipients.

Now it’s your turn – have you been making anything for Christmas this month? Perhaps you need some inspiration, in which case I can recommend you pop over to buttons and paint and have a look at Sian’s upcycled tie pouch or why not visit some of the tutorials from the previous months. There’s still plenty of time for you to get creating this month and to join in the link party. Hope to see you there.

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.

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.


Mixing Geometry and Totes

Last year I had such fun in the Secret Tote Bag Swap Round 2, hosted by Lia over at Lia’s Handmades that I couldn’t resist signing up for Round 3 earlier this year. The theme for this swap was “geometry” and I decided to follow it by including geometrics in both my design and in the fabrics I choose to use. This was a secret swap but I knew from my partner’s information that she liked boxy styled totes and I also figured from the information I had that she like geometric prints, as well as greens and blues. Armed with all of this information I couldn’t resist using yet more of the beautiful blue and green linens I had recently purchased and teaming them up with some coordinating fabrics which included fabrics from Denyse Schmidt’s Florence and Shelburne Falls lines, Michael Miller’s tiny gingham, Textures by Angela Walters as well as a print from the Gone Fishing line by Benartex. The result was a boxy linen tote in blues and green featuring blocks of plain fabric and accents in the form of scattered circles on the front of the tote.

Tote3frontThe design was very much my own and was pretty much created as I stitched. I wanted to make a bag with clean lines and defined shapes and I think that I succeeded in that respect. I kept the back of the bag unadorned, opting not to repeat the random scattering of circles I had used on the front, although I did insert a zippered pocket at the join of the two main fabrics.

Tote3backI created the bag with a recessed zippered top and there is plenty of storage inside. In addition to the external zippered pocket I also added some patch pocets on the inside.

Tote3innerAs an extra gift for my partner I made a small matching zippered pouch which should come in handy if a little extra storage is needed. I also included a couple of sewing notions and a small sweet treat in the bag.

Tote3pouchAs ever I have had great fun getting my creative hat on and have thoroughly enjoyed designing and making this tote. The bag and it’s contents are now en route to my partner and I do hope she will love it every bit as I already do. I cannot honestly get enough of these linen fabrics and how well the mix with each other and with so many of the fabrics in my stash. I will defintely have to make a similar bag for myself, and probably lots more besides.

Linking up with Sew Cute Tuesday over at Blossom Heart Quilts. Hope to see you there.

Tote Received

Tuesday was a rather dull and damp day here but was brightened no end by the arrival of the parcel delivery that morning. The postman brought with him a large white box, all the way from Florida, and in it was this beauty, the tote my partner in The Secret Tote Bag Swap had made from me.


Isn’t it a beauty? Linda couldn’t have made a more perfect bag for me. Not only are the colours perfect, purple and teal are two of my favourite colours and I just adore them combined, but the fabric choices couldn’t be better as I absolutely adore Carrie Bloomston’s Collage. The size and shape too are just right. Ideal for a busy mum who not only has to carry around her own things but has to fit in a few bits and pieces for two little boys.

Have you noticed the decor on the flap of the bag? How clever is that? It’s not a clasp but the weight keeps the bag closed, and it is so unique and quite stunning.


Inside there were more surprises for me. First was this beautiful pouch. I love the details of the paper pieced bird and that there is even a little feather zipper pull. This is going to be perfect for my current crochet project. It’s living in a ziploc bag at the moment as it moves in and out of my bag so now I can ditch the plastic in favour of this lovely pouch.


The pouch contained the final few surprises. There was a stack of fabric pieces along with an adorable measuring tape and stitch unpicker in purple. Did I mention that I just LOVE purple!


There are some leftover fabrics from the bag as well as some pieces of Urban Oasis by Benartex, also in teal and purple. I’m thinking that it won’t be long before I transform these into something else fabulous!


I must say that I have enjoyed taking part in this swap no end. I enjoyed making a bag for my own secret partner, watching all the different totes in their various stages of construction as people posted in the swap Flickr group, and of course receiving such a wonderful surprise in the post. I loved this tote from the moment I first saw photos of it under construction and I am so delighted that I will now get to enjoy and use it.