Friday, July 29, 2016

Maple and Walnut Cookies

When I was younger, my mum baked a simple sugar cookie which had a whole walnut pressed into the top. They were super sweet, with a gritty texture, and I'd eat the biscuit around the walnut, , saving my favorite piece till the last mouthful. There were times when I'd just steal the walnut but trust me....you get caught :)
I've played around, trying to find something similar but yummier than mums and these Maple and Walnut Cookies are a bit of a twist on her original recipe:
Maple syrup and brown sugar give these cookies a wonderful flavour without being too sweet and without that gritty sugar texture. They are buttery and soft and loaded with crunchy walnut and dark chocolate chips and they have that warm golden colour which makes a cookie look inviting, I think.
Every bite yields a mouthful of the delicious walnut and chocolate so there's no need to eat around the edges and save the walnut till last :) They are perfect to have with a piping hot cup of your favorite tea or coffee and they store well for 3 or 4 days in an airtight container.
Its a quick and easy recipe and yields around eighteen large cookies, so you can quickly fill your cookie jars or make batches and freeze them for lunch boxes or picnics etc.
You can download the recipe for my Maple and Walnut Cookies, HERE or right click on the picture below and save it to your computer for later:
I hope these cookies bring a little piece of deliciousness to your next morning or afternoon tea.
Happy baking :)

Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Chatelaine- Free BOW Sampler Quilt Border Inspiration Part 2

In Part 2 of my Border Inspiration, I'm going to share how I bordered my Chatelaine Sampler (and give you a few sneak peeks of my quilt). Firstly, I set my blocks on point, which is a lovely, classic layout for sampler quilts. I used Option 3A in the On Point  Layouts file, which can be found HERE:
Once the quilt centre was complete, there were a few things I needed to consider before adding my borders:
  • I wanted a simple, scrappy border, incorporating all the fabrics I had used in the blocks.
  • There would be no fabric purchasing; stash busting only, so I was working with fabrics and quantities I had on hand.
  • I wanted the border to frame the blocks, not overpower them. Those blocks must shine.
  • Large border elements would look out of proportion to the tiny piecing in the blocks, so I wanted smaller elements to compliment..
  • I wanted to float the quilt centre and give the quilt lots of lovely negative space.
  • The finished size of the quilt centre (a little over 59" x 79") meant I had a little fudging to do to make the borders fit.
With those things considered, I chose a simple, scrappy checkerboard border, with some pretty baby pinwheels in each corner:
Borders like this, work so well with quilt tops that finish at a size that isn't easily divisible by 2,3,4,5 etc. but they also give the quilt a lovely frame, without overpowering the blocks. My quilt centre finished at a little over 59" x 79" and with the added borders, my quilt top finishes at 77 1/2" x 97 1/2".
So here's a rough idea of the look I was hoping to achieve:
I love how open and uncluttered the quilt looks and feels. I did consider doing something dramatic and fancy in the corners but instead I kept it simple and added the pinwheels, which break the checkerboard and to add another element of interest to the borders.
So instead of going into all the details/measurements etc. with you here, I have compiled a file for you to download which has all of the information included. (Please note, if you have chosen a horizontal layout, you will need to adapt the lengths of the borders to suit)
You can download and print the file by visiting HERE.
I hope I have provided some inspiration for your quilt borders. You can find Part 1 of my Border Inspiration, HERE. I'll keep adding ideas to my Pinterest board, as I find them, so you have another point of reference to use for this quilt or any other quilt you make in the future.
As I mentioned earlier in the week, I am quilting my Chatelaine but as soon as its finished, I will take it out for a photo shoot and share as many photos as you can bear to look at :)
Until then, I'll get back to that quilting :)

Monday, July 25, 2016

Wings Mini Quilt + Your Free August 2016 Calendar

July has been a sickly month for us. It always happens during the winter school holidays; the lurgies come to visit and our bodies just say enough, time to rest. There has been limited creative energy around here but now that we are fully rested and mended, I've been busy in the studio, catching up on all of my projects. 
My Chatelaine quilt is all basted and the quilting has begun but progress is slow as this quilt is huge and heavy! I can't wait to share all of it with you, but first its time for my new Monthly Mini and your free August calendar. So, let me introduce you to the gorgeous, Wings:
This mini quilt is a sweet and simple design based on the gorgeous "Vintage Butterfly" quilt block. It has a paper pieced centre, which comes together quickly and easily and then I've added some simple pieced borders to frame the block perfectly.
This is a lovely design which incorporates one of my favorite star blocks, the Ohio Star. Can you see it there? The added wings, create those beautiful butterflies in flight.
We all love the breathtaking colours of a butterfly and for this mini, I raided my stash for a bright and bold palette. Rarely do I design anything without basing my choices around a blue fabric but I really love this colour combination and I think that cheddar fabric, really makes this mini pop! 
The border is a simple checkerboard and you can piece these quickly and easily by strip piecing and cross cutting, if you prefer. I quilted my Wings mini, with my favorite all over flower design, which gives it that gorgeous texture and I finished it all off with a lovely frame of dark purple binding..
Wings finishes at around 17" square, so its a nice size to use as a table topper or lamp mat but its also a lovely quilt to hang and enjoy in your home.
The pattern includes full step by step instructions and diagrams, paper piecing templates and a colouring sheet for your fabric/colour selection, plus optional instructions for hanging your mini.
If you would like to make your own Wings mini quilt, from today until the end of August, PDF files will be available at the discounted and introductory price of $4.95 (AU) in my Big Cartel shop, HERE.
Or if you prefer an instant download, patterns are also available in my Etsy shop, HERE.
And I also have your free August 2016 Calendar, featuring the gorgeous Wings:
To download and print your free calendar, just visit HERE.
Things around the blog will hopefully return to normal now. I'll be back on Wednesday with Part 2 of my Chatelaine Border Inspiration and I'll have some sneak peek pics of my quilt to share as well. I know I'm mean, but this quilt is soooooo gorgeous, I'm going to make you wait until its finished for the full reveal.
Until then, happy sewing :)

Saturday, July 9, 2016

Crochet Update

I'm way overdue posting a crochet update but I do have a couple of finished projects to share. My crochet time has been limited lately with hours spent at the sewing machine working on big projects I can't share for awhile.
First up, my Fran blanket:
I finished this blanket weeks ago and as our nights have been cold, its been well used and loved. It lives on one of our armchairs and its a great size to grab and snuggle under. I actually find these crochet blankets harder to photograph than quilts, so I grabbed a shot of how I find it abandoned in the armchair and it does look warm and inviting..
The design is sweet and simple and in the end I was quite pleased with how it turned out. The yarn is so beautiful to work with (Bendigo Woolen Mills 8ply Cotton) and there's no splitting or twisting as you work; its my yarn of choice lately and I recommend trying it if you haven't already.
All the details for the Fran Blanket can be found HERE.
And lastly, a very dear friend of mine is becoming a grandmother in October and we are all super excited. I am starting to put together a parcel for her new little grandson and I had to crochet one of these:
Meet Jax the Jellyfish. I saw this pattern everywhere on Facebook and Instagram and knew he would be perfect to hang in the nursery. He has such a happy little face and I'm hoping the new mum to be will love him. I think at some stage I'm going to have to make one for myself because he's going to be hard to part with. Regardless, I'm hoping this will earn me some cuddle time with the new little man :)
The pattern is from One Dog Woof and if you want to make one too, you can find the free pattern HERE.
I'm still working on my Mandala but progress is slow and most nights my concentration levels are as well. I've also started a straight edge chevron blanket for Maddi (pattern can be found HERE), in two shades of purple but that is a super long term project and I'll share that later when its finished; sometime this century I hope :)
Back to the hook :)

Wednesday, July 6, 2016

Chatelaine- Free BOW Sampler Quilt Border Inspiration Part 1

It's time to chat about borders for our Chatelaine Sampler Quilts.
Borders can be as simple or as intricate as you want, as wide or as narrow as you prefer and either pieced or appliqued depending on what you think is right for your quilt. No matter what style you choose, how many you add or how wide you make them, adding borders requires a little inspiration and a lot of the dreaded Maths (my least favorite subject BTW).
I was a little unsure how to present the border options to you, as there are endless possibilities for each of the layouts, and they both finish at different sizes.  Instead I decided to give you some Border Inspiration.  I'm going to share lots of ideas in two blog posts and hopefully they will provide you with some possible options. In Part 2, I will give you the pattern for the borders I chose for my Chatelaine quilt..
In each of the following examples, I have "floated" the quilt centre by firstly adding a narrow white border.
So, lets have a look at some possibilities:
Plain butted borders are a great way to showcase some of your larger floral fabrics. They provide the perfect frame and give a lovely finish to any quilt. Consider using solids as borders as well, they make the perfect background for some lovely applique.
By including corner blocks, you can add some lovely pieced feature blocks; perhaps choosing your favorite block or element from the quilt centre or choosing something from the Bonus Block file.
Long narrow stripes, also make a great frame. You could keep the corner blocks plain or make them a pieced block, to add something special. Smaller vertical stripes create a wonderful piano key border and this is a great way to use up some of your scraps and tie in the fabrics you used in your sampler blocks.
Narrow stripes, running all around the quilt, provide a lovely frame. Consider making the stripes different widths and spacing them with your white background fabric for a more open effect.
I personally love a checkerboard border. The palette can be uniform or scrappy and strip piecing makes them quick and easy. They look lovely as shown in the diagrams, but also consider mixing them with some stripes for a different effect, like these options:
So there's a few ideas for you to consider. Keep in mind, your border should compliment your quilt, not overpower or crowd your quilt centre.
There are some wonderful tutorials to help with measuring and attaching quilt borders, so if you are looking for some assistance, check out the following links:

I've also started a Pinterest board for you and I'll keep adding inspiring borders, as I find them, so make sure you follow me HERE to see what other ideas I pin:
Next week, I'll share part 2 of my Border Inspiration and I'll also give you the free pattern for the option I used for my Chatelaine quilt. Plus, I'll show you my quilt :)
Until then, happy sewing :)
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