Thursday, 25 June 2015

New to Me in June

Welcome to another New to Me Link Party, where we celebrate flexing our creative muscles and trying something new, whether we have succeeded or not :)

My New to Me activities this month are definitely a mixed bag.

First up, my very first published paper piecing pattern.

My Designer Shoe Boot cushion pattern that appears in the latest edition of

Next my first attempt at reverse applique for the Wine Bottle gift bag that was this month's Ho, Ho, Ho and on We Sew project.

Head on over to Charly & Ben's Crafty Corner  to add your own links and check out Ruth's wonderful So Frosty quilt pattern and Flying Geese tutorial whilst you are there!

And finally, the scary manual challenge laid down by Katy to ignore all those tempting automatic settings on my camera and try to fathom it all out for myself!

So, that's my New to Me activities this month, now it is your turn.

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.

Check out the other links too and, maybe, leave an encouraging 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 June 30th, so you have some time to try something new and link up and join the party :)

Friday, 19 June 2015

A long delayed finish!

I have been waiting impatiently for what seems like ages to share this finish with you, so I am delighted to finally have the opportunity.

Sometime last year, I submitted a project to Fat Quarterly which was accepted and the publication date was set for February. Then the bombshell that was VAT MOSS landed, which meant (in a nutshell) that suppliers of digital files, such as quilting e-zines, to recipients throughout the EU now had to pay the VAT rate relevant in each member state of the recipients. The UK solution to this big headache involves quarterly VAT returns that require a working knowledge of VAT rates throughout the EU, so it was not surprising that the editors of Fat Quarterly decided to suspend operations for a while until the ramifications of the changes and an acceptable way of working with them were ironed out.

Thankfully that hiatus is now over and the latest issue of Fat Quarterly has just hit the stands.

Issue 20 is dedicated to paper piecing and contains, amongst some amazing patterns, my very first paper piecing pattern!

The pattern was inspired by a visit some time ago to the V & A museum in London, where some outrageous shoes by the designer Alexander McQueen caught my eye.

Shoe Boot design cushion cover
Designer Shoe Boot cushion
Sadly my budget does not match my desire so I decided to go for the next best thing and make my own version of a McQueen Shoe Boot. Creating the paper-pieced pattern was most definitely a challenge for my poor brain cells, but they managed to survive, just! Of course, I did make things a little bit more difficult for myself by incorporating a zip into the pattern, but it really wouldn't have been the same without it, believe me :) The skull charm is, for me, the icing on the cake.

So, if your taste in shoes transcends the contents of your wallet like mine, and you are looking for a way to scratch that designer shoe itch, now you know where to go. Whilst you are at Fat Quarterly check out the amazing Acrobat cushion pattern by Juliet, I am definitely adding it to the must try list!

Perhaps I ought to attempt one of the cushions as a future Ho, Ho, Ho and on We Sew project to add another gift to the pile of handmade goodies :) Don't forget to link up your Christmas and Holiday crafting this month over at Charly & Ben's Crafty Corner to be in with a chance of winning your choice of a mini Charm Pack from the Fat Quarter Shop

Linking up to Crazy Mom Quilts

Thursday, 18 June 2015

Ho,Ho, Ho and on We Sew - the wine edition!

I know that it seems crazy to be thinking of Christmas when, here in the Northern Hemisphere, we are just heading into summer, but believe me my quilty friends you will thank me come December!

Welcome to another Ho, Ho, Ho and on We Sew Link Party!

As ever our mission is to have you all organised and calm by the time December 25th comes around, and to help us we have gathered together a great bunch of bloggers, who are posting tutorials for gift and home decoration projects throughout the year, you can find all of the previous tutorials by following the link at the top of the page. This month, our guest host is Ruth, who blogs at the lovely named Charly & Ben's Crafty Corner  As a stalwart of the Modern Quilters Ireland Group and an avid Bee member and magazine contributor to boot, Ruth has so many strings to her bow that my head spins just thinking about them :) Head on over to Charly & Ben's Crafty Corner to see Ruth's gorgeous So Frosty quilt pattern, which definitely proves the adage that a "quilt is not just for Christmas!"

Of course, it wouldn't be a Ho, Ho, Ho and on We Sew Link Party without a giveaway and this month's giveaway comes courtesy of the lovely people at the Fat Quarter Shop


                                                                Quilting Fabric at the Fat Quarter Shop

This month one lucky winner will get to pick their favourite from the Fat Quarter Shop's range of mini charm packs, and all you have to do is link up your Christmas or Holiday makes for June to be in with a chance of winning. The winner of last month's Japan Crafts Mini Rice Bag Kit was Ruth, who has an Asian-themed meeting coming up soon at her Guild meetings, so the timing of the win couldn't have been better!

As you know last month I treated myself to a new craft book (well new to me anyway)

So, I decided to have a go at one of the projects from the book for my Ho, Ho, Ho and on We Sew make. As a regular wine gift giver and a recycler of paper gift bags I am always wary of being caught recycling a gift bag to the original donor, but this month's project should avoid that embarrassment :)

 The centre involved some reverse applique, which I have never tried before so not only a Ho, Ho, Ho but also a New to Me, two birds comes to mind!

I brought lots of Christmas linen/cotton fabric back from Latvia, so I can easily whip up a few more of these gift bags before December, well, in theory anyway :)

So, now it is your turn to share your Christmas and Holiday makes over at Charly & Ben's Crafty Corner

As ever, a big thank you goes to our generous sponsors who have provided us with such lovely giveaway prizes throughout the year.

Crafty Trimmings

Logo Sew Hot

Plush Addict Logo

Quilting Fabric at the Fat Quarter Shop
Linking up to Sew the Library at Weekend Doings

Monday, 15 June 2015

Manually Challenged!

Regular readers of this blog will know that I have been trying to follow the challenges laid down by Katy each month to discover and try out hitherto unknown settings on my camera. This month's challenge was very daunting - to dispense with the comfort of automatic or pre-set settings and go into freefall with manual!

My husband thinks I spend too much time dithering over taking photos as it is, so this was definitely going to be a challenge and a half :) Fortunately, for me, said husband took himself off to Ireland on a golfing trip last week so at least I wasn't clock watching as well as trying to get my head around the manual settings!

The gardens in a local stately home are just coming into their best so that was my first port of call for the manual challenge.

Gardens, Belsay Hall Northumberland

I am used to only having to think about one setting when I take my photographs, so as you can probably imagine having to consider several things seemingly at once took a bit of getting to grips with! Landscapes, at least, don't move which is more than can be said for the subject of the next challenge photo.

A while ago my mum gave me a solar-powered butterfly decoration for a pot plant. Although the plant was sitting next to a set of patio doors, it clearly didn't get enough sun as the butterfly never moved an inch. A recent reshuffle of the rooms lead to said plant being relocated to the greenhouse. When we then had wall-to-wall sunshine for the next few days, well I am sure that you can image what happened! The poor butterfly has been frantically beating its' wings ever since :)

The perfect subject to challenge my manual skills. Just in case you think I have cracked it though, here is my first attempt :)

Not quite so obvious there is a butterfly there is it?

I have certainly enjoyed this challenge, and would never have attempted the manual settings on the camera without it, but I suspect that it will take a lot more practise on my part before using the manual settings comes anywhere near naturally to me.

How about you? Are you a point and shooter, or do you know your way around your camera settings like a pro?

Linking up to

Camera Challenge Outtake - Where Shall I Take My 'Where I Went On My Holidays' Photos This Year?
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