Friday, December 30, 2016

Suzanne Mini Quilt + Your Free January 2017 Calendar

I hope everyone had an amazing Christmas and is relaxing and enjoying a few days break. Our Christmas was fun filled, family packed and went way too fast but it was a wonderful day full of food, love, laughter and memories. My inner child really comes out at this time of year; I just love Christmas and I get more excited than the kids :)
It is time though, to release my first mini quilt for 2017 and your free January calendar. So if your a little girl at heart like me, I think you are going to love this one. Let me introduce Suzanne:
The "Sunbonnet Sue" block is an iconic applique quilt block that has been popular for years, especially for little girl quilts. Its probably one of the most recognised quilt blocks, even to a non quilter. Needle turn applique is just not my thing, so my Suzanne pattern has a paper pieced centre block and its finished with some quick and easy pieced borders. The paper pieced block has predominately larger pieces, with the exception of the pocket and it goes together very easily.
She does still feature the traditional demure bonnet with the flowing ribbon and the long conservative dress complete with a simple pocketed apron; you just can't change the classics right?
I used a few Bonnie and Camille fabrics for this quilt and I teamed them with the gorgeous navy fabric from my stash, which I think makes Suzanne look dressed to impress.
I think my favorite design element is her gorgeous bonnet and ribbon, which obscures her face and gives her that air of mystery. As a girl I would have be happy to wear a bright red bonnet just like Suzanne's :)
Sunbonnet Sue has had a variety of hobbies over the years but I chose to give Suzanne a simple apron with a generous pocket. I can imagine her wandering the countryside, filling her pockets with wildflowers, feathers and other trinkets to take home for her growing collection.
I quilted my Suzanne quilt with some lovely free motion flowers which not only gives it a gorgeous texture but also a more feminine feel.
The mini quilt is framed with a sweet and simple pinwheel and flying geese border. I have used this border before on another design and I chose it again because its delicate and pretty and I think it frames the Suzanne block perfectly. I finished it all off with a navy binding, which seems to be my favorite colour to bind with at the moment because its crisp and fresh.
I've included both a right and left facing version of the Suzanne block in the pattern, for those who would like to make multiple blocks for a full sized quilt. You can alternate the direction of the blocks to add a little more interest to the overall effect of the quilt.
The PDF pattern also includes full instructions and diagrams and full sized FPP design sheets. There's also a colouring sheet to help your plan your colour/fabric selections prior to sewing your mini quilt and additional instructions to add a hanging sleeve or hanging corners.
If you would like to make Suzanne for yourself or for that special little girl in your life, from today until the end of January 2017, PDF patterns are available at the introductory price of $4.95 (AU) in my Big Cartel shop HERE.
Or if you prefer an instant download, PDF patterns are also available in my Etsy shop HERE.
Plus I have your free January 2017 calendar featuring the gorgeous Suzanne:
To download and print your free calendar, just visit HERE.
I hope you love my Suzanne mini quilt as much as I do. She is very sweet and I'm sure I'll be making a few more of these for my nieces and great niece :)
I would also like to take this opportunity to wish you all a Happy New Year. 2016 has been a wonderful year for me and your support has been amazing! You encourage me everyday to design the things I love, to share the recipes I enjoy and through your comments and emails, I have been blessed with lovely friendships that I treasure. May 2017 be an amazing year for you and your family, full of good health, love, laughter, friendship and lots of sewing time :)
Happy New Year :)

Saturday, December 24, 2016

Merry Christmas ♥♥♥

" This moment, this day, this season, will never come again,
Treasure it and treasure those you love who make it memorable."
From my family to yours, wishing you all a very Merry Christmas. May this season bless you with love, laughter and many special memories made with family and friends
Merry Christmas ♥

Monday, December 19, 2016

Cinnamon & Almond Biscuits

Have you been over indulging on gingerbread and shortbread this festive season? I know I have, but I also like to make something a little lighter to have with my morning or afternoon tea. If your looking for something festive with less of the guilt,  then give these delicious Cinnamon and Almond Biscuits a try:
I think these biscuits are my all time favorite at the moment. A batch of these are perfect to have in the cupboard and they are full of the festive Christmas flavours. I'm a huge lover of almonds and I use them a lot in my baking especially around Christmas.  The cinnamon really enhances that gorgeous almond flavour without being overpowering.
These biscuits are quick and easy to bake and require only five simple ingredients. Experiment with your almond meal; you can buy it already prepared from the supermarket or have a go at making your own by blitzing some almonds in your food processor. Consider leaving the skins on the almonds or dry roasting them first to intensify that gorgeous flavour.
I give mine a sprinkling of icing sugar to finish them off and to make them look more festive but if your looking to cut calories, then they are just as lovely without it. They store well in an air tight container for about a week and I'm guessing this would be another recipe perfect for freezing.
A plate full of these biscuits looks lovely on the table but they are also perfect to give as gifts. Pop a few in a cellophane bag, add a pretty gift tag and some ribbon and give them out to friends and family to add a little home baked goodness to their celebrations.
If you would like to try these delicious Cinnamon and Almond Biscuits then you can either download the recipe HERE or right click on the image below and save it to your computer for later.
If your an almond lover like me then I'm sure you are going to love these beautiful biscuits, they will make your morning and afternoon teas a little more festive and enjoyable :)
Happy baking :)

Sunday, December 11, 2016

Red Velvet Cupcakes with Coconut Buttercream

I love eating cupcakes, I love cooking cupcakes, I love decorating cupcakes, I love looking at get the general idea, so every year I like to make a batch of our favorites to help celebrate the festive season. This year I'm making some gorgeous Red Velvet Cupcakes with Coconut Buttercream because these guys are just seriously amazing:
I could eat these anytime during the year but their vibrant red colour makes them so festive and they look so pretty on the table amid the Christmas decorations. If you are a lover of coconut then you will enjoy the coconut buttercream but if not you can always make a plain buttercream or go with a traditional cream cheese frosting.
The cupcakes are light and fluffy and have that special hint of chocolate, which I love so much. You could use the recipe to make cupcakes or if you prefer you could use the batter to make a large cake and decorate it festively for Christmas. I did this a few years ago because we have a couple of non fruit cake lovers in the family and they loved it.
A sprinkling of shredded coconut does finish off the cupcakes and gives that illusion of a light scattering of snow; here in Australia, we do not see snow so we improvise where we can ;)  I like to add a second wrapper to my cupcakes after they cool, just to be fancy, so you can bake them in plain ones and save your pretty Christmas themed ones for their presentation. Try mixing and matching the colours of your wrappers to suit your Christmas colour theme this year.
I made some cute little cupcake toppers from the paint samples you find at the hardware store. I cut them into trees, added a little star sticker to the top and stuck them to a toothpick with some clear tape and then there were ready to decorate my cupcakes. They can be as simple or ornate as you want and the kids will have fun helping you out. I like to use food as place cards for our table, so you could write your guest's names on the tree toppers and place a cupcake at everyone's setting.
You can wrap these individually in cellophane bags or cupcake boxes and give as gifts to family and friends or take a box to work for morning tea and share the Christmas spirit during this busy time of year.
If you would like to make your own Red Velvet Cupcakes with Coconut Buttercream then you can download the recipe HERE.
I hope you and your family enjoy these delicious cupcakes during Christmas. They look amazing and trust me, they taste even better.
Happy baking :)

Wednesday, December 7, 2016

Christmas Star- Free Quilt Block Pattern

There's a flurry of Christmas sewing going on across the internet at the moment. Its lovely to see so many gorgeous gifts being made and exchanged, with so much thought and love sewn into each and every stitch. Instead of giving you a pattern this year, I decided to design a free Christmas block which can be used in what ever project you are planning or working on during this festive season.
I kept it simple; a two toned paper pieced, five pointed star which is perfect for Christmas and all of those projects you may have planned. I've drafted templates for the four sizes which I think are the most useful; from a tiny 4"- to the larger 10" and I think they are cute to use as part of a larger project or as a focal block for smaller projects.
These blocks go together quickly and easily, with each star taking me about an hour to complete, so you have time to make heaps!. You could use them for countless projects and I've included a few suggestions at the end of the pattern, to help you out. If you need some more inspiration, pop over to Instagram and have a look at some of the lovely Christmas projects being sewn or grab a coffee and head to Pinterest for some endless crafty inspiration :)
Aren't Bonnie and Camille fabrics perfect for Christmas sewing, or any project for that matter? I love these colour combinations; one so festive and the other more icicle/winter inspired.
My free Christmas Star pattern includes full instructions, diagrams and all the templates required for each size, plus a colouring sheet to help you with fabric/colour selections prior to sewing.
To download and print my free Christmas Star pattern, just visit HERE.
I hope you have fun with this pattern and I hope it inspires you to make some gorgeous handmade gifts this Christmas, sewn with lots and lots of love. ♥♥♥
Happy sewing :)

Sunday, December 4, 2016

Gingerbread Whoopie Pies

Love them or hate them, Whoopie Pies took the baking world by storm a few years ago and I fell in love with these part cookie, part cake morsels. With Christmas baking top of my list at the moment, I thought I'd share with you, my Gingerbread Whoopie Pie recipe:
If your a gingerbread fan, like me, you will love these Whoopie Pies. They are packed with all the beautiful spices and flavours of traditional gingerbread and it really smells like Christmas when those signature aromas start wafting around the kitchen.
They are easy to prepare but the dough does require a little chilling time in the fridge, and they bake and cool quite quickly, so they are ready to fill and enjoy with the family or guests in no time.
I like to fill mine with a plain buttercrean but you could also make a lemon buttercream, which works wonderfully with gingerbread.  Give them a light dusting of icing sugar and they are ready to serve.
I like my Whoopie Pies quite puffy so this recipe yields twelve sandwiched pies but you could squeeze a few more from the dough, if you prefer a flatter, more cookie like pie. They last for a few days stored in an airtight container and apparently they are also perfect to pop in the freezer (so I've been told, I don't freeze my baking).
A plate of Gingerbread Whoopie Pies warms the soul and awakens that Christmas spirit. They are perfect to serve guests during the festive season or wrap them individually in cellophane bags, add some pretty ribbon and a card, to give as gifts to neighbours or teachers.
If you would like to try these super yummy Gingerbread Whoopie Pies, you can download the recipe HERE or right click on the image below and save to your computer for later.
I hope you and your family enjoy these delicious little morsels. It just isn't Christmas around here, unless something gingerbread is baking in the oven.
Happy baking :)

Thursday, December 1, 2016

Its Beginning To Look A Lot Like Christmas...

Its officially the first of December so that means, in our house, the Christmas decorations go up and we wrap the presents, all ready for Christmas :) It also means there are gifts under the tree and curious people trying to figure out whats inside for the nest 24 days, but its fun :)
I made my Christmas Cake yesterday, so those wonderful aromas are still lingering in the kitchen:
I used mums cake recipe for this one and its from one of those old Women's Weekly recipe cards. My Christmas pudding will be prepared Christmas Eve and put on to boil, bright and early Christmas morning, ready for lunch (this in my late inlaws recipe and its delicious).
I have had a few emails asking for links to certain Christmas projects I've shared so I thought I would do a recap post in case you've missed any or you too are looking for them. All of the links will take you to my original blog post for each project. First off is my free Christmas Planner:
This is my bible over Christmas. Because we start our shopping early, I keep a record of what I have brought and for whom and I have a clear plastic sleeve at the back for receipts and those "on line content codes" for PS4 games etc. I sit down with mum and dad (and my folder) in early November and we work on a menu and who's bringing/cooking what and all the information stays in this one folder and is easy to find.
You can download the free printable HERE and make sure you save the file so you can reprint new pages for each year.
Next up are my free Christmas Mug Rugs pattern. These are so simple and pretty and they make lovely gifts for neighbours or teachers. Both the applique and paper pieced versions are included in the free pattern and you can download the file HERE.
These little Matchbook Needle Keeps are a fun little present to pop into a Christmas Card and send to family and friends. I keep one in every craft bag, my handbags and in the car, so I'm always prepared. You can make a whole batch of these in an afternoon while your nibbling on gingerbread and listening to Carols. The tutorial for these can be found HERE.
Decorating the table for Christmas lunch is my favorite part and a few years ago I made these pretty Poinsettia Napkin Holders. You can find the free pattern for these HERE.
Mum is making our table decorations this year and its all top secret so I cant wait to see what she has come up with :)
I've also got a sweet little Christmas Subway Art print that I love to use as a decoration in my front porch. Its such a cheery welcome to visitors during the Christmas season and its a simple print and frame project. Just visit HERE to grab your copy.
There are a few more projects but these are the ones most downloaded by my readers. I have a few blog posts to share during December with recipes and crafty ideas so stayed tuned for those.
And just before I go, I wanted to re share my Nutcracker pattern:
I just adore this little guy and he watches over our Christmas tree during December. If you looking for a something new to make this season then patterns can be found in my Big Cartel shop HERE.
Or if you prefer an instant download, they are also available in my Etsy shop HERE.
Happy Christmas planning and plotting :)
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