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Hello again

I was reading Jenny’s blog again recently and was reminded that I wanted to give you all some more ideas for homemade gifts.

ELEFANTZ homemade stitched with heartstrings button

As you know I am a bit of a fan of Christmas fabrics and Christmas ornaments :-) and I think there is nothing nicer than a handmade ornament as a gift.

Years ago I used to cross stitch Christmas cards, pre blog so no pictures sadly, and loved doing it. However cards only tend to be used once then put away.

I got the idea for ornaments when my Mum started putting all the old cards out year after year so I thought why don’t I make hanging ornaments instead then they can be re-used.

So here are a selection of patterns and tutorials for your Christmas gifts, some by me others that I have found and love.

I now make at least 15 keepsake ornaments every year and they have become something that people always look forward to getting, it is lovely to go to friends’ houses and see things on their trees that I made years ago that even I have forgotten about.

Quilted Ball Ornaments

These are my 2015 special gifts for my friends from toddler group – 23 years of friendship and still going strong with sons and daughters now all in their 20s!

Quilted bauble

There is a great step-by-step tutorial here  and despite the fact that they look difficult they really aren’t. Great for relaxing in front of the TV as it is very therapeutic and you don’t need any sewing skills. Fabric is pinned onto a polystyrene bauble.

Christmas Stockings

These are ultimate cuteness and come from the lovely Julie of Little Cotton Rabbits. I would say medium level knitting skills and the instructions are brilliant. They are knitted flat and are very quick to do.

Knitted xmas stockings

Suffolk Puff Bauble

Again a great way to relax and you can embellish this with buttons, charms, pins etc as you wish. The base is a polystyrene bauble as with the quilted bauble.Detailed tutorial is here.

Suffolk puff bauble

Hexagon Ornaments

This is one of my designs combining my love of English Paper Piecing and Christmas fabric, I love adding charms and buttons to these.Tutorial on how to make them is here.

Hexi Xmas ornie

Cute embroidered hoops for children

Embroidered Xmas ornaments

I just had to share this one with you, no detailed instructions for this version but they look easy enough to follow from these pictures. There are some wonderful things in this 25 ideas booklet from 36th Avenue blog including these amazing cupcakes!Christmas tree cupcakes


Crazy Patchwork Trees and Hearts

I love using up all my scraps so have made some crazy patchwork ornaments over the years, here are some examples of little trees and padded hearts and a step by step tutorial for making the patchwork tree here.

Patchwork Xmas Hearts

Patchwork Xmas Tree

If you want to make the hearts just make a bigger patchwork sheet as below and cut hearts out from it.

Patchwork ornaments

Star Pentagon Ornaments

I have not made these yet but they look beautiful and very simple to do. This Create 4 Fun site contains downloadable PDFs for this and other ornaments.

Star Pentagon Ornament

Small Cross Stitch motifs

This free pattern is for a game but I think they would make lovely ornaments stitched and surrounded by pretty Christmas fabrics.

Small cross stitch motifs

There are lots more links to free cross stitch patterns at this site with a good selection for children’s ornaments.

Redwork Sampler

What could be more festive than redwork? This free sampler pattern from Bronwyn Hayes at Red Brolley    is so lovely and could easily be used for smaller ornaments. There are more redwork Christmas freebies at that site as well.

Bronwen Hayes _Christmasredworkembroiderysampler_1

Happy Christmas ornament making, take care and see you soon. Thanks for visiting.

Hello everyone

Hope that you are all ok and not too battered by wind and rain. In Yorkshire we have been having very dark days and lots of colder weather, it is lovely to stay inside at this time of year and snuggle up with some stitching. I spent all of yesterday with my fleecy blanket and some hand embroidery in front of the TV which was brilliant.

I have been reading some very inspiring letters this week, written during the American Depression of the 1930s and contained in a beautiful book, The Farmer’s Wife 1930s Sampler Quilt.

Farmers wife book

I had seen this book on various blogs and had been tempted by it for the beautiful hand piecing but told myself I didn’t need another quilt block book.

Then I read the info and realised that it was actually reproductions of letters from the Farmer’s Wife magazine of the era and since I love anything that ties history and crafting together got a copy.

fabric and farmers wife book Nov 8

The letters were obviously published to try to inspire and support women living through that time of poverty and uncertainty and talk of the joys of a simple life, growing your own food, valuing time with family, (and putting that first above cleaning!) and the beauty of your surroundings.

I have really enjoyed reading them and plan to make a few of the blocks for a hanging in my craft room, I think they would look lovely out of the Liberty scraps I have.

fabric and farmers wife book Nov 9

I also have some new fabric to show you, bought last week at Simply Solids. This I just had to add to my Christmas fabric stash because it is so cute, look at these reindeer! This is from the Festive Modern Christmas Collection by Makower.

Fabric Nov

fabric and farmers wife book Nov 2

This one below will look lovely with some of the bird embroidery designs from Jenny of Elefantz, I am doing well with my hanging for the craft room so will be back to ornament stitching next week.

I am intending to use this and the Makower snowflake one as surrounds for more pretty Noel birds. This fabric is called Evergreen Marshmallow Goodwill by Basic Grey.

fabric and farmers wife book Nov 3

fabric and farmers wife book Nov 4

My lovely friend Helen also gifted me this – she thought it would well for the Steampunk costumes that we are making for later next year, I love all the whimsical things here. I don’t know where this fabric comes from though.

fabric and farmers wife book Nov 5

fabric and farmers wife book Nov 6

I think all of this fits in very well with one of my favourite letters from the book a woman talking about how she was having a bad day and saw this quote from the bible, ‘Whatsoever things are lovely….think on these things.’

It is very soothing to have lovely fabric and lovely things to look forward to when it is cold and dark and I am very lucky to have lots of lovely things in my life, hope that you are too!

One very lovely thing is happening this week as we are having graduation.

There is always a great sense of achievement for my students and their families on this day and it is lovely to meet so many parents, children and partners who have supported my students along the way. Most of them are mature students and like the farmer’s wives in the book have so much to do as well as study.

The best bit for me is when the staff line up on the way out of the hall and clap them all as they leave, that always makes my day as they are not expecting that and is great to see the smiles on their faces as they pass us.

I do have a great job and am very thankful for it, despite the funding cuts and stresses of teaching it is a very lovely thing to do ;-)

Hope you are going to have a great week ahead with lovely things in it, see you soon and thanks for visiting.


Hello everyone, hope that you are all having a good week, back to normality this week which has been good fun though I do miss my craft room,especially when it is now looking so lovely and coordinated!

I have just finished making some more handmade gifts, the first one for me and also some for my lovely sister-in-law Amanda, it is ok as she doesn’t read my blog so won’t know what I have made her for Christmas ;-)

ELEFANTZ homemade stitched with heartstrings button

The stitching designs for all three pieces come from the lovely Jenny of Elefantz and can be found in her Craftsy shop.

The hexi flower stitch design is a freebie and I had just enough of the lovely Cath Kidston style fabric to make this gorgeous little needlecase.

Needlecase Jenny

I am very pleased as this was the first time I had ever done lazy daisy stitch.
Needlecase Jenny 2

The needlecase is lined with a white on white print and has a layer of wadding in between and felt for the needle storage.

Needlecase Jenny 3

I also used the decorative stitches on my new machine to quilt the back part.

Needlecase Jenny 4

Needlecase Jenny 5

For Amanda’s presents I used Jenny’s Stitchin Machine and Stitch in Time designs, I have already used the full Stitch in Time one for the paper piecing case for my Mum but just used part of it to make a cute little scissor pillow.

Needlecase Amanda

Needlecase Amanda 2

I have used some gorgeous variegated thread to stitch these as I thought it went really well with the fabric. It is called Cottage Garden Threads, this colour is 601 Tulip. They are an Australian brand and I got them from Quilted Hearts.

Needlecase Amanda 3

Needlecase Amanda 4

Needlecase Amanda 5

The lovely sewing notions print is one that I got from Simply Solids last year and made Amanda’s sewing case out of which I have put pictures of below.

I was lucky enough to find the last fat quarter of this print there last weekend so have some more of it for future gifts :-)

Xmas 2014 sewing case

Xmas 2014 sewing case 2

I really love these stitching designs from Jenny and am planning to do them again for me as a wall hanging for my craft room – they will look wonderful next to my new sewing machine themed wall rack!

Have a lovely rest of the week, see you all soon and thanks for visiting.

Hello everyone, hope that you have had a good weekend, a lot of my time this week has been spent in my lovely craft room which makes me very happy ;-)

Even though I have been here over 3 years now it is still a work in progress adapting the layout, adding to the furniture and decorating so I thought that I would share with you some of the prettiest bits. I am enjoying not finishing it all at once as it is lovely to buy things bit by bit.

If you are anything like me you love seeing rooms in people’s houses on their blogs, especially their craft rooms. I am currently really loving Vanessa from V and Co’s blog, she has a beautiful home with lots of quilts displayed.

One day that will be me, at the moment it is just quilt blocks but I am building up a good selection of these.

I decided against a full design wall but went for some pinboards where I can store blocks. I need to get some more of these as now I am making better progress with the Block of the Month challenge am getting into double layers.

Craft Room Oct 7

I went to The Range  this summer with my daughter, that is just the most gorgeous shop for homewares and craft things and I could have spent a fortune, I did spend a small amount on practical things like more storage for pins and magazines and got some bunting as well.

Craft Room Oct 3

My lovely daughter also keeps me well supplied with pretties such as all of these cute jars with buttons that she buys me for Christmas and birthdays and this lovely crochet basket in the picture below that came filled with delicious fruit curd and now holds some of my pincushions.

Craft Room Oct 4

Craft Room Oct 5

This stand was originally supposed to be a cake stand and is now the one I use for craft fairs, when at home it is for displaying my collection of cross stitch exchange ornaments, the Autumn ones are out at the moment but can’t wait to get the Christmas ones displayed as well.

Craft Room Oct 6

To be honest can’t wait to decorate the whole house, been playing with Christmas fabric since July and really want to cover the whole house in it ;-) Is it still too early do you think? Maybe I can now Halloween is over just like the shops do lol.

Last month’s treat for the craft room was this beautiful flower clock from Wilkinsons , I had been looking at this for so long and it goes really well with my framed flower prints.

Craft Room Oct 2

This month’s treat was an unexpected purchase, I had been thinking about maybe getting a cotton reel holder for near my machine when I saw one on a friend’s post and a quick search later found this gorgeous one that had to come and live with me. I got it from Vintage Pink and they have some really lovely craft room things, might have to go back for more later!

Craft Room Oct

Also on my wish list is this newly discovered accessory rack from Quilt Direct I was actually looking for simple hangers for some quilted hangings I am making but wouldn’t that go so well with my cotton reel rack! Like it was meant to be.

sewing machine rack

Also rather in love with these button themed things here – go and have a look at the cute button print drawer handles!

Thank you internet for all the lovely online shopping opportunities that are out there, I do love you!

I also had a very good time at Simply Solids  yesterday making a lovely thread catcher and pincushion so will post some pictures and info about that project later in the week.

Hope you all have a very good crafty week ahead, half term is over so it is back to lots of teaching next week but hopefully the weekend will be here very soon.

Take care and thanks for visiting.


Hello again everyone, hope that you have had a good week. I have had a lovely one, full of crafting time after work.

It is amazing how much you can get done when you don’t have to be out of the house for 13 hours a day! I have had a very nice time trying to be more creative with my quilting endeavours.

One of the people I really admire for her creativity is Amanda Jean of Crazy Mom Quilts, she does the loveliest things with scraps and also recently had a Pincushion Party to promote her new fabric range. She makes so many cute pincushions to keep in a basket to give to friends so I have been trying to make some quick ones out of scraps.

This is my first one, following a design that Vanessa from V and Co did as part of the Pincushion Party and I am very pleased with it, it only look about 3/4 hour to sew the strips and that was with putting together the fabric as well.

Pincushion Party 1 - Stripey

Pincushion Party 2 - Stripey back

The back is some Cath Kidston style fabric that I bought last year at Harrogate Knitting and Stitching Show, will definitely get some more of that if I see it this year as have used it a lot.

The fabrics that I have used are all the offcuts from the Block of the Month Challenge that we have been doing, I am catching up well, have made May’s block a Box Kite , and a random block out of bits that I had left that were not big enough for doing June’s block.



I am calling this one Bow Tie Nine Patch as I don’t know what it is really called as I put it all together myself.

BOM Random

Am enjoying this experimenting, on the downside this has ended up a 10 inch block rather than a 12 inch but I do have some other 10 inch ones that I can use with it, (and a couple of 13 inch ones). Accurate piecing is one of the things that I still have to work on ;-)

I have had to swap to other fabric for the rest of the blocks from June, I am trying to keep them all cohesive so that I can make a couple of lap quilts out of them for Christmas presents.

Am planning to make more scrappy pincushions – here are some of my inspiration pictures, sorry don’t know where I got these from as did not make a note of the source but think probably from Pinterest.

patchwork and doily pincushion

little linen houses

This one is a free stitching pattern from Jenny of Elefantz, you can get it from her Craftsy store . I think this would look cute in the rest of that Cath Kidston style fabric that I have used above.

elefantz pin

Am off for a class at  Simply Solids  this weekend to make a pincushion and thread catcher so really looking forward to that. Have been doing some decorating of the craft room so will share some photos of that in the next post.

Have a good weekend ahead and enjoy yourselves if you are celebrating Halloween. Ellie and Kerry are going to Leeds to be chased by zombies! Sounds fun but I am just going out to see some bands with friends from knitting group.

Thanks for visiting and see you soon.

Hello again

Just popped in to share with you some things from the lovely Jenny of Elefantz’s blog. I am really enjoying stitching her designs and the bad weather and poorly chest have meant that on the positive side I have got two more stitch designs done this week, just need to do the finishing then I can show them to you.

October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month and Jenny has designed a lovely bird with flowers, not as a fund-raiser but as a gift to anyone you know who is facing breast, or other cancers as a gift for support. It would also make a lovely gift for anyone who is having a hard time at the moment for any reason and can be personalised with any text.

ELEFANTZ DESIGNS booby bird BC awareness 2015 d

You can find the details at this blog post and download the design at her Craftsy store.

She is also encouraging us all to use handmade gifts this Christmas, I am definitely very much in favour of that and hope that you all are too. If you don’t craft yourself then find a local craft fair or look on Etsy  to support a craftsperson.

ELEFANTZ homemade stitched with heartstrings button

Jenny is doing a series of posts with great ideas for Christmas gifts that you can easily make from a variety of crafts. The first one is here and has links to free patterns for slippers, scrappy hearts, table runners, bags and baby gifts.

She has asked people to join in and share ideas for gifts so here is a tutorial from Very Berry Handmade, (purveyors of the lovely Liberty scrap packs), for a pincushion, because I love pincushions and everyone should have one, (or preferably more!) Picture from the Verry Berry blog.

Verry Berry pincushion

The tutorial is very clear with step by step photos and would be a great way of using scraps. You could also make this into a mug rug or coaster set.

Have fun whatever you decide to make, see you soon and thanks for visiting.

As regular readers know I do love buying books, am trying to be good about buying novels as I have so many to read already but the temptation of Amazon is hard to resist!

However I have allowed myself the purchase of two lovely books by bloggers that I am going to use as Christmas presents.

One is from the lovely Nana Company blog  by Amy Sinibaldi and is something that I had my eye on for a while.

The Sweetly Stitched Handmades  has got so many lovely ideas in for using Liberty and linen and some great gift ideas.

new books Oct

This bear cushion is one of my favourites, isn’t that brilliant! Such a simple idea but so cute.

new books Oct 2

I also really love the spot trivet, there have been lots of these on social media and they are all gorgeous.

new books Oct 3

And look, stacked hexi flowers! What a great idea.

new books Oct 4

The other book was one from a new blog to me, Why Not Sew?, where Erin makes lovely vintage inspired quilts.

I found her blog and her book through Crazy Quilt Mom’s pincushion party where she had made the cutest little bird pincushion and really loved the book Sweet Treats , you can see everything that is in the book at this post here.

All of the designs feature cute little birds and these are some of my favourite ones. Isn’t her stitching so good, especially love that last one with the umbrella!

new books Oct 5

new books Oct 6

new books Oct 7

new books Oct 8

new books Oct 9

Am making good progress with all my WIPs, lots of things got halted because of the need to make kit for people, the things for Yarndale and the wedding outfit but am now back on with the block of the month challenge that we had set ourselves.

I completed May’s block this weekend and an extra one to use up the fabric I had so that I can make the first 6 blocks into a lap quilt as a Christmas present.

I will then start on the blocks from June which will be a second lap quilt using some gorgeous fabric I bought at the Birmingham Quilt Festival.

I am really enjoying our challenge, even though I am so behind, and it is definitely making me more confident with my quilting skills, my piecing is far more accurate and we have done some blocks that I would never have attempted on my own.

Pictures when I have put it together as a quilt top, hopefully some time in the next week. Have a lovely week ahead whatever you are doing and thanks for visiting.

Hello there, hope that you are all well and happy and are doing something nice.

I am looking forward to a wonderful weekend of sewing, I have just finished up two more Christmas ornaments and have a present to finish later and then just may have a play with the latest addition to my retirement fund.

I saw three ladies at the Birmingham Festival of Quilts who had brilliant t-shirts on with the logo, ‘I have a retirement plan, I plan to quilt’. I always tell the kids that one of the reasons I buy fabric now is so that I will have enough when I am living on my pension, well it won’t go off will it?

I would not have bought this were it not for my friend Debbie who came to knitting with this lovely and incredibly cheap fabric from our local haberdashers, only £2.20 a metre, you just have to buy some at that price!

Xmas fabric oct 15

Xmas fabric oct 15 3

Xmas fabric oct 15 4

Xmas fabric oct 15 5

Then there was this that was a little bit more expensive, (so I only bought 1/4 metre lengths of this), the latest Makower print.

Xmas fabric oct 15 1

It is going to be the best sort of weekend as it is followed by half term, (yippee :-) :-) !) I am not off anywhere as I saw all the family last weekend but am working from home for most of it that so that means late starts and early finishes and lots of time for nice cooking and crafting.

I am very much in soup mode at the moment as I have had a horrible cough and cold and not felt like eating much else so have purchased the pumpkin for the annual soup!

Sadly it is raining which means that I won’t be going out, but more excuse to stay on the sofa, under the fleece and sew – what a lovely life.

Here are the Christmas ornaments that I finished yesterday, another one of Jenny of Elefantz’s wonderful designs, this is an adaptation of one of the designs in the Nov Stitchery Club set.

Elefantz Christmas Hearts stitchery

I altered the little flag to say Merry Christmas and am very pleased how neat the little letters have come out, Jenny’s designs are great for practising neat stitches. Just ignore those bits that aren’t so neat at the bottom of the bird ;-)

Xmas bird ornie 1

Xmas bird ornie 2

Xmas bird ornie 3

The little brass charm is from Stitch Direct.

I think these would look great in redwork stitching with that Makower snowflake fabric above so that might have to be my next set.

I have also treated myself to this book, it has been on my Amazon wishlist for a long time and once I have finished all the outstanding block of the month challenges, which I am hoping to do this week, I will be making a couple of runners for my house.

Xmas blocks book

Xmas blocks book 2

I have taken the decision not to do any craft fairs this year, what with making stuff for Sarah’s Yarndale stall and the wedding outfit and the possible trip to China with work that sadly did not happen, I felt that I would be too rushed so all my Christmas crafting this year will be for me!

I have already made most of the gift ornaments, that’s what you get for starting in July lol.

Have a very lovely weekend, thanks for visiting and see you all soon.

Am having a lovely weekend sewing, Jake has gone back to Uni so it is very quiet here now.

I am just finishing off the last few bits for Sarah’s stall at Yarndale next week but have popped in to share with you the very exciting news that her book of designs is being published and is available for pre-order.

Sarah's book Front-Cover

Not only does it have some stunning designs in it, Sarah is hugely talented and very creative and there are some beautiful things, it also features my lovely daughter Ellie with elf ears!

She was very, very excited to be asked to model for this, (unaccustomed as she is to having her photo taken of course), and had a brilliant day with the other two models, my friends Suzi and Helen from knitting group, in a local park which has a lot of dells filled with ferns and made a brilliant setting for the designs.

There is a little video showing the location and an outtake from the shoot here – the girls challenging their inner Charlie’s Angels!

Unfortunately the elf ears had to be added post -production as the make – up artist was not available that day but she looks fab in them.

I think this is my favourite picture of Ellie.

Ellie as an elf

Though this one is very lovely too – she is actually wearing one of my flower head dresses in this picture ;-)

Ellie as an elf

So go and take a look at all the wonderful designs in the full book – it is available on Ravelry and on Sarah’s Alder Sign website, it would make a lovely Christmas present for a knitty friend.

I can’t wait until my wrist is better and I can start knitting again. I think I am going to make a shawl like this beautiful one modelled by Suzi, or maybe a jumper for Ellie as she did request one of the ones she had modelled.

Suzi as an elf

Copyright for all pictures belongs to Sarah.

I am going to be having a lovely day again today, more sewing in front of the TV and it is Channel 5’s, ‘End of the World Weekend’, with lots of disaster movies. I do love a good disaster movie :-)

As long it is not really the end of the world as that would be sad, given the amount of work that Sarah has put into her book ;-) and the fact that Ellie and her best friend from Uni are going to Spain tomorrow for a very hard-earned week of R and R in the sun.

Hopefully we still all be here next week, I have a busy week ahead as the trainees are in all week so little crafting time but lots of fun planned around that.

Have a good week ahead and thanks for visiting.

You may know how much I like pincushions, I love making them, (here is a link to a post with some that I have made), I love using them and love looking for inspiration for them on Pinterest.

Well one of my favourite bloggers – Amanda Jean from Crazy Mom Quilts  has just released her first line of fabric called Good Neighbours and to celebrate she is having a pincushion party!

What a brilliant idea – I have been visiting the first few on the party circuit and they are all very lovely.

Here is the list  from Amanda’s blog if you would like to go and have a look, lots of lovely ideas and they make fab Christmas presents for stitching and knitting friends.

Date Blogger Name Blog URL
9/1/2015 Amanda Jean
9/2/2015 Anna
9/3/2015 Mary
9/4/2015 Svetlana
9/5/2015 Debbie
9/6/2015 Holly
9/7/2015 Carla
9/8/2015 Faith
9/9/2015 Vanessa
9/10/2015 Anna
9/11/2015 Krista
9/12/2015 Erin
9/13/2015 Lee
9/14/2015 Alex
9/15/2015 Cheryl
9/16/2015 Penny
9/17/2015 Amy
9/18/2015 Debbie
9/19/2015 Anne
9/20/2015 Melissa Corry
9/21/2015 Amber
9/22/2015 Nettie
9/23/2015 Adrianne
9/24/2015 Cindy
9/25/2015 Amy
9/26/2015 Chase
9/27/2015 Rene
9/28/2015 Erin
9/29/2015 Nicole
9/30/2015 Teri

Here are a couple on my wish list to make – look at this pretty daisy one with a tutorial here – this is a Russian site but the pictures explain it well.

Daisy pincushion

This one just has to be one of the cutest ones on the planet! The tutorial is here.


Have just finished one of the knitting needle cases for Sarah’s stall, pleased with the design and with the cute stitching I have used from my lovely new machine! Updates of all of that later, I have so much lovely stuff to blog about, been a very good week!

At least I will have lots to share with you when term starts in a couple of weeks and things get very hectic and no crafting gets done :-(

Take care and thanks for visiting.

November 2015
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