Friday, November 28, 2014

Free December Calendar

Christmas preparations are fully underway: menus are planned, cards written, gifts are ready to be wrapped and decorations are being made......we are REALLY looking forward to the festive season :) It's also time for your free December calendar:
This month's photo is of the cake I made for Christmas lunch last year:
The cake is a Raspberry and White Chocolate Cake and I covered it in buttercream and shredded coconut. The Santa and Snowman were purchased from the cake decorating aisle at the supermarket (Woolworths for Australian readers) and I made the trees by piping Royal Icing onto ice cream cones and sprinkling on a few cachous. The snowflakes and snowballs are rolled and cut from ready made icing (I inserted the wire strips into the snowflakes before they dried, so they would "float" above the cake). A fun little cake to make, which was yummy and all the kids loved :)
This months quote is so apt for the Christmas Season. I can think of nothing more perfect than spending this time with my family; its the ultimate gift :)
To download and print this months free calendar, just visit HERE.
I hope you have enjoyed the 2014 calendar's..........they will continue during 2015.
Wishing you and your family a wonderful December and all the fun, love and joy it has to offer :)

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Chatelaine- Free BOW Sampler Quilt Block 6

This weeks lovely block is an adapted version of the Rising Star block (featuring the crystal star block as the centre). I do love intricate star blocks and I chose this one because I think its a beautiful block which has many possibilities.
Feel free to play around with colour placement on this one; I've kept it quite open, using lots of white homespun but you could change the whole effect but adding more colour. Have fun with it :)
To download your free pattern, just visit HERE.
For all of us, the coming weeks are going to be very busy as we prepare for the festive season ahead.............the next few blocks I have planned for you, will be quick and easy to piece, so you have more time for other things. I'll also take a little break over Christmas/New Year to spend with my family,so there will be plenty of time to catch up if you need to :)

Piecing and Trimming:

You will notice as you work through my patterns, that I include measurements for completed units as we piece a block together. As a rule, I sew, check and trim every unit I sew to eliminate any piecing problems.
When working on smaller blocks with lots of pieces, its very easy to gain or lose in your seam allowances, so checking measurements as you work, is important and if units don't quite fit, its easier to identify any problems.
I trim all my units with my square, rotary cutter and a 360 degree rotating mat (I find this easier but its not essential). When trimming, be very careful not to trim into seam allowances or to cut of any points.
Checking your units measurements as you sew, should help identify and fix any problems along the way :) but even if you do cut off a point or a seam just doesn't match perfectly, don't stress......just have fun and keep going :)

Monday, November 24, 2014

DIY Poinsettia Napkin Rings

Christmas is the time to break out your lovely linens, your good china, cutlery and glassware and set a beautiful table to share with family and friends. For me, there's as much planning involved in the table setting as there is in the actual menu; and its the part I love the best.
Pinterest is a constant source of inspiration and I found some lovely crocheted Poinsettia Napkin Rings HERE. Knowing I didn't have the time to crochet enough for our Christmas table, I decided to use her pattern as inspiration for some napkin rings of my own:
The kids love to be involved in the choosing/making and displaying of our Christmas decorations, so we grabbed some felt, some glue, some pretty buttons and began creating our own napkin rings.
The ring, housing the napkins, is also made from felt and we added a strip cut from an empty toilet roll to give the rings some stability, or you could use some elastic hair ties or pretty ribbons if you prefer.
We had a lot of fun making these, and we thought you might as well:

To download the PDF file with template and instructions, just visit HERE.
Our table setting theme this year, is red, white and gold so these work perfectly for us but you could adapt the pattern to suit your own theme; maybe add some green leaves, or use beads instead of buttons, or add some stitchery to the flower petals or napkin ring.....the possibilities are really only limited by your own imagination (and time restraints).
So gather some supplies, grab the kids and have some fun :)

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Chatelaine- Free BOW Sampler Quilt Block 5

We are up to Block 5 of my free Chatelaine Block of the Week Quilt and I've seen some lovely versions of these cute little blocks. I'm loving everyone's fabric choices and I'm so glad that you are enjoying sewing each block :) If you are joining in, don't forget to share your blocks on Instagram using the hashtag #chatelainebow so we can all have a look/swoon.

This weeks super gorgeous block is Grandmother's Pride. I love the simplicity of this traditional block and I have used it quite often in other projects. Some pretty squares and simple setting triangles are all you need to make this lovely block.
To download and print this weeks free block pattern, just visit HERE.

Pressing Seams:

How you press your seams, is personal preference and there's a lot of debate between pressing seams to the side or whether its better to press them open. Ideally I like to press my seams to the side, usually towards the dark fabric, which creates a "loft". This makes matching seams so much easier as they butt against each other and fit snugly together, like jigsaw pieces.
Because I machine quilt my own quilts on a domestic machine, I do find it necessary to press some seams open. This alleviate the bulk so it doesn't affect the quilting, break my needle or leave a "bump" on the finished project, due to the denser free motion quilting I tend to do.
If I'm hand piecing and hand quilting, I like to press my seams open as its easier to match the seams and then they lie nice and flat so you can "rock" the needle through when quilting by hand.
I do include pressing directions in my patterns but use these as a guide only. They are helpful if you are new to piecing, but do what works best for you and what you are more comfortable with. There are no real rules in quilting and every project is different :)

Monday, November 17, 2014

Free Christmas Subway Art

Before the advent of Christianity, evergreen trees and plants had special meaning to people during winter. Boughs were hung over doors and windows as it was believed that they would ward off witches, ghosts, evil spirits and illness.
Today we bring pine, spruce and fir trees, into our homes and decorate them with beautiful ornaments, cookies, lights, popcorn, tinsel etc. to celebrate the festive season.
The Christmas tree is the pinnacle of home decorating, and our tree is quite old, yet full of memories. Every year it's branches are laden with decorations, new and old, brought and handmade and each and every ornament has its own little story.
To add to our decorating this year, I've designed some free subway art, in the shape of a tree and I'm sharing it with you:
Simply download the PDF file HERE, and print the full page onto medium card stock. Cut out the subway art and its ready to pop into a 8" x 10" frame and add to your Christmas decorations.
Happy decorating :)

Friday, November 14, 2014

I'm Hooked

Mum taught me to crochet when I was a teenager but until recently, it wasn't something that I chose to explore. After a few very helpful "You Tube" tutorials, to refresh my skills, I picked up the hook and a new obsession began :)
I'm halfway through my current project, Coastal Ripple:
This pattern is from Attic 24 and its such a fun blanket to crochet. I'm making this for Cohen and he's quite eager to have me finish, even though summer is fast approaching. I've kept the colours "boyish" which has been a lovely contrast from the "girlie" colours I had been working with for Maddi's Primavera Blanket:
I finished this one a few weeks ago and its so pretty and a great addition to Maddi's room :)
Add these to the scarves I have crocheted:
And my Sunburst Blanket:
And it's been a busy winter/spring working with the hook. It's very relaxing while watching TV with the family and I love that it's portable so I can take what I'm working on wherever I go: I just have to keep my hands busy :)
Once the Coastal Ripple is done, I have a new stash of brightly coloured wool, ready to work on another of Attic 24's patterns called Cosy. If you haven't before, go and check out her site, its very inspiring and the patterns are gorgeous :) I'm hooked!

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Chatelaine- Free BOW Sampler Quilt Block 4


This weeks sampler block is the gorgeous Cats and Mice block. I love the secondary pattern of the star which appears in the centre of this block. If you altered your colour placement, by swapping out the pink in the hourglass blocks for some more white, it would really make the star "pop" but I love this combination; makes it subtle.
You will be working with smaller pieces this time and the overall effect is lovely. This block will be a great addition to the sampler blocks you have made so far :)
To download and print this weeks free block pattern, just visit HERE.

Don't Be Afraid of the 1/8"

We are all familiar with the 1/4", 1/2" and 3/4" markings on our rulers but those pesky little 1/8", 3/8", 5/8 and 7/8" markings can be daunting and some people opt to not try a block or a pattern because of them. In this weeks pattern, I've included a little diagram for you to print and keep near your cutting table, as a reference for finding these little markings on your ruler.
Love them or hate them, if you use them often enough they will become "second nature" and you will no longer fear the pesky 1/8" :)