Friday, June 30, 2017

Plume Mini Quilt + Your Free July 2017 Calendar

Phew, I made it! I wasn't sure I'd be able to release a mini quilt pattern this month due to circumstances out of my control but I managed to pull it all off on the last day of the month. I don't want to go into my whole sob story of the last two weeks because everyone has issues to deal with and I'd much rather share with you something fun, pretty and sweet (and quilt related) instead. I'm so excited about this months mini quilt, so without further fluffing around, welcome the gorgeous Plume mini quilt to my pattern family:
Do you ever wake up some mornings and look in the mirror and think blah? A little fluffing, preening and plumage makes you instantly look and feel a whole lot better and ready to start the day. The feathered star is exactly the same; the feathering transforms a simple star block into something much more glamorous and beautiful. And that's not saying the star block isn't already beautiful, its just taking it to a whole new level. :)
The feathered star block has been on my wish list for ages and its not only fun to sew but it makes a stunning mini quilt. Because I'd rather not sew Y seams, I've designed it so it has none, and the mini quilt goes together quickly and easily, finishing at around 16" square.
Plume is fully paper pieced so it makes sewing all of those lovely points easier and its not too fiddly to work on as the units are large, but there are quite a few pieces in each unit.
I raided my stash for this mini and to make the feathered star really pop, I used that lovely light grey homespun as my background. This colour palette is my favorite and I use it a lot in my home decorating as well, so I'm going to use my Plume as a topper on our lounge room lamp table.
As always I have included a colouring sheet in the pattern to help you plan your fabrics and colours prior to sewing your mini, so have fun with different combinations and make your feathered star shine.
I thought I'd share a little history about the feathered star block as well. Firstly its one of the few quilt blocks that was named in the 19th century. The block was saved for "the best quilts" and it was put on the beds for guests, showcasing not only its beauty but also the sewers talent.
Originally the patterns were drawn onto newspaper and paper pieced and trust me, just drafting the pattern would have required a lot of skill. It was a great way for quilters to use up and showcase some of their more expensive scraps of fabric while producing a stunning quilt to be loved and treasured.
There are many varied feathered star designs, some with more or less feathering and some containing another star or pinwheel block in the centre. When I first drafted this mini pattern, I added a pinwheel centre but as I chose fabrics and began to sew I decided to keep the centre plain so your eye focuses on the beauty of the star and its feathering, instead of lots of added detail. Plus that navy fabric is one of my all time favorites and I really wanted to showcase it as a larger piece. Lovers of fussy cutting will have fun with this centre unit as its large enough to feature some beautiful fabrics.
I quilted my Plume mini with a silky soft grey thread and once it was done, I fell even more in love with this quilt. My favorite FMQ flower design, really adds a gorgeous texture and was perfect for this quilt.
The PDF pattern includes full step by step instructions and diagrams and full sized FPP templates. There are also additional instructions for adding a hanging sleeve or corner hangers and the colouring sheet for planning.
If you would like to make your own Plume mini quilt, from today until the end of July 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, patterns are also available in my ETSY shop, HERE.
I also have your free July 2017 calendar featuring the gorgeous Plume:
To download and print your free calendar, just visit HERE.
I hope you love Plume as much as I do. I did enjoy every step in the process of bringing this quilt to you and all of the hard work was well worth it as its my new favorite mini quilt.:)
I hope you and your families have a wonderful July. Hopefully things on my end with be finally sorted in the coming days and life can return to normal for us. I guess it doesn't matter what life throws at you though as long as you're healthy, you're loved and you can make all the pretty things, then life is damn good ♥
Happy quilting :)

Friday, June 16, 2017

It's the Little Things :)

 "When you love what you have, you have all you need"
This gorgeous quote popped up in my Facebook feed the other day and it really resonated with me. I've always been content with what I have; I have never looked at other peoples lives and wanted what they have too! I love and I am loved and that is all I need.
But sometimes you come across something lots of people have (and rave about) and its pretty and useful and you just have to have one too because you know its going make life just that little bit easier. 
This adorable magnetic pin bowl arrived in the post last week. I follow Jodi Nelson on Instagram and her gorgeous pin bowls have popped up in my feed numerous times over the years. She was hand making them at this stage, so quantities were always limited and due to time differences I would miss her sale times and stock sold while I slept.
Because of their popularity, they are now mass produced and are being distributing by Riley Blake. Once I heard there was stock coming to Australia, I pre-ordered this one and patiently waited a few months for it to arrive.
I have a large pincushion collection plus a few pin bowls, one of which is also magnetic and I use it for my pins while piecing, but I really wanted this one for my safety pins.
I keep my safety pins in a glass jar with a seal and it works really well as storage, keeping my pins safe from moisture. My biggest problem is while I'm quilting at my machine and taking out the pins, I have no (safe) place to sit them until I return a pile of them to the glass jar (I know, not a life threatening problem).
I must be an over energetic free motion quilter because I move those big quilts around so much that countless times I have slid the pile of removed pins off my sewing table and they drop to the floor, tangling in cottons and then later disappearing up the vacuum cleaner. Or I have managed to knock the glass jar off completely spraying pins around the room, and trust me, picking them all up before I continue quilting is neither productive nor fun :(
This little pin bowl is the perfect solution for me. Even if I do manage to slide it off the sewing table, that magnet is so strong those safety pins are not going anywhere and I can fill it up and decant the pins safely back into the glass jar without losing any.
I hope to try it out properly over the weekend when I quilt next months mini quilt. It was a great little investment which will hopefully save me some agony in the studio and the best bit is its sooooo pretty and looks so sweet on my sewing table :) And I think it so special to me because I waited so long for it and I was so excited when it finally arrived.
I purchased mine from Alisha at Ministry of Fabric but I'm sure you can find them at your own local quilt store. They come in a variety of beautiful colours and different designs and well worth every cent.
Just before I go, I do want to thank everyone who leaves a comment on my blog, it makes my day. Unfortunately many of you are "no reply commenters" and I can not answer you back. It does make me feel rude or neglectful so please know from the bottom of my heart.....thank you, thank you thank you :) your comments mean the world to me and I really want to answer them. If you would like to change your comment setting, or check your settings so I can personally answer you, there is a link HERE that shows you how.
Happy quilting :)

Wednesday, June 14, 2017


I enjoy homemade soups all year round but over winter there's nothing better than a big bowl of warming soup, filled with lots of vegetable goodness to warm the body and the soul. I just finished making a pot of Ribollita and I thought I would share my recipe and serving process with you.
If you haven't tried Ribollita before, your really should. Its an Italian soup commonly called a peasants soup and Ribollita means "reboiled"as any leftovers are reboiled over and over for days until the soup is finished. Its made with lots of simple vegetables and thickened with stale bread. Its a traditional Italian recipe and everyone makes it differently but the principal is always the same.
I envision Italian women having a pot of this on the stove all the time, simmering away ready to feed their family or guests. Its hearty, healthy and made with inexpensive ingredients.
I like to make up a big batch of Ribollita and then I decant and heat up each serving as required. The flavour of the soup still intensifies over days without constant reboiling and the vegetables retain their shape and texture. I add my cut up stale bread, or bread stick to the bottom of the bowl and pour the soup over, so that the bread really absorbs the liquid and doesn't go too "gluggy".
As for ingredients, I keep it relatively simple, using cannellini beans, carrots, celery, onion and leek (I know one or the other suffices but I like both), kale, tin tomatoes, fennel seeds, garlic, a bay leaf, olive oil and some vegetable stock which I also make myself.
Don't be afraid to add different vegetables, its all about using what you have on hand. It also works well with cabbage, potato, silverbeet, spinach, parsnip and swede so its a great recipe for using up those leftover vegetables before a new grocery shop.
I use tinned cannellini beans, purely because they cook quicker but dried beans work just as well, just don't forget to soak them the night before to soften and simmer them for longer (about 1 hour). Because I love all these vegetables, I roughly cut them, no fancy slicing and dicing. I don't mind the rustic textures but you might like to dice them small and even.
The best part about making Ribollita is, its gives you a chance to clean out those vegetables at the end of the week so there's no waste and then you have a good supply of homemade soup to enjoy for days (much better than a satchel of Cup of Soup for lunch I tell you). Plus you can heat up just what you need as your family wanders in from school/work and you can warm them up healthily with little fuss.
One of the main reasons I love this soup is the addition of the bread. My mum only made tin tomato soup when I was growing up and the only way to make it palatable to me was to add torn bread slices to soak it up. Mum thought I was weird but the flavour of the "Big Red Tomato" soup was just too overpowering for me :)
I generally use a bread stick or bread rolls to thicken my soup, something with a nice thick crust. You can always cut up the bread and freeze it ready to add to your Ribollita whenever you make a batch, so again there's no waste.
Each and every mouthful of this Ribollita soup is delicious and its so simple that you will never buy canned soup again. If you would like to try my Ribollita recipe, you can download it HERE or right click on the image below and save it to your computer for later:
When I serve my Ribollita,  I add the torn bread to my bowl, pour the soup over the bread and stir to combine. I then give it a light sprinkling of Parmesan cheese and a drizzle of olive oil and I can sit back and enjoy its simple and flavour packed deliciousness :) Enjoy!
Happy cooking :)

Tuesday, June 6, 2017

Charlotte's Dream

As I mentioned in a previous post, my Charlotte's Dream crochet blanket is all finished and being used. I had envisioned taking it to one of our parks weeks ago and photographing it amongst the beautiful colours of the fallen Autumn leaves. Unfortunately whenever I had a chance to do this, it was either raining or it had rained the day before and everything was wet and muddy.....soooo, over the weekend I photographed it, in use, in our house, instead.
Threadbare Creations- Charlotte's Dream. This is my version of the gorgeous free pattern from "Look At What I Made"
Here she is, all snugly and colourful and probably the loveliest pattern I have ever worked on. My blanket has a 4 x 4 grid (16 squares) which made it a generous sized blanket for the couch or our bed. The cotton yarn is light but warm and those colours are just beautiful. Its just the right size to share with someone or to snuggle under alone, without your feet sticking out :)
I started my first square back in October and had the blanket finished early April, just in time for the beginning of the colder weather.
Threadbare Creations- Charlotte's Dream. This is my version of the gorgeous free pattern from "Look At What I Made"
It doesn't have a designated special place in our home, nor did I crochet it for any one person so its used by all of us, whenever we want it. Its dragged from room to room and this is pretty much how I find it most mornings; thrown on the lounge chair, discarded after a late night TV session or deep and meaningful chat. I love that its so loved and that its being used everyday, that is the best reason to make the things we make :)
Threadbare Creations- Charlotte's Dream. This is my version of the gorgeous free pattern from "Look At What I Made"
Ok, so a little bit about the pattern. I have shared a few posts  HERE, HERE and HERE which give you all the links and vital information regarding the designer, the pattern and the yarn/hook I used etc.
In this post I did want to talk about the construction of the blanket.
The squares were joined with another new-to-me technique of crocheting rather than slipstitching them together. It creates a small ridge on the wrong side of the blanket but I love the pretty flat join it makes on the right side. I did enjoy joining this way and it made the whole process quicker and easier.
Threadbare Creations- Charlotte's Dream. This is my version of the gorgeous free pattern from "Look At What I Made"
Once they were joined, it was just a matter of adding a border and I really love this one. Its sweet and pretty and it took me quite awhile to crochet it because my blanket is so big. It was worth all the effort though and it finishes it off in such a beautiful way. The little popcorns really tie in well with the detail in each of the squares and I kept my plain borders white, to really frame the blanket.
Threadbare Creations- Charlotte's Dream. This is my version of the gorgeous free pattern from "Look At What I Made"
And just look at all the texture, its swoon worthy! The flowers in the centre of each square balloon out so sweetly and draw your eye to all the detailed texture in the grey sections. Its a very clever design and so much fun to crochet.
Threadbare Creations- Charlotte's Dream. This is my version of the gorgeous free pattern from "Look At What I Made"
I love all of the colours I chose for this blanket, they have that warm homey feel to them and they brighten up the house on these cold miserable days. At some stage I would like to make another one using a softer palette, mainly because I miss working on these gorgeous squares.
Until then, I'm going to enjoy my Charlotte's Dream blanket, whenever I can and take advantage of a few quiet minutes, snuggled underneath it's warmth, reading a good book and admiring all the hard work and love that went into making this beauty ♥
Threadbare Creations- Charlotte's Dream. This is my version of the gorgeous free pattern from "Look At What I Made"
Happy crocheting :)

Thursday, June 1, 2017

Crochet- Half Square Triangle Grannies

During a Pinterest session the other day, I found an amazing crocheting tutorial which I just had to share with you. If you enjoy crocheting and quilting as much as I do, then I have something that is a clever blend of both and you are going to love these Half Square Triangle Grannies:
Aren't they just the cutest? I love when one craft crosses over to another, don't you? And just think of all the possibilities a HST crocheted square will bring to our projects. So many layout options :)
The tutorial is from the very talented Ashleigh of Sewrella and her pattern is super easy to follow, with clear written instructions plus a video tutorial, so you can visually learn as well.
Once I got the hang of it, or more specifically the juggling of two balls of yarn at once bit, the granny squares crocheted up very quickly and easily and they look adorable. I used 4 ply baby yarn for my squares and I added an extra row to the pattern, to give me a 4" square. I now want to make them in all the sizes. I have no project in mind for them yet, but playing around with possible layouts is already lots of fun:
Its just like playing with sewn HST's and if you added a few plain squares, the layout combinations would be endless. Its going to be really hard to chose a layout for them but I am quite fond of that cute pinwheel (because pinwheels are my favorite).  I also love the square in a square layouts.....oh, decisions, decisions! I'm picturing a pretty baby blanket using any of these layouts or a lovely throw rug or cushions.
 I love these two options as well; they would make great borders or strips. How sweet would a flying geese crocheted blanket look? These are just some of the layouts I've played with so far. I plan on adding some solid squares as well to see what combinations I can come up with.
If you would like to crochet your own Half Square Triangle Grannies can find the free tutorial on Ashleigh's blog HERE. She has some other wonderful patterns and tutorials as well, so don't forget to check those out. I just love her design style and all of her stuff is soooooo cute :)
I'm going to make a whole bunch of these grannies and I'll decide on a layout when I think I have enough. So many options, so many possibilities!
Happy crocheting :)
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