Thursday, 24 December 2015

And the winner is....

Christmas Eve is finally here and that means that it is almost time for the big event.....the drawing of my mystery fabric giveaway!

For the last month or so, I have been running a mystery fabric bundle giveaway with some delicious (in a fabric sense) goodies from Makower. Amongst the fabulousness are 10" squares, labels, a stocking and advent calendars (plural!).

I wish that I could have given you all a prize and without getting too sentimental, I would like you to know that without you, I wouldn't have a blog. A lot of people say that they write for themselves. I don't. I write for you and I am always happy to hear that you are enjoying the patterns.

Well, that brings us to the bit where I tell you who has won....drum roll please....

Jacquie Morris

You have been chosen at random for this lovely prize! Well done Jacquie and congratulations; have fun with it.  Now I need to know where to send it so drop me an email and let me know where you would like your parcel delivered.

Thank you for everyone for entering and supporting me.

To everyone, a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year and I will look forward to seeing you all next year for some more fabulous sewing and crafting fun.

See you next time!
Love and hugs
Debbie xxx

Saturday, 19 December 2015

Gnome Snowman - anything can happen at Christmas!

I am addicted to gnomes just about anywhere except in the garden - go figure! I love the idea of them and I love it when they are interesting and of course this means that I am looking for new figures to give a gnome-over (I promise that I am not making words up now...well perhaps a bit).

Before we get going, please allow me to apologise for the photo quality in this post. For some reason the Blogger platform has decided to squash and distort things a bit. Some have worked well and the others are looking a bit sad. 

Anyway back to the topic at hand, this gnomy business set me to wondering why we couldn't have a gnome snowman! No rules right! Well time will tell and future generations will be the judge of whether or not this is a good idea but in the mean time, here he is......

What do you think?

In my German-built mind, there have to be some vital components. there must be wood with the bark still on - check. There has to be green - check. It has to be something which could be come an heirloom favourite - check. There has to be red - check and he has to be soooo cute - um, check!

So what do we need to make this little fellow?

-2x wadding balls, one larger than the other. I found mine here but you can find them in good craft stores everywhere.
-4x smaller balls for snowballs
-a wood slice with the bark on
-some knitted green two tone tubing (same place as the wadding balls)
-Red wool felt to make a hat
-orange wool roving for the nose
-DecoArt Americana acrylic paint in lamp black and terra coral
-brush for dry brushing
-Hot glue gun 

Your usual crafting needs including some needle felting tools.

By the way, don't worry about the website for tghe wadding balls and the knit tubing being in German - it is easily translated and if you get into any bother, the friendly staff will reply in English. They have some fab stuff and beautifully priced too. You get a whole bag of wadding balls and a whole bag of tubing for your money.*

Begin by felting the nose. Pull off a piece of orange wool roving and roll it into a basic carrot shape between your fingers...

Manipulate it and felt it with the needles to create a solid shape. It is huge to begin with but it will become smaller as you felt. You can trim it too if it is still ridiculous. - the world can do without a Cyrano de Bergerac snowman!

You can always trim it back too and then continue felting until it is right.

You are after something that can be glued to the face so keep checking the proportions. It needs to be flat on the end....

The flat end makes a wider surface area and contact for gluing to his face.
I have left the other end quite whispy and carrot like on purpose.
Put the nose aside for the time being and make the hat next. Rather than go into it all again, here is a link to my Pinegnome Children from earlier this month and it shows the process. funny enough, I have used the same sized circle too. The reason that it fits both head sizes is that the larger ball for the snowman needs less adjustment. This is what you should have now.....

Okay, time to fire up the hot glue gun and assemble the pieces! Flatten the bottom and the top of the larger ball like this...

not quite as squashed as it may appear as you will see in the following photo!
This doesn't look fabulous but it  gives a larger surface area to stick to the wood and also to the other ball. You won't see the flat bit when you are finished. Glue the first wadding ball to the wood slice like this...

now it looks squeezed in the other direction!
Unless your wood slice is round, don't position it in the dead centre. It looks better to one side. Flatten the bottom of the smaller ball too (the one making the head) and glue it to the first.

Place the hat on the head and mark where it comes to with a water soluble marker mark which will be easily removed if it is visible. Make adjustments to the hat size if you need to.
Glue the nose on to the middle of the snowman's face...

ahh. the proportions are back to normal!
Dry brush the cheeks with a pink glow...

Oh no they're not!

Now take your black paint and the wrong end of a paint brush (or a skewer or similar) and make two dots for coal eyes....

Don't forget the coal buttons!

Allow enough time for the black dots to dry - they are like little meringues - they may appear dry on the outside but...

Glue the hat on now and cut a length of scarf and tie around the neck and glue that too....

Gluing the scarf will help to keep it in place. It tends to stick up otherwise.
While the glue gun is out, make a small pile of snowballs next to the snowman...

These balls have a hole in one end for other uses so make sure that the hole is out of sight when you are assembling.

And there we go! We have made a snowman together and not a nippy nose in sight!

These are very quick to make once you get into the rhythm you can make lots - they sell well on craft fairs too. because you get an assorted bag of the wadding balls, you have sizes to choose from.

Now before you go, please take a moment to enter my Makower fabric giveaway. This is a wonderful package of quality fabrics including some fab Christmas things and also some of the prettiest prints ever to use the rest of the year. Have a peek...

Because it is a mystery gift to the lucky winner for Christmas, I am being deliberately cagey about what's in the parcel but you will get the idea! 

Entry is free and all you have to do is to leave a comment at the bottom of this post. The winner will be drawn randomly on Christmas Eve and posted on here (follow me by email and you will be the first to know).
And thank you so much my darlings for your lovely comments so far - you may never know how special you make my day! 

Love and hugs
Debbie xxx
*This is a personal opinion and was not solicited by the store - not were there any discounts of freebies offered in exchange for goods or services. I just like their things!

Friday, 11 December 2015

OMG! It's time to prepare for Christmas! Drawstring gift bags

Okay, there is no point denying it, Christmas is a matter of weeks away and I have decided that this year is the year that I admit that I hate wrapping gifts. There. I have said it and I can hear the angels weeping.

pretty is very 'in' this year

details are always in!

I don't know why I don't like it, after all, it is a crafty outlet and they scope for making it amazing is, well, amazing. Well I don't like it and it isn't 'growing on me'.

I do like sewing a bit though so (sew?) I have decided that this year, there will be no gift wrapping in paper (think of the trees) and not so much waste on Christmas Eve once the gifts have all been opened and we cannot see the carpet for litter. This year, I am going to wrap things in.....


Yes! You heard it here first! No more wrapping awkward things with a sense of foreboding as sharp corners make a bid for freedom or you wonder how an antique find can be wrapped when its box was lost last century by someone you will never meet. The bags are fully lined too so you are actually producing something worth keeping at the end.

this does make a nice change from dark greens and red

Naturally there are limitations on size ( a trail bike presents certain practical issues) but mostly this will go well and the best thing is that the recipient will have an extra gift. Woohoo. Go me!

Yes, yes I know you cannot get pink snowflakes. Please don't write in!

So what do we need and how do we go about it? Well you can make these any sensible size right from a jewellery bag using 10" squares to a metre long toy sack. We are going to stay sensibly somewhere in the middle with fat quarters.

Gather these supplies:
Fabric for the outside
fabric for the lining
large scraps for the drawstring
A pretty embellishment for the front - label, bow or whatever takes your fancy
Some pretty beads
silver/grey macrame cord
scrap of coordinating lace - mine is pink of course!
your usual sewing needs

You really don't need much. You might be wondering why I haven't given fabric amounts? Well you can make these bags any size at all so it doesn't matter. Use what you have got. 

In case you are a beginner, I am going to put the sizes for today's particular bag in as we go and then you simply need to subtract or add centimetres to the values that I am giving. I promise that it isn't as difficult as it sounds!

I am using Christmas prints of course and this week I am changing the mood to soft and pretty which is very 'in' this year - go me again!

sweet indeed!

Begin with a strip of fabric 26cm x 11cm and add another to it, also 26cm x 11cm. Iron it and you have this....

Cut a final rectangle 26cm x 15cm and sew it to the top. Iron. This is what we have now. 

Repeat for the back and put the back panel aside for the time being.

Find the centre of the middle panel (the green on my bag). A vertical crease is the easiest way to do this. 

Attach your chosen embellishment. I have made a Kraft-tex label for mine and you can see my tutorial for this here.

Tuck the little piece of lace under the label if you are using one. 

Okay, time to make the casings now. Those of you who follow my work regularly will know that I HATE frumpy seams and edges even where I cannot see them! So even the casing will be lined! To do this, cut four pieces of your chosen fabric 24cm x 8cm. Take two of them and place them right sides together. Sew the end seams only.

Then turn the right way out and press. You will now have a unit with raw edges top and bottom. Fold this unit in half lengthwise and press.  

Attach to the top centre of the front panel.

You will notice a bit of overhang each side? This is normal and necessary and it will be taken up a bit when we sew the whole thing up. sew a line of top stitching about 1cm down from the top of the casing. This stops the cord from going too far up and it also forms a pretty ruffle.

Repeat all of this for the back panel.

Next to the lining. Cut two pieces of your chosen lining 26cm x 34cm and take one of your outer panels. Place the outer panel and lining right sides together and sew along the top edge only.

Repeat for the other one.

Now open the panels out and placing lining to lining and outer to outer (right sides together) sew all around the edge leaving a gap in the lining. Turn out through the gap and close it.
Stuff the lining down into the bag and top stitch around the top edge...

Fun bit with beads now! Take your cord which should be around 140cm long and cut it in half. A bit of fray stopper on the ends will make it easier to load the beads on.

Tie off one end and thread some beads onto the cord and then tie off just above the beads

Thread this cord through both casings and then put some beads on the other end, tying off above and below.

Repeat for the other cord but this time, thread it through the opposite way...

Your bag can now be used instead of wrapping paper! How cute!

Well that is another thing out of the way before the big day. Before you go, don't forget to enter the big fabric giveaway. Have a look at the prize...

Well wow! It is a fabulous mix of goodies by Makower and it might be yours. To enter, simply leave a comment below and I am drawing the competition on Christmas Eve. It is free to enter of course and I wish you all the luck in the world

See you next time and thank you for dropping by.
Love and hugs
Debbie xxx

Friday, 4 December 2015

December the First - PineGnome Children

Do you see what I did there? I love my gnomes and I love pine cones so it seemed very natural to combine the two. 

This week's blog is not a sewing or quilting one. It is a gluing and collecting change of pace and it might be one where the children can help out a bit too. Best of all, it brings us one step closer to the big event. I know that you know which one I am talking about!

PineGnome children have, you guessed it....a pine cone body so the first thing that you need to do this week is to wrap up warm and head out into the woods with a bag. Gather yourself enough pine cones about 7cm long to make a little family of gnomie people.

These little shelf sitters are children so we don't need any gnome beards or things like that. They are a great opportunity to delve into your felt stash too. So what do we need besides pine cones?

-3cm plain wooden beads. I found mine on eBay.
-black sharpie marker
-thick grey felt
-a square of red felt
-scraps of other colours of felt for the scarves
-buttons or felt shapes, wooden shapes - whatever you think will fit the season
-hot glue gun
-Sizzix Big Shot 
-Sizzix Heart die. I used one which was just called 'Hearts' and it is a Bigz die with a 5cm heart which is the one we are after
-water soluble marker

Clean your pine cones if they are sandy. Wash them in some warm water and detergent and then leave them somewhere warm until 
they are dry.

Sand the bottom flat (the bottom is actually the top when it hangs on the tree. This bit is a bit more solid and it sits better).

Remove a few of the 'petals' from the other end too and make a flat bit for the bead head to sit on....

Cut a 5cm thick felt heart using your die cutter. If you don't have one of these magical things, any heart at all will do. If your felt is not thick enough, simply laminate two pieces together with your hot glue gun.

Glue a felt heart to the bottom of your pine cone...

This will help it to sit well on the shelf. Here it is the right way up....

Next, hot glue the head into the prepared space at the top. Ignore the holes in the bead utterly. For the purposes of this argument, we are simply after a 3cm wide round thing. We are not using it as a bead.

So far, we have a little, bald person with no eyes. It is time to change that and put some clothes on him or her. Take your piece of red felt and draw an 18cm circle onto it with the water soluble marker. Cut the circle into quarters. Using one quarter at a time...

Fold the quarter in half and pin....

Now sew it up to make a cone. By the way, we have used this size circle to get the height needed. You will have to sew a couple of times to get the hat to fit the bead though. This is easy. Sew once. Fit it on the head and then sew again after finding out where the best fit is....

Trim off the excess - I promise that no one will ever know!

Now turn the hat the right way out and poke the top out with a chopstick or similar....

Now glue it to the little guy's head...

I would be willing to bet that most of us have seen this pom-pom trim at the haberdashers. Simply snip one of the little pom-poms off and hot glue it to the top of the hat....

As you can see, I have also added a couple of eyes with the black marker pen.

Funnily enough, I like him just like this too. But, he is going to get cold playing outside without a scarf so choose a felt colour and cut a strip 2.5cm x 23cm. Tie this around his neck, arranging it to make it look nice and then keep it in place with a dab of hot glue...

Choose a pretty button - a snowflake one is an obvious choice, or a felt shape or something to decorate the scarf....

And that's all there is to the PineGnome children! Make families of them and put them around the house for Christmas.

Thank you so much for stopping by. I hope that you have enjoyed this blog post. Don't forget my giveaway which is in full swing at the moment. You could win a fabulous package of goodies by Makower....

To enter, simply leave a comment at the bottom of this post. The winner will be chosen at random. See you next time!

Love and hugs
Debbie xxx