Thursday, December 24, 2015

Merry Christmas ♥

"The best of all gifts around any Christmas tree: the presence of a happy family
all wrapped up in each other."- Burton Hills
From my family to yours, wishing you all a very Merry Christmas. May this festive season be filled with peace, joy, love and sweet blessings. ♥

Monday, December 21, 2015

Palette Mini Quilt + Your Free January 2016 Calendar

For 2016, I wanted something fun and new for the blog, so I decided to release a new Monthly Mini, which will coincide with my free monthly calendar. The new design will feature on each calendar and patterns will be available to purchase as a PDF file, at a discounted and introductory price, until the next calendar.
I have designed a lovely, eclectic group of mini quilts which I hope you love as much as I do. So without further ado (and early due to Christmas) I'm excited to share the first one with you, the January Mini Quilt, Palette:
Designing a rainbow quilt had been on my wish list for some time but this one wasn't planned; it came together as I was choosing fabrics. I'm so happy with how it turned out, because I love it and it was so much fun to work on.
Palette finishes at around 16" square and it is Jelly Roll friendly, which is perfect to use up some of those scraps we have left over from other projects, Add some lovely white homespun and your all set to complete the mini quilt top.
This is a paper pieced pattern with four easily pieced sections and it all goes together quite quickly. I've also included a colouring sheet, which will assist you in the planning of your colour placement and fabrics. The pieced borders are lovely and simple and add that special touch to complete the quilt:
Mini quilts make lovely wall displays but you could also use the patterns as a cushion front, the front panel of a bag, a table topper or you could make multiple blocks and add some sashing to create a lovely full sized quilt.
From today until the end of January 2016, PDF patterns will be available at the discounted price of $4.95, in my usual store HERE.
Or, I'm trialing an Etsy shop I opened in 2007 and never used, so if you prefer an instant download, patterns are also available HERE.
And I also have your free January calendar:
To download and print your free calendar, just visit HERE.
I hope you love my first Monthly Mini pattern for 2016. I had so much fun designing and sewing this mini and it now hangs proudly (and brightly) on my studio wall :)
Happy sewing :)

Wednesday, December 16, 2015

Chatelaine- Free BOW Sampler Quilt Block 59

This weeks gorgeous block is Grandma's Spool. Spool blocks are very popular and there are many variations, but this one is definitely my favorite. I love how the background defines the spool and makes it the main focus of the block. You can play around with colour placement on this one and see how the block changes.
Its a lovely quick and easy block to sew and I thought it would be the perfect block to end on for 2015. I am taking a little three week break from my Chatelaine Blocks, while I do all those last minute preparations for Christmas and spend time with my little family, as we wind down after a busy but fun year :)
I will resume sharing blocks for our Chatelaine quilts, again on January 6, 2016. Next year I'll also be sharing suggestions for the layout and border options, so we can finish our quilts.
To download this weeks free pattern, just visit HERE.
I will pop back in to the blog from time to time, during my break, because I have other things scheduled to share with you, including a new pattern and the start of my free 2016 calendar.
But until then, happy sewing :)

Friday, December 11, 2015

Matchbook Needle Keeps- Tutorial

Last year, I found (HERE), some DIY Matchbook Needle Keeps. I made a few of them and popped them into the Christmas Cards I mailed to my "crafty" friends. They were a hit, so I thought I'd make some more for this year. You may have seen them before, but if not, I have put together a little tutorial, so you can make some too.
These keepers are so much fun to make and very quick and easy, using only a few supplies which you may already have in your craft cupboards. They are great to keep in your sewing/knitting or crocheting bag, the car, your handbag or wherever you need to have a needle or two on hand.
I decided to make them in two sizes this year. I kept mine plain but you could embellish them with some lovely scrap booking supplies or ric rac, ribbons, or buttons. You could also personalize them with a hand written message or quote on the inside cover; your choices are only limited by your own imagination.
So lets get started and grab some supplies. You will need:

  • assorted card stock in pretty colours and patterns.
  • felt
  • rotary cutter, quilting square and cutting mat
  • pinking shears (optional)
  • stapler
  • decorations (optional)
For the large needle keep you will need to cut:
  • 1 x 3" x 5 3/4" rectangle of card stock
  • 1 x 2 1/2" x 2 3/4" rectangle of felt 
For the small needle keep you will need to cut:
  • 1 x 2" x 5 3/4" rectangle of card stock
  • 1 x 2 1/2" x 2 3/4" rectangle of felt
After cutting the felt, I trimmed around three sides, with pinking shears, to give the felt a decorative edge. The following folding instructions apply to either size keeper:
With the wrong side facing you and using your quilting square, measure, mark and fold the bottom edge up 3/4" . Measure, mark and fold the top edge down 2 1/4". Ensure all your folds are nice and crisp.
Insert the felt under the bottom fold and staple into place to secure. Add a few needles, if you like and then slide the top cover under the bottom edge to close the needle keep :)
That's it! In just a few minutes you have a cute little gift to add to Christmas Cards or to pop in a stocking for your craft minded friends and I'm sure they will love them :)

Wednesday, December 9, 2015

Chatelaine- Free Chatelaine BOW Sampler Quilt Block 58

This weeks gorgeous block is Odd Scraps Patchwork. This block reminds me that quilts were originally made using whatever scraps where on hand. Now days we buy the perfect fabrics for specific projects, ignoring what we may already have, even though we loved it enough to purchase it.
One of my goals for 2016, is to use my stash as much as I can. Sometimes, I wonder just how many quilts can be made from the fabric I have (and I wouldn't consider my stash large), so it will be interesting to see what I can create.
I really wanted to include this block in our quilts but I was undecided on the easiest way to present the pattern to you. I settled on giving you three options to achieve the perfect sized block and you can choose what one works best for you.
Because of the Math, its another of those blocks that needs to be taken to the nearest 1/16" and there is no way to "fluff" this one. I chose this option, so if you are confident to give it a try, the cutting guide is included in the pattern file.
If that option doesn't appeal to you, I've also included a template sheet, so you can cut the exact size shapes and I've also included paper piecing templates; both of these options will give you a perfect finish.
If you have any concerns, just email me and I will try and help you complete your block
To download this weeks pattern, including all three options, just visit HERE.
I have one more block for you for 2015 and then I'll take a little break until early January, but more on that next week :)
Happy sewing :)

Monday, December 7, 2015

Greg CAL Update

In the last few installments of the Greg Mystery CAL, I have been working on four of the large feature squares, called BOB:
This was my progress after the first installment. I fell in love with these squares, instantly and with each installment, I added something new to love.
I love the corner detail that was added at the end of Part 2. Each installment was quite quick and easy to complete and every Monday, I was anxiously awaiting a new part to be delivered to my inbox.
So over the four weeks my BOB squares were completed and these are lovely. They finish at 15" square and were the last squares of the CAL. I was eager to join mine all together and uncover the mystery, so last night I sat up late until I had sewn the final stitches
I was thrilled with the end result and all I need to do now is add a border and my Greg blanket is complete. It was such a fun project to work on and I'm sure sometime in the future I will make another, but for now I need to add the seven row, final border.
Back to the hook :)

Friday, December 4, 2015

Almond And Orange Bars

I love a good crunchy Biscotti but my family doesn't enjoy the dryness of this twice baked Italian biscuit. A few years ago, I was given a recipe for some Almond and Orange Bars and they are a lovely alternative, and one which keeps all of us happy:
These delicious bars are twice baked, just like Biscotti but the inside remains quite soft and gooey, while the outside turns lovely and crisp. For a crunchier bar, just adjust the cooking time to suit. They have a subtle orange flavour which works well with the roasted almonds, cinnamon and cloves and they are perfect for Christmas.
They are quite sweet and are loaded with chunks of gorgeous, roasted almonds. You can indulge yourself with one of these and a cup of tea or coffee, after a busy day of Christmas shopping or preparations.
As much as I love to spend time a lot of time on pretty food presentation, I also love a good rustic, throw together type recipe and this is one of those. There's no need to be fancy, the appeal is in the texture and the delicious aromas of these bars.
You can quickly whip up a batch or two of these yummy morsels and they store well in an air tight container. They would be perfect, packaged in pretty boxes and given to family and friends as a home baked gift, during the Christmas season.
If you would like to give these delicious Almond and Orange Bars a try, you can download the recipe HERE or right click on the image below and save to your files.
Happy baking :)

Wednesday, December 2, 2015

Chatelaine- Free BOW Sampler Quilt Block 57

This weeks stunning little block is Eight Hands Around. As some blocks have various names, you may have also seen this block referred to as, "Joy Bells", "Swing In The Centre" or "Turkey In The Straw".
You can refer to it as you like but for me, it conjures images of ladies, gathered around the table, talking and hand quilting at a quilting bee. This was a way for women to socialize and even today, we still make the time to sit with our friends and share our crafts :)
I hope you love this weeks block as much as I do. Its quite quick and easy to piece and I think it will be right at home in our sampler quilts.
To download this weeks free pattern, just visit HERE.
Happy sewing :)

Sunday, November 29, 2015

Free December Calendar

December would have to be my favorite month. It's a time full of Christmas preparations, end of year school functions, catch ups with family and friends and lots of good food :)
It's also time for my last free calendar for 2015:

This months featured pattern is Guiding Angel, which is a sweet redwork stitchery pattern surrounded by a lovely braided border.
I think redwork is perfect for Christmas projects and I've used it in most of my Christmas designs. This stitchery reminds me of the angel my grandparents had when I was a little girl. Christmas was such a big occasion in their house and I have so many wonderful memories of big home cooked dinners, shared at a crowded table full of family and friends.
From today until the end of December, PDF files of my Guiding Angel stitchery design are available at the discounted price of $3.95, in my shop HERE.
To download your free December calendar, just visit HERE.
I will be continuing my free monthly calendars next year and combining them with a new monthly venture I have planned for the blog. I've been busy working on these, over the last few weeks and I'll share more, later :)
I hope December is a wonderful month for you and your family, as you share in the joy and wonder of the festive season.

Friday, November 27, 2015

Fruit Cake Muffins

When people think of my Pop, they probably remember two things; his beautiful garden and his fruit cake. Of course, there was so much more to this wonderful man, but I can't recall a time when there wasn't a plate of moist fruit cake sitting in the middle of his kitchen table.
After he passed, I began cooking fruit cakes every Christmas, as it made me feel connected to him. I've used various recipes over the years, but Pops recipes always give the best results and I've adapted one of them for these delicious, Fruit Cake Muffins:

Pop cooked fruit cakes, all year round; there was no waiting until Christmas. In his later years, he would order cakes from a small country bakery about 90 minutes away from home (it was well worth the drive, I assure you). If visitors commented on how nice the cake was, they went home with one from his pantry and if he went visiting, he always brought a plate of fruit cake to share and a cake for them to store in their cupboard.
These muffins are quick and easy to make and everything is prepared in one saucepan so the clean up is minimal. They are perfect if you don't have the time to bake a traditional Christmas Cake or if you feel like fruit cake, at anytime during the year, without soaking fruit and waiting hours for a cake to slow cook.
They are super moist and full of the traditional, delicious flavours. You can adapt them to suit your own tastes, by adding nuts or glace fruits etc. but I have kept them close to Pops original recipe and we love them just as they are.
If you have the time, you could decorate them with ready rolled icing or a lovely sugar glaze but I think a generous sprinkling of icing sugar is just enough. I cooked these using muffin wrappers but pretty cupcake liners work just as well.
Make a batch for your Christmas table or make them to give as gifts, to family and friends:
To download the recipe for my Fruit Cake Muffins, just visit HERE or right click on the image below and save to your files.
I have already baked this years traditional Christmas Cake, using Pops recipe and I cant wait to cut into this, during December:
Perfection ♥♥♥  It looks and smells amazing, I'm sure my Pop would be proud. :) Only one thing would make it even better: that he was here to share it ♥
Happy baking :)
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