Thursday, July 30, 2015

Thursday Tip #2

{Thursday Tip: A regular weekly feature sharing my quilting tips. There are no rules in quilting, these are just the things that work for me and might help you. There are no quilt police, so use them as a guide; no ones watching :) There is no wrong way to do anything......just relax, experiment, learn, create and have fun. }
Your machine is your biggest investment and regular maintenance can keep it purring along between yearly servicing. The machines manual is the best place to start for tips on cleaning your machine but here's a list of things to remember:

  • Keep your machine covered when not in use, either with the machine cover or one you have made yourself, to prevent dust, lint and dirt infiltrating the machine.
  • Regularly change your needles. A good guideline is every 8 hours or every new project.
  • On a weekly basis, unthread the machine, remove the throat plate, bobbin and bobbin case and using a little brush, remove lint and dust from under the plate, the feed dogs,the bobbin area and around any dials or openings your machine may have.
  • Before rethreading your machine, fill all your bobbins so you are prepared to sew.
  • Check your manual to see if your machine needs regular oiling.
  • Don't forget the foot pedal- mine tends to attract stray cottons which need to be removed.
  • Keep your work space as dust free as possible, to prevent transferring dust to your machine.
  • Have your machine professionally serviced on a regular basis.
Prevention is better than cure and its the easiest way to keep your machine working perfectly and ready to sew when you are. Because they are such a huge investment we want them to last for as long as possible and produce the best quality sewing on the projects we love.

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Chatelaine- Free BOW Sampler Quilt Block 39

This weeks lovely block is Snail's Trail. This block is also referred to as "Indiana Puzzle", "Monkey Wrench" and "Journey to California". Its an easy block to piece and it makes a beautiful quilt when used as an all over pattern, set with some alternate plain squares.
I chose a different colour for each of the trails and I love the effect. With this colour placement, you will have spare triangles once your pieces are cut. You could make two blocks and have a spare block for another project or you could choose only two colours, and alternate the trails:
Choose whichever option works best for you; I think they are both lovely.
The only advice I have for you when piecing this block, is to play close attention to the pattern diagram as you sew, to ensure your colours are sewn in the correct position. Trust me, it saves a lot of time and a lot of unpicking!
I hope you love sewing this lovely block :)
To download this weeks free block, just visit HERE.
Happy sewing :)

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Free August Calendar

There's lots of excitement in our house at the moment, preparing for our daughters 21st on August 1. Where did those years go? It feels like yesterday, that she gave me that first toothless smile and now shes all grown up, in her last semester of her History degree (ready to go on to Honours and then her PHD), she's working part time and saving for her first home and we have had the pleasure of watching her blossom into a gorgeous, caring and successful woman.
Everything is almost ready for her celebration on Saturday night, so its time for your free August Calendar:
This months featured design is my Table For Two Table Runner patterns.
The pattern pack includes instructions for both the pieced and the applique table runner. I love these runners and I use them a lot to decorate my kitchen table. Both are simply pieced using jelly roll strips and plain homespun and they are quite quick and easy to sew.
From today, until the end of August, PDF patterns of my Table For Two Table Runners will be available at the discounted price of $5.95 in my shop HERE.
To download and print your free August Calendar, just visit HERE.
I hope August is another fantastic month for you and your family. I'm off to finish those last minute preparations for Maddi's 21st :)

Monday, July 27, 2015

Free Printable- Christmas Planner

The lovely people at Patience Brewster asked if I would share a little Christmas in July creativity and inspiration with my readers. If you are unfamiliar with their beautiful handmade ornaments and gifts, have a browse at their page HERE, they are stunning.
Believe it or not, I have been thinking about Christmas, and I've already purchased a few gifts, so I needed to keep track of all of my ideas and inspiration. I usually print one of the lovely free planners that become available, but this year I decided to design my own and I'm sharing it with you as a free download. Hopefully it will inspire you to start planning early too:
There are many options available for storing your planner pages. I purchased an A4 ring binder and filled it with some plastic sleeves to hold my pages and other items such as receipts etc. You could also use a display folder, which already contains the plastic sleeves, or just staple the pages together and pop them on a clipboard. You could also be super creative and separate sections of the planner with some decorated cardboard dividers.
The folder I purchased, has a clear sleeve on the front and back covers, for the cover sheets to slide into, and also down the spine of the folder, so my planner will be easy to identify when it is stored in the bookcase:
Its no secret that I love planning (even planning the planner was exciting) and I love writing lists so I'm looking forward to filling the pages as I prepare for Christmas. You can print as many multiples of pages as you need. The planner contains pages for most requirements, such as:

  • a December calendar
  • End of year functions
  • Address lists for Christmas Cards, emails and ecards
  • Wrapping station supplies and decorations
  • Gift shopping and handmade gifts
  • Christmas crafts and craft supplies
  • Menu planner, home baking checklist, recipe file and ingredients shopping

I've also included some checklists for:

  • Guest room preparations
  • Vacation preparations
  • Santa preparations and a template letter to Santa (because I still believe and I plan on sending one :) don't you?)

There's also a page for general notes and some little labels, which can either be glued or taped to the clear sleeves, to safely store all the receipts, discount coupons, catalogues and the Christmas Light maps, which we collect along the way:
With everything in the one folder, you should stay super organised and information will be easily accessible as we plan for this years festive season.
I hope my free planner is a handy tool for you as we prepare for Christmas
To download the free file, just visit HERE and start printing and planning :)
Also, if you are interested, Patience Brewster is hosting a Christmas in July Giveaway on Instagram, so visit HERE for all the details on how to enter for your chance to win one of their beautiful creations :)
Let the planning begin :)

Thursday, July 23, 2015

Thursday Tip #1

{Thursday Tip: A regular weekly feature sharing my quilting tips. There are no rules in quilting, these are just the things that work for me and might help you. There are no quilt police, so use them as a guide; no ones watching :) There is no wrong way to do anything......just relax, experiment, learn, create and have fun. }
Generally designers give generous estimations for fabric requirements with each of their designs. Personally, I like to over estimate the requirements for my patterns; I'd rather you have a little extra than frantically searching the shops or the internet looking for extra pieces, if you run short.
When starting a new project, look closely at each of the fabrics you buy and take the following into consideration:
  • Any shrinkage when fabrics are prewashed.
  • Larger prints may have to be fussy cut or cut around to achieve the best outcome.
  • Cutting a directional fabric, like stripes, may use more fabric.
  • Human error- no matter how proficient you are at quilting, we all miscut fabrics.
  • You may wish to sew a test block to check how your fabric choices work together.
  • Make a sample swatch to have on hand when buying quilting or applique cottons at a later stage. (this swatch can then be used to scrapbook a record of your quilts journey)
  • Having a little extra, will enhance your stash. They will also work well with future ranges from the same fabric designers :)

Keeping all these things in mind, use the fabric requirements for your next project as a guide and buy that little extra (just in case). Any leftovers can be sewn into smaller projects, like matching cushions or pillow cases or kept until you have enough to transform them into a lovely scrappy quilt (aka a free quilt). 
Happy fabric shopping :)

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Chatelaine- Free BOW Sampler Quilt Block 38

This weeks sweet little block is Tulip Tile. It is so easy to find quilting inspiration in architecture and tiles are a great source of design. Can you imagine this as a feature tile in a floor or on a kitchen wall? Wouldn't it be pretty?
The tulip is simply pieced and the checkerboard border is strip pieced and cross cut to save time, which also makes it a little easier when working with such small pieces.
I hope you enjoy sewing this weeks block. To download the free pattern, just visit HERE.

Tips for strip piecing and cross cutting:

To strip piece, you will require strips cut across the fabric width and then sewn together along the long sides. To keep everything even and to not distort or get a wave in the strip, I cut them into 3-4 shorter lengths and then sew and cross cut. You do waste a little fabric this way but the end result is a lot better and more accurate.
When cross cutting the strip, use the centre seam, to square everything up, which ensures more accurate cutting.

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Lemon and Chia Seed Cake

Lemons are abundant and quite inexpensive at the moment, which is great as we use heaps in our cooking and baking.  This humble fruit, packs a wonderful flavour punch and boasts some super powerful health benefits, including strengthening our immune systems.
Today I thought I would share with you, my favorite Lemon and Chia Seed Cake recipe; its easy and very, very delicious:
This is a beautiful moist cake and it's perfect for that morning or afternoon treat on a cold winter's day. It definitely delivers that lovely lemon punch, and you also get that slightly nutty flavour from those wonderfully textured chia seeds. You could substitute the chia seeds for poppy seeds, if you prefer; I think either would work well in this cake.
I love it because its quick and easy to make, using some basic ingredients and it stores well for days in an air tight container and its a great addition to the families lunchboxes. If your not a fan of lemons, try substituting a small orange for the lemon and it works just as beautifully :)
I think its a cake that you will love and cook as often as I do, especially when you feel like something delicious but not sickly sweet.
To download the recipe for the Lemon and Chia Seed Cake, just visit HERE.
Happy baking :)

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Chatelaine- Free BOW Sampler Quilt Block 37

This weeks sweet block is Cross and Crown. I love the simplicity of this gorgeous block. It has been around forever and it is a popular block found in many antique quilts. There are several variations of this block but this one is definitely my favorite.
I hope you enjoy working on this weeks block, its a quick and easy one to piece and I think it will look lovely in our quilts :)
To download this weeks free pattern, just visit HERE.
Happy sewing :)

Wednesday, July 8, 2015

Chatelaine- Free BOW Sampler Quilt Block 36

I have another pretty star block for you this week and its the lovely Martha Washington's Star. This block was named for the first, First Lady of the United States, Martha Washington. She was known to be a beautiful and uncomplicated lady and I think this block represents those qualities perfectly.
Its a quick and easy block to piece and its the pinwheel centre which appeals to me the most, as I love them so :)
Feel free to play around with colour placements on this one, and have fun :)
To download this weeks free pattern, just visit HERE.

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Chatelaine- Free BOW Sampler Quilt Block 35

This weeks lovely block is Bird's Nest. This block is a little more challenging than the ones we have made over the last few weeks, but it is definitely worth the effort and I've included a few diagrams to help you along the way.
I love the rows of on point squares in this one, but if you don't feel like making these, you could substitute solid strips instead; I have included the cutting requirements for this option as well, if that's the variation you choose.
Regardless of which version, I'm sure you will love this gorgeous block as much as I do and it's going to be another beauty for our samplers.
To download this weeks free pattern, just visit HERE.
Happy sewing :)
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