Friday, 25 September 2015

The 10" challenge continues! Hot WHITE chocolate and a pretty mug rug too

We are only just into Autumn and it is now legal to drink hot chocolate! 

But I have a couple of very dear friends who are allergic to cocoa solids - my thoughts are with you guys at this difficult time so I thought that there must be a way that they can join in the hot chocolate fun!

And then, because this is primarily a sewing and patching blog, we have to have a nice mug rug to enjoy it on! My favourite animal (well one of them) at this time of the year is the good ol' deer. And that deer features quite heavily in this week's post. It is on the fabric and on the handles of my favourite spoon.

This is my lovely bronze life sized deer head that my Mum bought me. Fine antlers, the lot. I have a beautiful set of deer antler cutlery from Germany too and I bring it out too at this time of year. 

I have had one person inform me that animals are harmed when this cutlery is made and I would like to take this moment to say they are absolutely NOT! I would never buy it if it hurt an animal. I do hope that this has been cleared up now - I am looking at you Tara!

Rant over but I felt that it needed to be said.  Thank you for listening. Okay, what are we doing again? Chocolate - how COULD I forget!

Let's make the chocolate first and then you can sip indulgently while you read the sewing tutorial....

Gather these supplies:
-good quality white chocolate
-vanilla paste or a vanilla bean
-small marshmallows - white of course!
-cinnamon powder

Here's how to do it:
Break up the chocolate or, better still, grind it to a fine gravel if you have the equipment. 

It won't make powder as such because of the fat content but it will melt quicker in smaller pieces.
Put 200ml into a small saucepan and two generous tablespoons of white chocolate bits (easier to measure if it is chopped up). Put in a quarter teaspoon of vanilla too. Gently melt all of this together stirring constantly and bring to the brink of a boil without letting it actually boil. 

Tip into your favourite mug and top with white marshmallows. 

You can make cappuccino type milk foam too instead of marshmallows and I have added another dimension to mine with a sprinkle of cinnamon powder. Bliss!
Go somewhere quiet and enjoy this treat! Store any leftover in the fridge (yeah right!) so that it stays fresh for longer.

It is really simple and it is delicious if a bit sweeter than 'normal' hot chocolate. But I do raise my (now empty) mug to my friends and hope that this makes them smile.

Let's get on with the sewing while you are sipping that delicious brew. If Autumn had a  face, surely this would be it and it is a nice way to use the scraps too. It is quite possible a little larger than the usual mug rug size but that doesn't matter. So what will we need?

Gather together:
-10" squares of pretty Autumn fabrics - make sure that the deer puts in an appearance!

-grey/tan melange felt
-wadding. I am using 272 Thermolam from Vilene
-something nice for backing
-dark grey thread for the free motion embroidery
-bias binding
-glue stick
-label making things. I will not go through the ins and outs again but you can find out what you need to know from an earlier post here.
You can make a faux leather one too and they also look good at this time of the year.

This is going to be a raggy edge applique project with free motion embroidery (FME) so you will need a darning foot or similar for your machine to achieve this. All models are slightly different so I ask you to consult your book for the details.

Here is the pattern. When you print it off the deer head is 8cm long without the antlers. 

Cut the deer head only from your felt 

From your chosen fabric for the top, cut a rectangle 25cm x 15cm. 
Glue the deer's head  to the bottom third of the fabric that you have chosen for the background (makes room for the antlers).

You will see a crease down the centre? That is the best way to align the head perfectly.

Cut four strips of fabric for the outer border, measuring 6cm wide. Don't worry about the length, trim that off as you go just make sure that they are long enough. Attach the top strip, trim it and iron it, then do the bottom one and iron and trim that....

Now do the two side ones.

Draw the antlers on with a water soluble marker using the line drawing as a guide.

As you can see, the antlers overlap into the top panel. Take a piece of wadding about 2 cm all around larger than your top and pin it well. Set your machine up for FME and then embroider the antlers. Now you have something that looks like this....

Snip all of the threads away and remove the water soluble maker lines with water and it will look a little more promising!
Lay the completed top onto the backing fabric and pin. Quilt along either side of the seams and pieces that you have sewn....

add a label.....

Machine sew around the label to secure it. Now trim the outside of the mat so that wadding, top and backing are all the same and then bind it with your bias binding. Now you have something like this...

Cool! And just perfect for enjoying a hot cup of white chocolate so make another cup of that too! This mug rug is a little larger than normal but that is okay and if you want it a little smaller, trim it back. Actually, mine is sneakily larger for a very good also takes a plate of macaroons!

Ahem. Avail yourself of some of these very nice fabrics. Here is the link to the Makower site so that you don't miss out on yours. You can find a retailer where you live.

Fabulous! Thank you so much for stopping by.
Love and hugs
Debbie xxx

Thursday, 17 September 2015

What can I do with a 10" square or two? Patched bath mat.

It is getting cooler and the nights are drawing in - I'm not complaining I promise, this is my time of year and thoughts are switching from barbecues and new ways to serve tropical fruit to battening down the hatches ready for winter. Okay that bit about the tropical fruit is stretching it a wee bit here in England but I think that you know what I mean!

Now that there is an R in the month, we can have hot chocolate too which is always a good thing. And spend time in the bath especially after cold and windy walks. Hey, let's have both! Next week I will show you how to make hot white chocolate.......

Sally is not fond of getting wet - yes please don't write in, I know that she is a Cocker Spaniel. Actually, maybe it would be helpful if someone told her! She needs a bath. Which leads us neatly to....

My bathmat is boring. I know that that is about the worst middle class complaint ever but there you are. I am not sure that bath mats are supposed to inspire anything but I want mine to have a bit more interest in life so it is getting a makeover!

Because I am in the middle of my 10" square challenge, I am trotting out the Autumn prints again and this time my 10" squares are going to make this....

Like wow huh! All quilters are after new ideas of what to make and we don't have enough mats in our life!

We need a few more squares this time for variety and I have ten. You can use less or more, it is up to you, but I have these lovely Makower Autumn prints so they are all going in.

You also need something for the backing fabric. You can use towelling or even recycle a bath towel. This will make it all nice and thirsty when you stand on it. You can of course also use 'normal' batting and backing fabric. I have chosen the latter because I want a thinner mat. My favourite wadding product is Vilene 272 Thermolam. It is a synthetic product but I use it everywhere and it always does what I want it to. This time, it has become a bathmat for me. Bliss!

Apart from that, you only need the usual sewing and quilting things.

This mat is based on a simple sort of half log cabin arrangement and you can just keep repeating it until the mat is the size that you want. Let's call this one Cabin in the Corner shall we, just so we have a name for it.

Begin each block with a 11.5cm x 11.5cm square (4 1/2" in the old money). And then cut some strips 6cm (2 1/2" wide). Don't worry about the length - as long as they are long enough, you can trim them off.

So you have a square and you add a strip to it like this...

Trim it, iron it and choose another strip and add it to the adjacent side...

Come back to the first bit and add another strip, trim it and iron it and then another one on the other side

As you can see, there is a log cabin thang going on here but not in the usual sense. Normally, you would enclose the starting square but this time, it just stays on the bottom. Cabin in the Corner.

The block is finished when you say it is - when there are enough strips to bring it back to a square overall is ideal. Mine has 4 strips. The reason that I stopped here is because the block is big enough for what I want and also, I have reached the end of the 10" strip length and I don't want to join.

Now make a few more of these and then sew them together into rows. You are aiming for something like this

Now do the second row and then join the two rows together...

I have opted for 3 blocks x 2 blocks to my mat which suits the space that I have in my bathroom. You can make it as big as you want but of course, you will need more fabric (having said that, a couple more 10" blocks will go a long way).

Now make your quilt sandwich with the backing fabric and wadding (or a towel if you are using it) and decide on your pattern. Mine is simple 1 1/2" squares on the diagonal....

Don't forget to draw the quilting design on first with a water soluble marker - this is not the time to eyeball it!
Trim the edges so that backing, wadding and top are the same size and then bind....

Lookin' good!

Remove any loose threads or water soluble marker lines from the quilt prep and that's it! Oh, I have added a leather look label too and you can find the post for that here. The fox stamp was just perfect!

Now you will notice that you have yet another pile of scraps - I don't think that it is possible to use them all! Hang onto them for now, I have another idea coming on and they will be just peachy!
Here is the mat again...

That was a fun make! I know that you will want to get your hands on some of these fabulous fabrics so here is a link to the site where you can find a retailer in your area.

You can find Vilene 272 Thermolam at or call this number in the UK: 01453 883581 or  

Thank you so much for dropping by. I hope that you have enjoyed this little tute. Come back again real soon!

Love and hugs
Debbie xxx

Tuesday, 15 September 2015

10" square challenge - Fabric tray!

Okay so I am sick and tired of things falling off my bedside table. Everything seems to be round! Well this was a problem just calling out to be included in our 10" challenge!

Enter the solution du jour - a very quick  fabric tray....

You will need a couple of 10" squares, about 9" square of fusible wadding and some coordinating thread. I have added a faux leather label too and you can find the link for that right here.

Begin by ironing your wadding to the wrong side of the main piece of fabric (the piece destined to become the inner of the tray).

Now with the right sides together, sew the inner fabric to the outer. Leave a gap and turn out through the gap. Iron carefully.

Here is a view from the back

Now top stitch around the very edge

Find the centre and mark a square. Sew around the square

By the way, the smaller the inner square, the deeper the sides - very small and you will have a fabric bowl rather than a tray.

Make your label with an appropriately themed stamp.

Pin the 'ears' on the corners and anchor with a small amount of your chosen thread.

That's it! You are all done. Make them in a few sizes and consider them as gifts. Think manly colours for the boys in your life - they might like them for coins and keys. Here they are again...

Thank you so much for stopping by and I hope that you enjoy making these!

Love and hugs
Debbie xxx

Thursday, 10 September 2015

We have a winner!

Good morning peeps! A short one this morning because I am supposed to be putting the finishing touches to the book (you will here all about it here very soon indeed).

I ran a small giveaway for some Makower 10" squares and a label panel last time and I am ecstatic to announce that the winner of this cute little bundle...this one here...


Rosa Ejapa!!!

Get in touch with me via email Rosa and I will mail them out to you. Well done and have huge fun with them.

Thank you for stopping by everyone. There will be a cute I-didn't-know-that-I-needed-one-of-those project coming very soon indeed!

Love and hugs
Debbie xxx

Tuesday, 8 September 2015

Quick Kraft Tex labels

Hi All! I bought myself a roll of kraft tex paper the other day and I am smitten with it. There are so many things that you can do but I needed labels for a bag commission and they needed to be leather. Well, ish.

I thought that I would take five minutes to show you how quickly they can be made and they are a great addition to your repertoire.

Start by cutting a piece of kraft tex

Now stamp an image onto it (just use a normal papercraft stamp). 

Now we need more grain in the result so when the ink is dry, scrunch it like crazy. Screw it up and munch it in every direction

Now flatten it out and check the result

If it is grainy enough, lightly press it with your iron and then distress it a little more with a coordinating (I used a medium brown colour) ink

There it is! Ready to sew on.

I made a few while I was at it...

And this is what it looks like in place, well one example anyway...

All you do is to sew around the outside with a straight stitch. This can be washed (make sure that your inks can too) and it won't fray or tear.

Disclaimer: I was not paid or solicited by the publishers of kraft tex for this post. I bought my paper here and I really do love it. I haven't put it though its paces properly yet so stand by for more creative ideas.

Thank you so much for stopping by!
Love and hugs
Debbie xxx