Tuesday, January 30, 2018

{Free Pattern} Crusader's Heart- Free Valentines Day Mini Quilt Pattern

There's hearts all over the internet at the moment and can you feel all that love in the air? ♥ Valentine's Day is fast approaching and for all the romantics out there (me), its the day for true love.
I have a new free pattern for you today and this mini takes you back to a time of pure bravery, of selfless sacrifice; a time where fearless Crusader's fought for what they believed in and for the love of the people they held dear. A deep love of family, a true love of country and an insatiable desire to protect those they held close to their hearts.
OK, so I may have read a few too many historical fictions in my time but I'm a sucker for the dramatic profession of love you find in the pages of a good old romance novel ♥
Crusader's Heart is a quick and easy pieced pattern and I think your going to love sewing this little quilt. Its simple, basic piecing with a few quick corners so it all goes together nice and easy. Its a great afternoon project and you have plenty of time to sew your own mini before Valentine's Day.
I raided my scrap bins for this one and I couldn't be happier with how it turned out. I wanted a soft colour palette to make that gorgeous red heart pop and I chose the grey polka dot to tie in with my home decor because I'm using mine on our lamp table.
Just a quick note regarding the pattern. I drafted the design so that the red heart is in sections and it can either be sewn in one fabric as I have done or you can make it scrappier and use two or three fabrics if you want, the choice is yours.
This was actually the first full project I made on my new machine and it was when we were first getting acquainted and I was a little timid but it all went together almost perfectly.
I quilted it with a serpentine stitch and I really like this quilting. I gave up trying to make all of my waves start at the same point so there's a few random ones but I didn't stress about it and if I don't look at it too closely, I'm happy :)
I picked a grey and white striped fabric for the bindings and its a soft finish to this quilt. I always lean to the darkest colour in a quilts palette when choosing a binding, but I mixed it up this time and tried something different :) I think I like it. What do you think? Yes or No?
I'd love for you to make your own version of my Crusader's Heart mini quilt, so just go HERE to download and print your free pattern. It includes full step by step instructions and diagrams, a colouring sheet to plan your fabrics/colours plus optional instructions for adding a hanging sleeve or corner hangers. And I may or may not have scattered a few little love quotes throughout the pattern as well :)........told ya I'm a romantic :)
Enjoy ♥ and don't forget to tag me in any photos you post of this mini. I loooooove seeing your work!
Happy sewing, lovers ♥

Sunday, January 28, 2018

Week Ending (Jan 28)

I'm introducing a new weekly feature to my blog and I'm totally stealing the idea from the lovely Sherri at The Quilting Life.  I thoroughly enjoy Sherri's Saturday Seven and I thought it was a fantastic way to share all the fun things I find on social media.
Every Sunday I'm sharing a list of 7 links that caught my attention during the week and that I think may interest you too.  I'll be sharing quilting and fabric news/giveaways, recipes, freebie crochet patterns and CAL's, new blogs to follow etc., everything and anything that I find during the week and absolutely love. Some of them will be new, some will be things I've searched for but either way I hope they are useful to you.
They are not affiliated links, and you must visit the links for all the information.
So here's what I loved this week:

  • Amy from Diary of A Quilter has all the details for a Kona Solids FQB Giveaway and a discount code at I Love Fabric. Head to her blog HERE for all the details :) 
  • I want to crochet more wearables this year and I found an infinity scarf I adore. Take a look at the free pattern for the Malia Infinity Scarf by Little Monkey's Crochet HERE.
  • Have you seen the new fabric line from 3 Sisters, Victoria? OMG! Go HERE to swoon ♥
  • I tried a new recipe this week for our Australia Day BBQ. This Peach and Raspberry Pudding was delicious served with homemade custard and ice cream and you can find the recipe HERE.
  • Two Hearts Crochet is running a Solar System CAL and I have seen a lot of fantastic progress in their Facebook Group. If your interested, just visit HERE.
  • The Fat Quarter Shop is hosting a new charity Quilt Along called Clementine and the quilt is absolutely gorgeous. I'm tempted to join, go HERE and see for yourself.
  • I love my ergonomic crochet hooks but I have a lot of metal hooks which I don't use because they are uncomfortable. I found a great DIY tutorial for making polymer handles and you can find it HERE
I hope you enjoy all of this weeks links and don't forgot to check out Sherri's Saturday Seven. She's such a talented lady and one of my favorite blogs to follow. You'll love her ♥
Happy week ending :)

Friday, January 26, 2018

Vegetarian Rolls

One of my favorite things to do in the kitchen is recreate or copycat food that we have eaten in restaurants, cafes or bakeries. Yes I am that person who photographs her plate when it arrives and its quite possible I'm not paying attention to the conversation because I'm identifying flavors and textures as they dance over my taste buds. I have one of these copycat recipes to share with you today, some delicious Vegetarian Rolls:
I've been playing around with this recipe for Maddi and Michael. They are learning to cook as a team and they needed more ideas to fill their lunchboxes or for that quick weekend meal. Maddi is vegetarian and they both eat as healthily as they can, but I thought these Vegetarian Rolls might be a nice treat for them to have from time to time.
They do a lot of their cooking on the weekends so they can make a big batch of these and pop them in the freezer ready to pack in the lunchbox. They are flavorsome little morsels packed with vegetables and spiced with cumin and turmeric. The spice is very delicate and they are loaded with sweet potato which adds a beautiful sweetness to every mouthful.
How yummy does that filling look? Beautiful colours and beautiful ingredients. To compliment the sweet potato and spices, there's also baby spinach, chickpeas, red onion and feta :) Yummm!
The filling takes a little time to prepare but using frozen pastry sheets counteracts that and you can whip up a batch or two quite easily.
I just want to mention the chickpeas. I use the canned ones and I do drain and wash them prior to putting them in the food processor with a little water and blitzing. You could drain and reserve the liquid to use instead, but washing them cuts the salt content and its better to add your own salt to taste.
I use three sheets of pastry and cut each sheet in half before spooning the filling down the middle of each one. You could pipe it if you want but I find it easier this way. Once they are rolled, I cut them into four small rolls but for a light summer lunch, cut them in half and serve them with a salad.
I'm very particular about my pastry and so is Cohen. No dark, crunchy pastry for us, we prefer it just cooked; a slightly under cooked bit here and there is a bonus, we're weird I know. I give mine a light coating of milk (you can use egg wash if you prefer) and then a sprinkling of sesame seeds for that extra texture.
The filling is already cooked so its just at matter of cooking the pastry and I find 20 minutes is enough for me but it depends on how golden (or cooked) you like your pastry to be.
Pack a batch in the picnic basket or serve them for afternoon tea. They are delicious straight from the oven or cold from the fridge and your guests will love them ♥
If you would like to try my Vegetarian Rolls, you can download the recipe HERE or right click on the photo below and save to your computer for later.
I hope you (and Maddi and Michael) enjoy these Vegetarian Rolls. I really enjoyed recreating this one because I got to play with so many beautiful ingredients and you know what? I think I nailed it.
To all my Aussie readers, Happy Australia Day! I'm just putting the finishing touches to our table ready for a family BBQ lunch. I hope you enjoy your celebrations and the long weekend :) Stay safe!
Happy baking :)

Tuesday, January 23, 2018

Ophelia Mini Quilt + Your Free February 2018 Calendar

I'm so excited to share a new mini quilt pattern with you today. Its been such a long time since my last one (November) and they really are the highlight of my month. Let's just dive straight into it shall we and welcome the stunning Ophelia to my pattern family:
Ophelia is a scrappy style, paper pieced and pieced mini quilt and once again I've used the gorgeous Charleston and Les Petits fabrics from Amy Sinibaldi. You may be tired of seeing me use them (we can no longer be friends, kidding) but I picked these fabrics for a couple of reasons:
  1. I love them ♥
  2. They looked so gorgeous in a stack and I wanted to see how many I could use in a mini.
  3. I love them ♥
  4. Refer to number 1 and number 3 :)
They are stunning fabrics and I just ordered her newest fabric line Dollhouse, which is (squeal) adorable :) They are a beautiful mix of greys, pinks and apricots but I'll share more on those in another post.
I love the scrappiness of this design and can you see the hidden ribbon star? It's so subtle and sweet. As I mentioned, the fabrics look so pretty in a stack and I wanted to see how many I could use in a mini. I think I got 14 different ones into this 15" square quilt.
The background is a soft mix of white homespun and a low volume cream/coral, giving the mini depth and that gorgeous checkerboard effect.
The centre block is paper pieced in four easy sections and then the border is pieced with simple units, so it goes together quite quickly and easily. Its the perfect weekend project and a great use of your favorite scraps.
In Greek, Ophelia means "help" so this mini is designed to have you shopping your stash and using some of those pretty fabrics. See how helpful I am? :)
I quilted my Ophelia mini with a loopy stipple to give it that lovely texture and I finished it off with the navy binding to frame all those gorgeous fabrics.
I'm always trying to improve my patterns and give you more value for money, so this year I'm adding something extra to my PDF patterns. I talk lots about making multiples of mini quilt blocks for larger quilts so I decided to start including some layout suggestions to help you out. They are a visual guide only and you will need to work out sashings etc. but they give you some inspiration. Its also interesting to see how blocks change in multiples or in different settings. Anyhoo, I hope they are helpful to you and I'm only an email away if you need help adapting any of my designs :)
So, if you would like to make your own Ophelia mini quilt, from today until the end of February you can purchase the PDF pattern at the discounted 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.
And I know I forgot the January one, but I do have your free February 2018 calendar, featuring the stunning Ophelia:
Just pop over HERE to download and print :)
Well that felt good! I love releasing a new mini pattern and I hope you have fun with Ophelia. I enjoyed auditioning all of the fabrics for this scrappy mini and its nice to have all of my favorites in one little quilt. I hope you can do the same :)
Happy sewing :)

Tuesday, January 16, 2018

Threadbare HQ

Are you ready for a look at my new sewing space? I'm super excited to take you on a little tour of Threadbare HQ :)
Quick recap in case you missed it- my studio of ten years was in a large room at the back of the garage. It was great but it was also isolating and made me feel detached from the comings and goings of our family life. After our daughter moved to her new home and we had a huge household reshuffle, I moved to a smaller room inside our home :)
I've taken heaps of pictures because I had so much I wanted to show you, so lets go:
Welcome to Threadbare HQ :) This room is at the front of the house and its bright and sunny and overlooks our front garden. It's also right across the hall from the kitchen (my second favorite room) which means I can cook and sew at the same time, and there's no running back and forth from the garage (plus the toilet is closer ladies, I'm sure you understand lol) The only downside is that I feel obligated to keep it clean because you walk past the room when you enter the house, but that also has its perks doesn't it? :)
On the right hand side is the wardrobe which houses all my fabrics, craft supplies, bolts, wadding etc. and right in front of you is my cutting table:
Hubby made me this table years ago. He put a pine top on the bottom half of an old wardrobe that was left in the garage when we brought the house. Its probably a little higher than most people like, but its perfect for me and I'm not hunched over while I'm cutting (less back and shoulder discomfort). The original drawers are still intact behind the curtains, and I've filled them with fabric, photo props, pellon, cushion inserts, stationery etc.
I like to surround myself with things that make me smile, so I hung a few of my minis on the wall space and decorated the top with some of my favorite things. Everything has a place and its all easy to grab so it works well. I'm in a bit of a succulent phase at the moment and I picked that one up over the weekend, mainly because of the mason jar but also because it was so darn cute :)
I do love this hutch ♥. Its perfect for storing all the little things us crafters accumulate and its great for displaying the trinkets I've collected over the years :) I spend a lot of time at the cutting table so it needed to look pretty but it also had to be functional as well and I think that it's both.
I wont show you inside the wardrobes because they still need painting (which will probably never happen) but I wanted to share how I organised all of my craft supplies. I had bits and pieces everywhere, so I brought eight of these storage boxes from the discount store and they have those handy divider inserts to keep everything organised. They saved so much space and its easier to find things because I can see whats inside each box.  Christmas wrapping was a breeze as I had one filled with stickers, labels, curling ribbon and bows and everything was in one place and quick to grab :)
OK so if we turn back around and face the door, you see my bookshelves:
I love these shelves ♥ To everyone else it might look like a jumbled collection of stuff, but to me there's a lifetime of memories up there. From my grandma's sewing baskets to the stuffed leopard Maddi brought me on a school trip to Queensland, from the statue that sat on my grandfather's piano (out of picture) to the last gift my mother in law gave me; each piece has its own story. I also have a my quilting books up there and some magazines that feature my projects, and of course my treasured button collection.
Also, I couldn't resist adding the twinkly lights; I'm a sucker for things like that :)
Underneath the shelves is my ironing station. I brought a small ironing board to fit this space and its great for pressing blocks and mini projects. My big ironing board lives in the laundry and I just get that out when I need it. Its hard to make an ironing station look pretty, but its practical and it works. This space also houses all my Threadbare paperwork, my diary, journals and notebooks and of course the television for background noise (now playing- I'm re-watching Sex and The City episodes for the millionth time, as I sew.....I love those girls)
So that just leaves my sewing area and you finally get to meet Beau ♥:
This is were all the action happens :) And how handsome is Beau? We are still getting properly acquainted but a firm friendship has been established over the last few days. I brought him home on Friday and I've had time to set everything up, learn the functions I require and make a little project.
I promised to tell you the reasons I purchased this machine and why Beau and I are such a good fit. It has ALL the bells and whistles and I could rave on and on about them, but honestly it all came down to buying a machine that allows me to make a quilt from start to finish.
The biggest selling point for me was how easy it was to free motion quilt and the Brother VQ3000 does it perfectly. The large work space is perfect for taking some of the weight of my bigger quilts, which means moving a quilt will be more fluid and less arduous on my shoulders and that deep throat guys......just perfect for quilting.
As far as sewing, trust me when I say, this machine stitches beautifully! I made the little nine patch sample yesterday and from start to finish everything sewed and quilted so easily and effortlessly. I used the walking foot for the quilting- no clunking or noise as it glided over the quilt, it was bliss :)
I'm no expert on machines but I do know what I need a machine to do for me. I talked at length with the salespeople and listened to their feedback about other machines (these people are the people who liaison between the customer and machine service centres so they know their stuff). I had a list of things I wanted to try at the demo and I'd downloaded the PDF machine manual so I had lots of questions to ask about unfamiliar functions.
Beau ticked all of the right boxes and I'm looking forward to a long relationship, creating together :)
Thanks for coming along on my little tour. I love Threadbare HQ and I'm looking forward to making lots of fun projects in here for years to come. I'm sure it will change over time but at the moment it functions perfectly and it allows me to be part of the family action as well. Oh and one HUGE and important plus I forgot to mention earlier.......this room is also closer to the coffee machine and the biscuit barrel :). Its the little things that count, right? :)
Happy sewing :)

Friday, January 12, 2018

{Tutorial} Say It With Fabric- Adding Lettering to Quilts

I'm feeling right at home now in my new sewing room but I'm still decorating it with bits and pieces that reflect me. My family refers to the room as Threadbare HQ so I decided to make myself a mini quilt using my business logo as the inspiration:
Tada! Now this was a fun little quilt to make and very close to my heart ♥. I had purchased some MDF letters to paint and spell CREATE but I'm so glad I decided to go with this mini instead.
As it was quick and easy to make, I thought I'd share a basic tutorial of my process so you can make something similar for yourself, maybe your own blog or business name. Its also a great way to add some lettering to your quilts, giving them that personal touch.
The first step is prepping the applique on your computer. Open a new file in a publishing program such as Word or Publishing. Set the page orientation to landscape and then chose WordArt. I have a tonne of fonts on file because I'm kinda addicted to them and they are great for adding unique text to photos or patterns. Most fonts are free for personal use but adhere to licence agreements if like me, you are using them for business. I decided to go with the same fonts as my logo:
For Threadbare I used Palatino Linotype (free download HERE) and I set the letter size to 300. Once your type in your letters, you can edit them to remove the default fill and shading and also change the thickness of the outline if you like. You can also flip their orientation so they are reversed and ready to trace for applique. Alternatively, I just flipped the printed pages and traced the letters onto vliesofix using my light box.
Creations is the Simply Glamorous font (free download HERE) and I sized this one at 250 to match how it appears on my logo. Its fun to mix different fonts and sizes, so play around until to you find what is visually appealing to you. The butterfly was mine and I sized it to suit but you can also find lots of free graphics to add to projects by doing a quick Google search.
Once my pieces were cut out, positioned and then fused to my background fabric (11 1/2" x 24 1/2"), it was time to applique. Due to the size/thickness of the fonts I chose two different methods to secure them. I machine appliqued the Threadbare using a blanket stitch (I have a quick tutorial HERE) but you could also stitch them by hand if you like.
I used raw edge applique for the Creations and it was actually the first time I had tried this method. It probably wasn't smart to learn on something with so many curves but it really is super simple and it worked perfectly. You can find a great tutorial HERE to help you.
I quilted my mini with some simple cross hatching. From the centre, I marked one line in each direction with a hera marker and then attached my seam guide to quilt the rest at 1" intervals. There was a lot of stopping, starting and thread burying because I didn't want to quilt over the lettering, but it was so worth all the effort and I love how soft and elegant it makes the quilt look.
I added the butterfly antennae with my machine after it was quilted and how cute are those securing stitches? They finish them off realistically with little club tips :)
I'm so happy with my new mini quilt and its hanging proudly on my wall. I'll show you some pictures of it in position next week when I give you a little tour of Threadbare HQ :)
Just before I go, I did buy a new machine and for those who asked (and I'm sorry I haven't replied), I brought a Brother VQ3000. Navigating machines and brands can be very confusing and daunting when you're thinking about buying a new machine. My advice is to listen to your salesperson, be clear with your needs for the machine, narrow it down to a few possibilities and then research, research, research! I'll tell you more about why this machine is perfect for me when I share my sewing room post and you get to see him (yes its a him and his name is Beau) :)
Until then, happy sewing :)
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