30 November 2013

brrrrrrr.........





The weather has turned noticeably colder this week, don't you think?  Poppy like me gets really cold hands, really quickly, so I decided to rustle up some pretty hand-warmers for her.  Inside the pretty covers (which I made using Tilda stripes and dots and gorgeous gorgeous Riley Blake, Bake Sale Cherry fabrics) there are little muslin pads filled will long grain rice ( I read somewhere that you must use long grain rice) and you simply pop them in the microwave for around 45-60 seconds and they heat up.   I also seem to recall reading that you should put a egg cup full of water in your microwave as just heating up the hand warmers can damage the microwave....I'm not sure if this is true, but there you go.   I would also add, for the next pair that I make...I'm going to add a little dried lavender to the rice, I'm hoping this will add a lovely aromatic, (rather than them smelling of cooked rice) I'll let you know if this works.

Looking outside whilst sewing, this was my view this week......... (makes a mental note to clean the windows!)




Have a lovely weekend!



26 November 2013

Three P's


This week has all been about Party Prep and a little Patchwork.


My first completed project of the week was this Pinwheel cushion, which I gave you a sneeky peek of HERE.
I just love these Japanese Sevenberry fabrics, the prints are so pretty and it has to be said, very Liberty-ish, don't you think?   It was only after I completed the cushion that I realised that the centre pinwheel had gone slightly array....grrrr why didn't I notice and even more annoying, why did I have to put it right in the middle!!!  Oh well....deep breath, I know it really doesn't matter in the bigger scheme of things!!


Poppy's party preparations have been going well.  It has to be said, I did get slightly carried away making felt bows, I'm going to pop one in each of the party bags and use the remainder as little prizes for some of the party games.  All that I need to do with these now, is to glue them to some ribbon covered alligator clips and then they'll be finished.



I also made Poppy a party rosette, a bit of annual tradition and for each of the party goers, a little 'Bitty Bloom' flower brooch.  My tutorial and templates for the brooches is HERE and to make Poppy's rosette, I stitched the Bitty Bloom to a circle of fabric and felt and added an extra sprinkling of buttons, ribbons and lace. Next job, to sew a party dress, but more of that next time.


Continuing on with the P theme and to finish, I discovered this the other evening after Jamie had gone to bed.....can you tell that he loves planes.....



Poppy meanwhile, has been practising being a pretty Pixie (check out the Pyjamas underneath!) 


They do make me smile!


18 November 2013

It's a Crafty Christmas Link Up ~ Let is Snow Embroidery Pattern


I'm thrilled to be taking part in this years Crafty Christmas Link Up organised by Laura from Bugs and Fishes.  My contribution is this festive embroidery pattern, perfect for those new to embroidery or as a quick project for more experienced stitchers.


I stitched mine using Back Stitch for the writing ( there's a quick tutorial for this here) and for the little snowflakes, I simply stitched 4 overlapping straight stitches.  By all means, please feel free to substitute these for your favourite stitches.

If you would like to embroider this design, firstly you will need to print the pattern.  To do so, highlight the picture below, then 'Right' click on your mouse, then select 'open in a new window' and  then print using the keys  'CTLR' and 'P'.  Please feel free to re scale the design to suit your needs.


A polite little note........this pattern is intended for you to happily enjoy sewing at home or to give as a gift.  In the spirit of the handmade market place, I would kindly ask that it should not be reproduced in any way for business purposes, please do be kind and respect this.  Thank you so much!! 


I transferred the pattern using this method on to natural linen and framed my completed design in a gorgeous red metal hoop, that was given to me many moons ago my by mum.  I couldn't resist adding the rusty tin jingly bells for a suitable festive touch.  Other ideas could be to use this on a cushion/pillow front or maybe add it to a patchwork mini quilt (you know how much I love those!!) oh the possibilities.......



I hope that you enjoy stitching the design and please do send me some pictures of your finished projects, I would love to see.

I'll be back with an update with links to all those taking part very soon, so watch this space!

Happy stitching
:: Edited 19th November 2013

I'm delighted to now add a link to all the fabulous blogs that are taking part

Felt House Gift Tag Holder – I ManuFatti















and there is more................................................................................



















A HUGE thank you so much to Laura for organising this crafty link up, I do not know about you, but I'm off to visit some blogs!! 

12 November 2013

To be a Farmers Wife or not?


I can not tell you how much fun I had making this mini quilt.  The pattern is called Christmas Star and it's Block B-7  from The Loyal Union Sampler by Jennifer Chiaverini.  I made it with the intention of using it as a Christmas decoration, but to be honest it's up now and the chances of it going down after Christmas....zip!!  I used a selection of gorgeous red Tilda fabrics from my stash, including one of my favourite, now out of print ones.  I don't know about you, but I have a huge stash of fabrics from my Buntings days and amongst these I have a pile of precious ones bought JUST for me, waiting for JUST the right project...but then I find myself struggling to use them, because then they would be gone, silly isn't it!!


I machine pierced the block rather than English Paper Piercing, because I want to expand my knowledge of this style of patchwork.  As I said in my previous post, it was all going tickity boo and the middle section went together like a dream, I did however struggle and I mean really struggle with the second row of triangles getting the points to line up in the right place, but in the end... and after several cups of tea, I got there....almost (Experienced machine pierce-ers look away!!)




It's amazing how something so small, it's 7 1/2" square and sweet can give you such a thrill, but then isn't that was crafting and sewing is all about, she says smiling.


So here's the thing.......I have been wanting to make a sampler quilt for ages, but I haven't found the time to do so.  But I've been thinking, when am I ever going to have the time..... BUT if I were to aim to make one/two blocks a week, by this time next year, I would have the bones of something rather lovely...does that sound mad...do you think it's achievable??????  So the big questions is which Sampler quilt do I make?  I have seen lots of my favourite bloggers making The Farmer's Wife quilt and there are some amazing examples of completed quilts on Pinterest, which are totally inspiring and beautiful....I also love the concept and origins of this quilt, however on a practical front, there are no detailed instructions on how to complete each block in the book and baring in mind my intention to machine pierce, this could be a problem.  On the other hand, each of the blocks in The Loyal Union Sampler contain thorough instructions for both paper and machine piercing, a plus, but I'm not as drawn to the Union quilting story in such the same way.  But does this matter, as the blocks themselves are gorgeous....oh decisions, decisions, I think the Union Quilt has it, but what I do know is, that maybe this is JUST the right project to use up some of those precious fabrics.


In the meanwhile, whilst I cogitate and ponder, I'll carry on working on this little project...... 





9 November 2013

This week.....



Thank you so much everyone for your lovely comments on my last post, I really do appreciate them.  I am so happy with my new creative journey and have so many ideas that I hope to put into fruition in the next few weeks and months, which I hope that you will enjoy sharing with me.

As always it's been a busy week, which has mostly been spent wrapping lots of parcels full of pretty fabrics and trims, it's always lovely to pick the items chosen by our customers and admire the pretty combinations.  Wrapping the orders is something that we take lots of time and care doing, we appreciate each and every order and try to show this in the care and attention we put in to wrapping each and every parcel full of loveliness.

My week would of course not be complete without creativity, my priority this week was to complete my final custom order for this year...I really enjoyed working with the combination of felt and embroidery and the pretty colour scheme as always made me happy.


Talking of pretty colours, I finally took delivery of a gorgeous selection of Anchor Perle No8 cottons, these are now available as a box set here or here.


I've also started crafting for Poppy's birthday next month.  As well as making her present, which is a little set of felt dolls (I'm using the cutest pattern I got here), lots of little clothes and a bed/bag for them, I'm also planning on making as much as possible for her party bags.  These little felt bows are going to become hair clips for the party bags. 3 done, quite a few more to go.  I quite fancy a larger version as a brooch for myself( she says adding it to the growing 'To Do' list).


Yesterday, I did a little patchwork as a test run of something I'm going to be starting shortly,  When I say little, I really do mean little, the centre of this block is just 6" square, I found it quite a challenge and I became very good friends with my seam ripper......but more of this next time.


Finally, earlier in the week, I wrote a festive bunting tutorial for the Pretty Fabrics and Trims Blog, in it I've shared quite a few of my bunting top tips.


Right that's it, we're off to measure out the fruit for the Christmas Cake.....I've been planning on making for a couple of weeks now.  I hope that you have a good weekend what ever you are up to.





1 November 2013

Moving on........


It's been a funny kind of week, I've been doing all those behind the scenes jobs that you know need doing, yet you put them off.  The biggest one though, that in truth I have been delaying doing so, was putting Little Kitten Homemade into hibernation.  Back in April when I started my 'Grand Plan' I envisaged that I would still make bunting and pretty things to sell on a ready made basis, however, as it turns out, I've actually found that for now and the foreseeable future, Pretty Fabrics and Trims and for my creative kick, designing embroidery patterns and making things for me and my family is what makes me happy   I have still retained my Little Kitten Homemade website, just in case I have a change of heart and I have reopened my Etsy shop where the remainder of my ready made Bunting stock is available at a reduced price, so grab a bargain, while you can!

If you'll forgive me though, I thought I would do a little reminiscing........  Little Kitten Homemade was born in 2010, having been a full time mum since 2004, I was feeling the need to grab a little independence, however with Andy in the forces and overseas quite a bit, working for myself seemed the obvious solution.  Bunting was just starting to appear in the glossie magazines and having made some for both my children, I thought it would be the ideal product for me.  I had just discovered Etsy over the Christmas break and bravely decided to open a shop on the 2nd January with my website closely following.  At the time, I believe I was one of the first people to sell hand appliqued bunting and within a couple of weeks, I had my first sale, I was so excited, and then the next one came and so it continued.   To be honest I couldn't believe it and soon, what I had envisaged being a hobby business, was actually becoming a full time business.

Over the next 3 years, thousands of flags were appliqued and sewn,  it was on the whole such a happy time, although there were moments of sadness.  I like many, experienced the odd copycat, which in one respect was quite flattering that they deemed me worth copying, however in truth they were always heart breaking. Not only did I experience and see exact copies of my products, right down to the fabrics, buttons, stitching and embellishments, whole chunks of wording from my product descriptions, terms and conditions and shop policies used in other Etsy shops,  I also found people using my photo's of my products and saying that they were theirs......the cheek of it!!   All I would say is be inspired but most importantly, be kind, be creative, show integrity and please do not copy!!

Not wishing to dwell, these moments were far out numbered however by the pleasure I had creating my bunting banners and pretty things... here are just a snippet of some of my favourites, starting off with the bunting that I made for Etsy UK to display when they're out and about...


I loved working with some of the most brilliant customers, creating pretty strings of flags to celebrate a new arrivals, to accessorise a newly decorate bedroom or to be hung a party.
I also made hundreds of buntings for bride and grooms across the world, it was such a joy to be involved in their special days!
In 2011 I introduced a collection of 100% hand stitched Felt Buntings, oh how I loved making these.
2011, also saw the introduction of my cupcake flutter flags
 
and cake buntings......
....... which were shortly followed by personalised cake toppers.  There were not many days that passed when I couldn't been found cutting, sewing,stitching and gluing teeny flags...
In 2012, I expanded my product range again to include these pretty hangers, these allowed me to indulge my love of vintage mother of pearl buttons, lace and ribbon.....
and Advent Calendars......I do not think I shall ever forget the Advent Madness of Sept and Oct 2012!!
Other pretties included Family Trees, Sleeps 'till hangers...and the list goes on!
I was extremely honoured to have my work featured on many popular blogs, in magazines .....
 



and even on TV ( check out Alan Titchmarsh holding my bunting!!!)

But the best bit ever was the positive feedback and photo's that I received from happy customers....









Now in fear on this sounding like I have just won an award, to finish, I would just like to say a HUGE thank you to all my customers who entrusted me to make them something, it was a complete honour working with each and everyone one of you and finally, just say that none of this would have been possible without  my Mum, who resolutely sewed thousands of metres of bunting with me, to Andy who cooked lots of dinners and to Dad who took charge of all my parcels and school runs, thank you for all your support, I love you all loads!