Sunday, 25 January 2015

New to Me in January

Welcome to the first New to Me Link Party in 2015. A new year needs a new blog button, so here it is!

There is a definite Celtic flavour to my makes this month, which may or may not have something to do with the Burns Night Celebrations planned for tonight :) My first New to Me in 2015, my Highland Fling Cushion pattern was a biggie!

Okay, the photo isn't that big, but being on the cover of a magazine certainly was for me!

I have also been trying out a new technique for the last of the Sampler blocks for my Quilt Group quilt.

I have no idea what the technique is called, but it involves tracing a pattern on to Stitch & Tear and then layering up the Stitch & Tear, background fabric and applique fabric and stitching along the traced lines. Then the fabric is cut back to 1/8th of an inch from the stitched lines, which was extremely nerve-wracking (!) and then the edges are satin-stitched over. I quite like the technique, although I may have bitten off more than I can chew by deciding to go it alone with the pattern, rather than use the flower garland pattern provided :)

If you know what this technique is called, I would be delighted to hear it.

So that's my New to Me this month, now it is your turn to share all the fascinating things that you have been up to in January. As ever please help to spread the word by linking back to this post in your post and/or adding the blog button to your sidebar.

As ever check out the other links and leave a comment along the way. The emphasis of this link party is to celebrate the trying of something new, whether it works out exactly as planned or not, so a little encouragement here and there would not go amiss! 

The link will remain open until 23.59GMT on January 31st, so you have plenty of time to try something new and link up and join the party :)

And, whilst you are in the mood for linking, don't forget to link up to the Ho, Ho, Ho and on We Sew January Link Party here if you have been working on any Christmas / Holiday projects this month too.

Friday, 23 January 2015

Highland Fling

When the Katarina Roccella collection, Indelible, was launched recently I have to admit I fell in love with it and immediately started planning what I would do with it. One lucky voucher win and lots of head scratching later, this is what I eventually did.

My very first printed pattern in a magazine, the Highland Fling cushion!

Can you tell I am just a little over the moon by it :)

And not just in the magazine, but on the front cover too! Okay it is the smallest photo on there, but thrilling all the same. The lovely fox applique project on the cover is by my fellow blogger from the North East, Josie at Sew for Soul, so I am in great company.

It was very nerve-wracking sending off my cushion cover to be photographed I can tell you, but Julie and her team at Sewing World couldn't have been more helpful, even when I was swanning around Miami when I was supposed to be posting off the cushion cover :)

I am delighted to finally be able to share this finish with you, as I think I have exhausted my husband and sons' supplies of interest in the Highland Fling cushion by now!

So, if you are looking to celebrate Burns Night on January 25th, but not so keen on haggis or whisky (give me haggis over whisky any day!) then this month's issue of Sewing World might just have the answer.

Don't forget there is still time to be in with a chance of winning this Christmas Felt Bundle

by linking up your Christmas / Holiday Makes to this month's

Link up here

Linking up to Crazy Mom Quilts

Thursday, 22 January 2015

Introducing Pocket and Pin

We have lined up a great selection of generous sponsors for the Ho, Ho, Ho and on We Sew Link Party again this year, but some of them might not be that familiar to you so I thought it would be nice to give them a chance to introduce themselves.

First up is this month's giveaway sponsor the lovely Sarah from Pocket and Pin

who has donated this great Christmas Felt Bundle.

To be in with a chance of winning link up your Christmas and Holiday makes here

As well as lovely felt bundles, Pocket and Pin carries a great range of ribbons and trims and the sweetest little embroidery hoops for brooches and necklaces I have ever seen, but enough of that here is Sarah's story.

"At Pocket&Pin you will find the prettiest supplies for your crafts. Our (I say 'our' it's just little old me) aim is to find the best quality trims, ribbons, felt, fabric and buttons we can that will add the perfect touch to your handmade creations. 
I am an avid crafter myself and I enjoy nothing more than sitting down with my sewing machine or knitting machine and getting lost in a project! (when my kiddo's let me that is!)
I studied Textiles & Surface Design at university and went on to be a Freelance Knitwear Designer, selling designs to various companies/designers in London, Paris and New York. I later fell into buying and gained some valuable experience from the opposite side of the business. Pocket&Pin finally became a reality after my two boys were born. I returned to work part-time but obviously I was craving more time with them and I had a desire to return to my textile background, this led me to launch Pocket&Pin.
I love sourcing gorgeous trims, ribbon, lace, fabrics and yarns, both new and vintage. I hope through my enthusiasm I can inspire my customers to get excited about sewing and working on their own home crafts. There is nothing more satisfying to me than creating bespoke 'not available anywhere else' items that suit me and my home perfectly.
We've just launched the #habdash box. A monthly craft supplies subscription delivered to your doormat at the beginning of each month. This is the next big venture for Pocket & Pin and it is proving very popular. February's box sold out in an hour!
There is also a forever long list of things i would like to do and products i would like to stock and a little bit at a time we will get there!"

We can all relate to that :)

Sunday, 18 January 2015

Ho, Ho, Ho and on We Sew Link Party - A Christmas Cushion

As regular readers will know, at the beginning of 2014 Paula and I decided that we were going to be organised for Christmas for a change, so we started our monthly Ho, Ho, Ho and on We Sew Link Party. Well, we so enjoyed that feeling of being organised in December that we have decided to enjoy it again this year. So welcome to the first monthly Link Party for 2015, and because it is a New Year we have a new Button!

grab button for Celtic Thistle Stitches

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<img src="" alt="Celtic Thistle Stitches" width="125" height="125" />
Needless to say we couldn't keep all the fun to ourselves so we invited our fellow bloggers to join and guest host the Link Parties throughout the year.

JanuaryCeltic Thistle StitchesFiona
FebruaryThreading My WayPam
MarchWonky PatchworkSally
AprilSLIK stitchesBenta
MayPractically PippyKaren
JuneCharly & Ben's Crafty CornerRuth

Patch the GiraffeChelsea
AugustSunshine Through the RainDeborah
SeptemberPractically PippyKaren

Party of Eight: Our StoryGina
OctoberElla and Nesta's Little RoomNesta

Sandra Sews :)Sandra
NovemberRose & DahliaJoanne
DecemberMud, Pies and PinsPaula

 As you can see we have gathered together a great bunch of bloggers!

Each guest host will provide a tutorial for a Christmas or Holiday-themed gift or Home Decoration item, so not only will you be given a gentle nudge every month to tick off something on that Christmas to-do list, but also inspiration for some great Christmas makes, should you be struggling to come up with the perfect project!

What more could you ask for??

Well, how about a few giveaways throughout the year??

The winners of December's Link Party Giveaways were

Quilting Book - Katie at Good Golly Ginger

Gift Voucher   -  Carla at Grace and Favour

Thanks to our lovely sponsors we also have random giveaways for some lucky linkers throughout this year too. I know we are spoiling you, but let's face it we all deserve a treat now and then :)

Crafty Trimmings

Quilting Fabric at the Fat Quarter Shop

This month's giveaway prize is this lovely Christmas Felt Bundle

courtesy of the lovely Sarah at


If you haven't already come across Sarah's store you are in for a treat, she has the most delightful vintage notions and trims and I have completely fallen in love with these Red Robin Buttons. I think they may just feature in some of my Christmas crafting this year :)

So, if you want to be the lucky winner of the Christmas Felt Bundle all you need to do is link up your Christmas / Holiday makes for this month here. The winner of the bundle will be randomly drawn when the Link-up closes at 24.00GMT on January 31st.

To kick start your Christmas crafting, how about a Christmas Cushion to make now and tuck away for December?

During their recent house move my mother came across some fabric that had been hidden away in her craft cupboard for years (it's in the genes obviously!) and passed it on to me.

Needless to say I did nothing with it before Christmas, but then I got to thinking how I could use the fabric other than for the Advent Calendar for which it was intended I think. I decided that a Christmas cushion was the way to go! I fondly imagine being able to change all of my cushion covers to appropriately themed covers for the Season, but there is a long way to go so it was definitely time to make a start :)

If you share a similar ambition, here is what you will need for your own Christmas Cushion.

1 F8th Christmas Label fabric - you will need enough fabric to have 6 complete motifs
1 FQ Solid White Fabric    - Fabric A
1 FQ Backing Fabric          - Fabric B
1 FQ Contrast Fabric for binding
16"/41cm nylon zip
Fusible Fleece or wadding - 12.5" x 19" ( I used fusible fleece because it was the whitest wadding that I had)
Cushion/Pillow Insert - 12" x 18"

N.B. Seam allowances throughout are 0.25"

Cutting Requirements

Christmas Label fabric - 6 Fussy Cut 3.5" squares

Fabric A

3 squares 3.5"
6 rectangles 5" x 3.5"
3 rectangles 6.5" x 3.5"

Fabric B

2 rectangles 2" x 3"
2 rectangles 19" x 6.5"

Binding Fabric

4 strips 2.5" x WOF

Step 1

Join the fabric pieces in the following order

Rows 1, 3 and 5

  1. Fabric A 5" x 3.5" rectangle
  2. Fussy Cut 3.5" square
  3. Fabric A 5" x 3.5" rectangle 
Rows 2, 4 and 6

  1. Fabric A 3.5" square
  2. Fussy Cut 3.5" square
  3. Fabric A 6.5" x 3.5" rectangle

Step 2

Join the pieced strips together, alternating the strips so that the fussy cut squares are offset.

Step 3

Fuse the fleece to the reverse of the pieced cushion front. Quilt as desired. I quilted parallel horizontal lines on the solid white fabric only.

Trim the quilted block. Set aside

Step 4

Fold over 0.25" at the short ends of each of the 2" x 3" Fabric B rectangles and press. Fold the pressed zip tabs in half lengthways and press again.

Sandwich the zip ends between the folded tabs, stitch across the folded edges to secure.

Make sure that the zip and tabs measure 19" in length in total

Step 5

Matching the top raw edge of one Fabric B rectangle 19" x 6.5" with the top raw edge of the zip, and with each Right Sides Together, attach the zip to the cushion back piece.

Repeat with the other Fabric B rectangle 19" x 6.5" on the opposite zip edge.

With the zip Right Side Up fold both cushion back pieces back so that they are also Right Side Up and press. Topstitch on each side of the zip to secure.

Step 6

Place the cushion back and front Wrong Sides Together and baste around the raw edges.

Join the 2.5" binding strips to make one continuous binding strip, fold in half lengthways and press. Matching the raw edges, stitch the binding to the cushion front, fold over and hand or machine stitch to the cushion back.

Give your cushion cover one final press. Insert the cushion form and pat yourself on the back for completing a Christmas project in January :)

Now, it's your turn to Link Up your Ho, Ho, Ho and on We Sew projects and maybe win that lovely Christmas Felt Bundle to kickstart this year's Holiday makes :)

Monday, 12 January 2015

First Bee blocks of the year

New Year, new blocks. The request for blocks in the Siblings Together Quilt Bee was for 4 x 10.5" blocks in gender neutral colours and prints. The blocks were pieced from 2.5" strips and for two of them the strips were enclosed by off-white border strips.


Here are my first two blocks,

STQB blockJan1

and here are the second.

These were really quick to put together, as ever it took longer to select the fabric than it did to make the block :)

Before making these Bee blocks, I thought that I had better try out the new machine so rustled up another Scrappy Trip Around the World block to add to my almost quilt sized collection.

I reckon another 4 blocks should do it!

The Queen Bee in the Fat Stash Brit Bee has been ominously silent this month, so for now I have my January Bee commitments done and dusted and we are only just into double figures in the month, perhaps 2015 will be the year I finally get organised after all :) Then again, I doubt it!

Speaking of organised, check back on January 18th for the first post in this year's Christmas Link Party

Linking up to

 Quilter in the Closet

Friday, 9 January 2015

Making me Happy

There have been lots of posts around Blogland on the topics of resolutions, buzzwords for the year, and similar themes. I am not going to bore you though with my New Year resolutions, which I am sure you will be delighted to know :)

Instead I am sharing with you my first make of the year, which sums up my outlook for 2015 rather neatly!

Makes you Happy Cushion front

The embroidered and appliqued front is from the Happy Hoop Art pattern by Helen at Bustle and Sew. The original pattern is for a framed Embroidery Hoop and I was originally going to finish mine that way, but decided that I would rather have a cushion instead, so a cushion it is. I added 2.5" strips of cream/red dot fabric around the embroidered panel to make a 16.5" cushion front.

I found the perfect backing fabric in my stash, bought at a market stall in France last summer and waiting for the right project to come along!

Makes you Happy back

I couldn't find the right buttons for a button backing and I really need to replenish my zip stash, so a quick and simple envelope back was the order of the day.

This was my first attempt at free-machine embroidery on the Bernina, and I can't say that it was a wholly wonderful experience, so I might have to bite the bullet and watch that instructional video after all :)

I hope like me your 2015 will be filled with "more of what makes you happy"

Linking up to Crazy Mom Quilts

Stitcher Link Party Button

Monday, 5 January 2015

To market, to market

I realised when I was going through my post list that I had forgotten to post pictures of our Christmas Market trip to Aachen, so whilst we are still (just) in the festive season I thought I would give you a quick glimpse of the trip.

We picked Aachen in Germany as our destination as we were all keen to travel by train, via the Eurostar, rather than fly. Train travel means no hassle with baggage allowances, no 2 hour check-ins and we get to start off our journey in style with some of this!

Instagram photo by celticthistle - Champagne at St Pancras ready for our Christmas Market trip to Aachen #StPancras 

Eurostar journeys from St Pancras always start off with a glass or two in the Champagne Bar :)

Having decided upon the destination purely and simply on the travelling time and number of market stalls, we had no idea that Aachen was such a lovely and interesting city, 

So, as well as admiring giant versions of the gingerbread that Aachen is famous for,

 and purchasing some of the same at the Market stalls

along with the odd glass of Gluhwein! (I can heartily recommend the Gluhwein with Amaretto, it is delicious!)

Adding to the collection

We were amazed by the glory of Aachen Cathedral,

Aachen Market Square

coronation church of more than 30 German Kings and the burial site of Charlemagne, so you can understand why it is such an impressive building.

Inside as well as out!

Just across the square was the just as impressive Town Hall, home to the coronation banquets between 936 and 1531.

Aachen Town Hall

They certainly don't build them like this anymore, do they?

As you can probably tell, we had a wonderful weekend in Aachen and would definitely recommend a visit if you ever get the chance, especially at Christmas time. Well, Gingerbread, Gluhwein and Glorious Architecture, not to mention German efficiency :) What more could you ask for in a weekend trip?

Paula and I have decided that we liked being organised for Christmas so much in 2014 that we are going to host our year-round Christmas Link Party again in 2015. We have a couple of slots free for guest hosts, so if you would like to take part just let us know, and we can give you all the details.

Look out for the first post here on January 18th.

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