Friday, December 30, 2016

Finish It Up Friday - Tiny Tote and Mini Xmas Tree

Hello Dear Friends,

I didn't want to show you this bag yesterday before I had given it to my sister ..... didn't want to spoil her surprise! She received her presents later in the day, yesterday, so now I can share with you!

I am also linking to Amanda Jean's "Finish it Up Friday" ..... it's a great party, lots to see! Amanda is showing a particularly cute quilt finish today too!


A couple of days before Christmas I decided to make a "quick" gift bag for my sister's birthday, and I just happened to have two fat quarters, the patterns of which I thought she'd like.

A couple of years ago I found a tutorial for a "gift bag" by Buttonberry, via Pinterest. Click HERE to see their tutorial. At that time I wanted to make something to hold a scarf for my mother, but I decided the gift bag would be more useful with handles!

As mum uses her bag most days .... to hold her knitting .... I thought my sister might like a similar one! (Mum's bag is at the end of this post.)

For my sister's bag, I made a few more changes ..... as she too knits a lot ..... I thought it would be rather nice, if, as well as having  handles, the bag could have a pocket for those tiny items knitters need, and one pocket divided into two for pens, or for her DP knitting needles, and I added a flap to help stop her wool jumping out as she knits!

Tiny Tote
No buttonhole on this baby! I just stitched the "homemade" button directly onto the
flap. The weight of the button (although it isn't particularly heavy) keeps the flap down.

Tiny Tote - inside pockets

Interfacing for Tiny Tote

I usually use polyester wadding but thought interfacing would be more suitable, making the bag nice and light, in order to enable my sister to knit with the bag on her arm.

Tiny Tote in progress

Tiny Tote in progress

Tiny Tote - Bagging Out
"Bagging Out"

Tiny Tote - Could have stopped here!
A nice little "Tote" ..... could have stopped here!!!

But no, I like a boxed finish!

Measurements for boxing corners - Tiny Tote
The shorter the measurement here, the taller the bag.

Tiny Tote - Boxing the corners
"Boxing" the corners.

Finishing boxed corners - Tiny tote

Tiny Tote - inside view, boxed corners finished
This has to be the best seam closure I've ever stitched!

Reverse of flap

My sewing machine really behaved itself this time ..... lovely neat stitches and no bobbling ..... which was just as well because I was racing to finish!

Tiny Tote - My gorgeous bag with its Cherrywood button!
And, after telling you all about our cherry buttons in the last post, there had to be a button!

I was really pleased with the way this turned out ..... so much so ..... I had to force myself to give it away!!!! Now I want to make one for me!

I just found this photo of mum's bag. It looked different to how I remembered it, then I realised I have since changed the handles .....  they were too floppy ..... so I made wadded handles, and stitched them on top of the pink stripey handles!

Mum's Tote
The original bag .....  Alas, with floppy handles!

And here is the little tree I showed yesterday ..... finished!

Mini Xmas tree

Mini Xmas Tree - finished

The stitching was intentionally showing ..... to make it look more "prim"!

Mini Xmas Tree in progress
And this is the next tree in progress!

I'm getting into the swing of tree making now and can't wait to see how this fabric suits the tree pattern as it progresses.

Thank you for visiting today. Now don't be a stranger ..... see you again soon!

I hope you have a stitchy weekend!

Wishing you all a Happy and Healthy New Year!

Barbara xxx

Thursday, December 29, 2016

WIP - Christmas 2016/Secret Stitching


Hope you have all had lovely relaxing Christmas, and I am sorry if some of you are back to work now!


Today I'm linking to Esther Aliu's WIP - Wednesday. There are some lovely projects over there to visit, do have a look! I've just seen a link to a great tutorial for a binding kit for quilters (see no. 22 Tanya Quilts) although I'm sure it would suit other stitchers too! Oops, sorry, hope you don't mind Esther, I'm a little bit late.

Just before Christmas, my blogging friend .... Mary Anne of Magpie's Mumblings ..... led me to the blog of Ann Wood ..... where Ann was making woebegone pine trees, and Ann very kindly gave a free PDF pattern for the tree! And, as is often the way ..... I just had to make one. Yes, I know its too late for this year, but at least I'll have two little trees ready for next year!

Although, this was a little outside my comfort zone, as using glue, a sharp knife, and branches were involved! Well .... OK ..... only a little outside my comfort zone, I like the idea of  making buttons from the pruned branches of the cherry tree in our garden ..... but I have to admit I couldn't make them without DH doing most of the work - I can't use a saw, or burn the holes through the buttons ..... I can polish the buttons to finish them though! Oh, but maybe not for too much longer ..... as sadly the tree died this year! I don't think it's due to oversevere pruning ..... ie button making .... the tree was here over 30 years ago when we moved in! Looking on-line, the life expectancy of an ornamental cherry tree is between 15 and 20 years, depending on local conditions, and we can have some very hard frosts here, so it hasn't done bad!

Very kindly DH scouted round the garden and was able to find suitable twigs and branches for my tree .....

My "Woebegone tree"

..... but .....  how unusual ..... I have been distracted by another idea!

This one is a little bit secret ..... I'm excited to show ..... and can't resist showing at least one picture!

Secret stitching

I aim to have a finish tomorrow ..... gosh, must get stitching!!!!!  and hope to show it then!

Hugs from 
Barbara xxx

Sunday, December 18, 2016

Advent calendar - Day 18

Hello my friends,

Today I am joining in with Jo's Advent Calendar!

If you haven't been following along so far ..... have a look here, on Jo's blog to see what is behind the other doors!

Thank you Jo for the work you do in organising your blog hops ..... it is such a fun way of meeting, and getting to know other stitching bloggers!


Jo asked us to post a photo of a Seasonal design:

I think this pattern for a cake band was from Cross Stitcher magazine ..... 

Cross stitch - Cake Band

if you've visited my blog before you may have seen this one .....

Margaret Sherry - cross stitch
..... as this Margaret Sherry cat is one of my favorites!

Jo also asked us to share a treasured ornament, something with sentimental memories. I was intending to have finished the Goldwork ornament I have been making this year ..... but I spent too long stitching my Christmas bag 

Christmas bag

..... and ran out of time for my Goldwork .....

Goldwork ornament

so, perhaps...... just for this year ..... Jo would accept last year's new door wreath as our treasured ornament?

Christmas door wreath

I look forward to sharing more stitching with you next year!

Thank you for visiting, 
Happy Christmas everyone!

Barbara xxx

Friday, December 09, 2016

Friday Night With Friends/ And a Finish!

Hello my friends!

Sorry for the delay in posting ..... it's been such a busy week here, I haven't had time to upload my photos until now!

Thank you all for your encouraging comments which spurred me on and helped me finish by Monday morning!

Oops this has ended up a rather long post, and I got more than a little carried away with the photos because I was thinking of writing a proper tutorial, still might ..... maybe, another day!


Anyway, if you've been following my blog you will know that last Friday night I was stitching along with Cheryll's  "Friday Night with Friends" .....

..... and you would have found me crawling round the floor of our bedroom .... with the door shut to keep the furbabies out ..... as I twisted and turned my fabric on my giant sized cutting board .... looking for a suitable corner of fabric from which to bias cut two handles for my little Christmas bag!

As usual, time ran away from me, and there wasn't much stitching that night, apart from joining the two fabrics for the lining, oh, and I decided to add a tiny pocket too!

Christmas bag

Christmas bag

Saturday morning I finished stitching the pocket in place, took photos, stitched the handles together, and threaded some wadding into them .... that was a bit complicated ..... but by wrapping the wadding tightly with paper, sticking a safety pin through said paper, and holding this between two of the press bars I was able to force the wadding into the handles neatly; then topstitch either side of each handle.

Christmas bag - handles
The Press bars really helped to straighten the handles.

BTW I am not endorsing this product ..... these press bars just happen to be what I use, and they work well for me.


Last year I found an embroidery pattern, and stitched my first tree, but couldn't decide what to do on the second side, until now ....

the second tree was made with some of the scraps of Christmas fabric I bought from the Pilgrim Quilters exhibition (where I won my lovely quilt), and using Lara's Crafted Appliqué method I added the appliqué tree on the other side of the bag!

Christmas bag

Once I had added the second tree I wasn't sure what sort of quilting to do. The fabric wasn't as white as the embroidery cotton so I couldn't really copy the first side, and then I remembered Lori Kennedy's blog - The Inbox Jaunt -  about FMQ (free motion quilting). 

I've never tried FMQ but I remembered Lori saying that you should practise by doodling, hence that is what you can see in my notebooks ..... lots of doodling; and that the stitching should flow from one shape to the next. I don't think my stitching was too bad for a first attempt, do you? (Especially considering I kept manoeuvring the foot up and down! And if you don't know FMQ what I mean is that I wasn't really stitching "free motion".)

Christmas bag

I loved stitching the presents too! If you follow the link below you will see Lori's presents are a little different from mine ..... I was working from memory ..... I had no time to check how she did her stitching.

When I stitched my little packages I kept thinking the word "doodle" to myself, and tried to make the lines look like doodles ..... so they were intentionally double ..... not single lines! 

Lori has since posted 10 Christmas tutorials, which you can see here.

There are a few more pictures of  my doodle stitching toward the end of the post.

Finishing the seams
I was very nervous about finishing the seams because the red fabric I used frays very easily (it's Osnaburg which has a very open weave which is good for embroidering ..... I should have hem stitched the edges at the start, but I never thought I would be working on it for so long.)

Christmas bag

As I sew, I hold the fabric in line with the edge of the masking tape on my machine, keeping the seam measurement the same throughout the project.

Christmas bag

Christmas bag - Bagging Out
"Bagging Out"

Just look at those handles ..... do they get cuteness points, or what? ..... and the pocket too!!

Christmas bag

Christmas bag

Christmas bag

Christmas bag

I was soo.... happy, as I finished making my bag by Monday morning!

Christmas bag

And to think this started with me trying to think of an embroidery scene for a bag ..... spotting an embroidery pattern for just the right tree on "Super Mom-No Cape"'s blog (yes, the white tree shown above!) 

Thank you for visiting, and I leave you with this picture ....

Christmas bag
Our naughty cat trying to catch birds, at the water bowls.
Mitzy says, "Funny, when it's sunny I don't see so many birds!"

Have no fear, shortly after taking this picture we moved the plant pots away so the little monster can't "hide" so close to the bowls!

Do have a great weekend, and I now I'm off to catch up on some blog reading!

Hugs from
Barbara xx

Linking to all stitching friends at

Cheryll's - Gone Stitchin' for

Amanda - Crazy Mom Quilts for

Friday, December 02, 2016

Yipee! A couple of Friday Finishes!


This week I've been trying, unsuccessfully, to finish some Christmas stitching ....  I know, who hasn't!

But yet again, I've been somewhat diverted by a couple of friends' blogs! However, from ideas on those blogs I now have two little finishes, which were quite fun and easy to make.

So, I am linking to Amanda's wonderful patchwork and quilting blog, for her:

do pop over and see the wonderful things Amanda, and everybody else are making.


Oh, and talking of visiting Amanda's link party, if you have visited before, then, a few weeks ago you may well have seen on Diann's blog - Little Penguin Quilts - that Diann wrote a tutorial for keeping computer wires under control!

Now here is my version!

Keeping those wires under control

Cord control

I changed the measurements slightly, as my wires are pretty heavy duty, and I felt Velcro wouldn't keep it together ..... and so I hand stitched a buttonhole (I can never control my sewing machine enough to make neat buttonholes .... I used to be able to, once upon a time) .... but I think I am just too impatient these days!

Hand stitched button hole
My first hand stitched buttonhole!


Those of you who join in with "Friday Night with Friends" over at Cheryl's blog will probably have seen the clever coasters she made, which you can either use for standing your coffee mug on, or, push the bottom of your wine glass inside the folds of the coaster to easily identify your own wine glass at drinks parties  ....  I couldn't resist trying them out! I've made one coaster!!!



Then I realised  ...  I have something more important I want finished for Monday .... which is what I am working on tonight .... while I am joining in with Cheryl and her "Friday Night with Friends", as I attempt to finish that urgent Christmas stitching which I want to use on Monday!

Christmas bag
Here's my sneaky peek for you! Do come back to see it finished!

Hope to be able to show this Christmas finish very very soon!

But for now .... I must get stitching!

Have a great weekend!

Barbara xx

Friday, November 18, 2016

My Wonderful Prize! And some WIPs

Hi there!

Last time I promised you photographs of the wonderful quilt I'd won - sorry to have taken so long!


But first, let me introduce you, to the Pilgrim Quilters (who meet in  Banstead, Surrey), every two years they hold an exhibition with trade tables, raffle, tombola, craft sales tables, and demonstrations ..... oh, and there is always plenty of coffee, tea and cakes available! It's all in aid of charity, and this year it was in aid of St Raphael's Hospice.

On PQ's website, under Gallery, you can view photographs of the quilts that were on display.

Well the first thing we did when we arrived at the show was to buy some raffle tickets! There were lots of prizes - I didn't really look to see what was there (you don't actually expect to win, do you? well I don't anyway!) but I remember there were 3 quilts and some smaller items. The first prize was a "Pineapple" quilt, then the quilt I won, and I seem to remember there was a smaller quilt ... probably a lap quilt. For anyone new to quilting, do Google "Pineapple quilts" there are lots of pictures of them, and also a tutorial by Amanda of Crazy Mum Quilts!

We wandered admiringly amongst the quilts on show.

Each year they have a few tables of goodies for sale that members have made, and this year was no different. If you've never been to one of these shows, there is always the opportunity to buy jars of cottons, old patterns, quilting magazines and bags of scraps material cheaply ....  all items their members no longer want or need!


There are generally a number members demonstrating different quilting techniques. At the time I visited the exhibition two of the ladies were stitching two different types of hexagon quilts, and a third was showing how to make a "new to me" block known "Puff Pastry"!

I took the opportunity of having a go!

We started with a plain 3" square of backing fabric, and a pattern square of 5" (Wrong Sides together). Using a chalk marker we indicated the centre of both squares, on the outside of each piece, and with some clever folds we proceeded to fold and stitch our squares, with an ingenious twist at the end! One block took about 10 minutes to make, at the most.

There was an old magazine on the table showing a picture of a cushion cover made using these blocks .... very pretty!

"Puff Pastry" Block
"Puff Pastry" Block

Puff Pastry Block


And now, with a big "Thank you" to the ladies, here is the Wonderful Prize I won from Pilgrim Quilters

My Wonderful Prize!


Viewing from all angles!

Lovely edging!

Best view of all the wonderful quilting!

Quilt label.

Last one, honest!

The quilt is of such a generous size it is more than adequate to cover our King Sized bed!


Work In Progress 

For the last couple of weeks I have been trying to finish at least one Splendid Sampler Block! 

I thought this would be an easy enough block - EPP flowers - and I have been stitching my flowers at every opportunity, and especially when DH and I have been travelling by train, then, when I get too annoyed with the fiddliness  ...  I have my cross stitch with me ...  to fall back on! 

But, even after another journey yesterday, I am still stitching flowers!!!!



Before we dashed out on our journey yesterday morning I was planning another zippy purse, with some hand quilting .... using the following scraps .... a bargain bag from yet another exhibition! I cut the pieces I wanted to use, sprayed them with starch and then ran out of time .... ironing the starched pieces would have to wait ..... we were off down the road to catch a train ....  heading for lunch at our favourite Vegetarian Organic Italian restaurant.

And oh well, I was back to stitching my EPP flowers again!

Scrappy Zippy purse


I am finishing with a picture I took when DH and I went for a stretch of the legs last weekend. It was just light enough to capture a picture of the last rays of the day, and I don't know about you, but I never tire of seeing silhouettes of trees, and floaty clouds, against a pretty sky!


Thank you for popping by.

I hope you are doing something great this weekend!
Have fun!!

Barbara xxx

Linking to Needle and Thread Thursday with Kelly of my Quilt Infatuation.