simply sweet giveaway ~ pamkittygarden!

Ok.  Who could think of a million things to make with this FQ bundle of PamKittyGarden from Simply Sweet Fabric?

Uh, ME!  LOL!

If you've got at least one idea and would like a chance to win this five-pack, please leave me a comment (not an email) sharing what you'd do with this fabric. 

This giveaway ends on Friday, January 30th and is open to all. :)

(Man do I ever love blogging!)


three for three ...

It's pink, it's little, and it's made from Liberty (and Liberty-esque) prints.

It's actually a small-scale version of my round pencil case pattern.  I got it into my head that I wanted to try making the case as small as I could.  I don't think I'd try smaller.  You know ... just because.  It finishes at a diminutive 5" x 1.5". 

Yep.  I really do like little. :)


from fabric to stitches

I see quilt and embroidery patterns everywhere.  I know lots of you see them too.  I had a lot of fun stitching up a little design I found in the Alice in Wonderland fabric a few weeks ago for my daughter's water bottle sleeve. 

So I did it again.

I made this hexagon flower by mistake (it turned out too large for something else) but I simply couldn't let it go to waste.  So I decided to make a pincushion.  They're fast and easy to whip up once (once all the hand work is done, that is).  This one finishes at a dainty 3.5" x 1".

Atusko Matsuyama has these cute little leafy/flowery/petaly things in the aqua fabric I used .  I knew they'd be easy to replicate with a few lazy daisy stitches and simple knots.  It only took me an hour or so to freestyle stitch the band to form the sides of the cushion.

I admit I didn't really like this cushion when I finished it last nite.  I dunno.  It didn't look like I imagined.  I think I was just tired because this morning when I popped it on top of that aqua cupcake stand (bought on impulse at Homesense in Canada - hoping I'd find a use for it on my blog some day!) I liked it a lot. :) 


drink me!

I've wanted to make a bottle sleeve for a long time.  Funny.  I had no idea it would look like this!

My daughers are at an age now (11 and 13) where if I want them to like what I make for them, I need their input.  This is for my 11-year-old who offers certain challenges when it comes to collaborating.  The girl has a somewhat small reserve of patience so I can only hold her attention for a limited time.  Throughout this project, I didn't always know if she was agreeing with my suggestions because she actually agreed with me or because she just wanted to be done with this already.  No matter, we both love how it turned out.

I have to tell you, before we'd even picked fabric I had it in my head that it'd be fun to have a "Drink Me" tag on the sleeve.  This is for her water bottle that sits on her desk at school.  I may have gotten a little overly excited when she spied this Alice in Wonderland print in amongst my horrible mess of fabric.  Seriously.  The girl got hugged and kissed and high-fived a LOT. 

I did the embroidery on the sofa while us girls watched Mulan.  I had to stop stitching a few times to fulfil cuddle requests.  There are definitely worse things in life than having to choose between stitching and warm hugs.  I got the idea for the embroidery from a little detail in the fabric.  I've never been a fan of the backstitch, but this filigree detail is so small (1/2" tall) I had to use that stitch with a single ply. 

The bow?  Guess who wanted to add that ... ;)   I have a sneaking suspicion she agreed for my sake.

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Hope your New Year is off to a good start.  Mine sure is!  I've been sewing up a storm here ... I even wore the plating off of a hand sewing needle today.  I can't remember the last time that happened.  Sure felt ... right. ;)


in the pink

tap, tap, tap ... hello?  Is anybody there?

Geez, it's been so long since I was here I feel like I forgot how to do this!  Apologies for my too-long absence.  I've written two posts over the last little while explaining why I'm not around as much as I used to, but both turned into ramblings that bored me to tears.

The Coles Notes version is that I'm not a stay-at-home mum anymore.  After 12 wonderful years being home with my daughters, I went back to work full-time, over a year ago in fact, and ... well ... time is no longer a luxury for me.  It's also not that easy for me to find a creative spark when I do have a few minutes to myself.  And my sewing room is still a ridiculous gong show.  It's hard to find anything, I can't see my fabric (easily) ... ugh.  Not good.  I have some storage furniture on order so that should help.  The house is slowly coming together.  I promise I will show you when I'm proud of it.  Okay?

But I miss you.  I miss being here.  I miss making things.  But going back to the working world has been very good for me.  One can get too used to life in pajamas, I found out. ;)  Nothing like a professional wardrobe to make one feel human again.  But that's all I want to say about that ... except that for those of you who are curious, my job title is Technical Writer - much the same as it was before I was a mom.

So!  I've been on holidays this week and finally found some solid time yesterday to just plan, paw fabric, cut, sew ... and MAKE!

Oh, before I go on, I joined Instagram last month.  I've posted a few little things over there under prettybyhand if you're interested. :)

Yesterday I made a Tilda bag (see Instagram) and this sweetest little pink pincushion.  Honestly, if I was a colour, I'd be this ... Laura Ashley "Rose" from the 80s.   It's a diminutive 3" x 1" and stuffed with crushed walnut shells.  I don't really need another pincushion, but I do need to make things so I'm starting with small, quick projects to get back into the groove.

What are you guys up to?  Do tell.  I could use some inspiration. :)

I got the pins here!


merry christmas!


if you need to get your groove on ...

I heard this song today and can NOT get it out of my head.  It just makes me so happy!  I hope you like it too. :)


what's black and white and cute all over?

My latest mad-dash, last-minute, rush-stitched birthday gift sewing project for my daughter's friend that I made with some of the fabrics I included in this FQ bundle. ;)  The invite only came in two days before the party though, so it wasn't my fault this time. ;)  Thank goodness these pouches are so quick and easy to make.

On that note, I always get requests for an English tutorial of this Chinese tutorial pin on Pinterest.  You know, was going to rewrite it in English for you.  But I had a few people questioning the ethics of doing so - copyright and all.  I felt a little uncomfortable thinking that maybe it wasn't right.  So I asked my lawyer.  He looked into it and assured me that translating the pin was perfectly legal.

But just because it's legal, doesn't mean it's cool, right?

It got me thinking.  How would I feel if someone took my tutorial and translated it into another language and posted it on the internet for everyone?  I admit that as long as the translator was courteous enough to link back to my original, I would be flattered and would appreciate the exposure.  If I post a free pattern on the internet, I do so with the hope that everyone who is so inclined can enjoy it, no matter what language they speak.

However, just because I wouldn't mind, doesn't mean that someone else wouldn't be bothered.  As much as I would love to help as many people as I could enjoy making this pouch - which was clearly intended to be used by the general public for free - I hesitate to write it out of respect for the author.

I hope you understand.

In the meantime, if anyone knows how I could contact the author to ask for permission, please let me know!  (It's a long-shot, for sure ... but this internet thing ... you never know!)


flower photography practice

Wow is it ever a lot harder than I thought to take nice pictures of flowers.  But I'm going to keep trying (as long as I can steer clear of the drive-thru ... get it?  "Steer" clear?  LOL!  Oh I'm just so hilarious, aren't I.)

Never mind.

I wanted to show you my Halloween posy because it looks so much prettier, now that the carnations are opening and I took out one of the green mist stems.

But I couldn't bear to throw out that lonely stem so I found a tiny vintage medicine bottle and it fits perfectly.

I used another vintage vessel for the main bouquet too - a glass milk bottle that I picked up at a flea market a while back.  I haven't had much need for vases over the years and I like making do with what I have.  But I might start looking for a few more. ;)

I also had fun adding the spools of lace to the photos - because the green mist is part of the Laceflower family.  I dunno.  I just like doing that sort of thing.  It makes me happy.

Sorry no sewing stuff today.  Hope you like my flowers all the same.


"pretty pairings II" ~ a fq bundle giveaway

This just never gets old ... being asked to put together a Blogger's Bundle of my favourite fat quarters.  This is the third time Pink Castle Fabrics has asked me to make one and it's definitely my best yet.  (Says me.)

Because I enjoy making small, quick projects with just 2 fabrics, I decided to choose another eight pairs if coordinating prints.  They are almost all designed by my beloved Japanese fabric companies - Lecien, Yuma, Kokka, etc.  They're fun, whimical, pretty, the scale is small ... makes my heart fabric-loving heart go pitter-patter.

My approach was to pick a whimsical print with a smaller coordinate.  I was particularly drawn to the Liberty-esque florals that I love so much.

This pair - of Lecien's Flower Sugar reinvented as a tea party and a newspaper print - makes me giggle a bit.  I was thinking it'd be fun to read the morning paper (or iPad/blogs) while enjoying a cup of tea.  When my daughter saw the tea party fabric, she begged me to please make her an apron out of it.  Excellent - one Christmas gift idea solved. :)

Cute little kawaii red riding hood kittens!!!

This faux patchwork is perfect for pencil cases and such, but I also thought the squares would be fun to fussy-cut and made into labels for larger projects.

Don't you just love charming translations from Japanese to English?  The above fabric reads, "I love the sweet cake and donut."  And below, "It is loved by everyone beyond the time."

Cute, cute, cute.

This bundle is available for purchase here.  FYI, stock is limited and the last few bundles I made for Pink Castle Fabrics sold out in about a week so if you don't want to be disappointed ...

But if you'd also like a chance to win it, please leave me a comment telling me if you've started on your Christmas sewing and if so, what you are making.  This giveaway closes Sunday, November 9th and is open to all!

PS:  If you're not doing any sewing for Christmas, that's ok.  You can still enter. :)


halloween flowers

So much prettier than skulls and spiders, don't you think? :)

You know, I can count on one hand the number of times I've bought flowers for myself.  I've always preferred to spend my pin money on fabric ... and possibly the occasional drive-thru.

And I've always been ... hmmm ... not so good at flower arranging.  I've been hoping all these years that I'd magically somehow be good at it, but that is not turning out to be the case.


I also had this idea recently that if I just drove past the drive-thru once or twice a week instead of ... you know, t.h.r.u. it ..., I could redirect those funds into flowers.  This is my first little bunch.  And I've already learned that these white ones - I think they're called ... oh shoot, now I can't remember ... I thought they were Queen Anne's Lace, but that's not it.  If you know what they are, please tell me!

At any rate, although they look really beautiful in the shop, they are super hard to arrange with - especially for this novice.  So this isn't my favourite look, but the carnations are a lovely orangy-pink.  I thought they'd be nice for Halloween. 

And for you. :) 

Trick or Treat!

*     *     *     *     *

Nov. 1st

I found it!  (Gotta love Google, don't ya?)  That flower is called Green Mist and is from the Laceflower family,  as is Queen Anne's Lace, which is why some of us were fooled.  Read a little more about it here if you're interested.


sunday sewing and a few winners

I got caught again ... last minute sewing.  My daughter is at a birthdy party this afternoon and I didn't get around to making this little pouch until ... hmmm ... a few short hours before the party.

But I got it done - and photographed - and had fun doing both.  I wasn't worried about getting it finished, I was worried that something horrible would go wrong (the snap cracking when I hammered it in place - which would require a lot of unstitching and an entire redo of the flap, the iron scorching - always a disaster ... you know something weird and unpredictable that tends to happen when you're in a hurry). 

Happy to say it was all smooth sailing. :)  I made it to hold a gift certificate.  Much nicer than an envelope, wouldn't you say?

I've made a few of these earlier this year.  I got the pattern from Pinterest.  Click here to find the pattern pin and here to see my other versions of this cute little pouch. 


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Now I have a bit of housekeeping to take care of.  I've had a few giveaways lately and although I already contacted the winners, I didn't announce them here.  So congratulations to:

Donna S. for winning the Miss Kate bundle from Simply Sweet Fabric,

Sigrid G. for winning the $25 Gift Certificate from Shabby Fabrics,

and Diane K. for winning the Perennial Beauty bundle from Fort Worth Fabric Studio.


I have another giveaway coming very soon - hopefully this week - stay tuned! :)


perennial beauty ~ a pretty giveaway

You know Fort Worth Fabric Studio, right?  It's a great online shop. Tons of gorgeous fabrics and a whole bunch more.  If you've never been, you should go check it out.  :)  Jodie, the owner (and a super sweet lady), has very kindly offered to give this "Perennial Beauty" bundle to one of you.  Isn't it just delicious?

But wait, there's more ...

Because Jodie knows how much I love using cotton tape labels, she's tied this bundle up with TWO YARDS of this pretty "Paris" one (it's a favourite of mine!).  By the way, her price for this tape is amazing - 0.69/yd!  Imagine using it on all the gifts for your family under the Christmas tree this year .... and then squirrling it all back for your sewing room.  I'd totally do that. ;)

For a chance to win this pretty bundle of 11 FQs and 2 yds of labels, leave me a comment telling what you'd make with it.  This giveaway closes Friday, October 24 and is open to everyone ... no exclusions. :)

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Hope you're having an awesome weekend.  The sun is shining in my corner of the world, there are still a few defiant leaves hanging onto branches for dear life, and I think there's a trip to the corner patisserie for me in the very near future.  As in like RIGHT NOW!  I'm in dire need of a Pain au Chocolat and a nice hot cup of Irish Breakfast tea.  Two cream, one sugar please.


quilty fun birthday party!


Happy Birthday to you,Happy Birthday to you,

Happy Birthday dear awesome book Quilty Fun by my sweet friend Lori Holt over at Fat Quarter Sho-ooooooop ... (deep breath!)

Happy Birthday to you!

If you'd like to make this cute birthday block, click here for the free pattern!

Fabrics:  Linen is this, candle and cake stand are from Scrumptious by Moda, candle holder is from Durham by Lecien, cake & frosting are newish from Tilda, bow is older from Tilda (thank you H!).


christmas keepsake - and a giveaway

Kits.  There's just something about a kit ... especially when it comes in the mail.

As a proud stash owner, I love diving into my private fabric collection to create something pretty.  But every once in a while, it's really nice when someone else does all the thinking for me.  Kits are perfect for those moments.  You are guaranteed that everything you need - all perfectly coordinated - is right there at your fingertips.  No thinking, no hunting, no frustration.

Shabby Fabrics has a new Block of the Month program, kitted into 10 packages - including laser cut pieces (yay!) or traditional applique pieces if you prefer, and all the necessary embellishment - you do NOT have to trace, cut, or go to 10 different stores looking for the exact right colour and size of buttons, ribbons, bells, etc. ... LOL!

I whipped up this lovely wreath in about 1/2 an hour.  Can't decide if it's going to be a pillow, a bag, or a wall hanging ... or something else.

If you're interested in finding out more, click here.

As promised, I have another giveaway.  Shabby Fabrics is offering a $25 gift certificate for their shop to one of you.  To enter, just tell me which of the blocks in "Christmas Keepsakes" (first photo) is your favourite.  This giveaway closes October 15th and is open to all!  :)

There are seven other bloggers who also have a giveaway for you!  You can see more about this Block of the Month and enther their giveaways here:

Paula @ The Sassy Quilter
Erin @ Stay at Home Mummy
Karin @ Leigh Laurel Studios
Melissa @ Happy Quilting
Erin @ Why Not Sew?
Caroline @ SewCanShe



what i turned those tiny embroidered flowers into ...

The label reads:

Once in a golden hour I cast to earth a seed, 

Up there came a flower. 

The people said, a weed,

To and fro they went

Thru' my garden-bower,

And muttering discontent

Cursed me and my flowers.

I know.  It's kinda weird.  But it's pretty and I like the flower/garden references. :)

Sorry this reveal took me so long!  For something that didn't require all that much work this little bag sure took me a while to finish.  I started embroidering the flowers in August when we were in Iowa.  Then I just kinda hemmed and hawed over it.  And then when my hemming and hawing gave birth to this idea, it still took me a while to finish it all.

But it was worth the wait for me.  I love love love every single thing about it.  I love the simple embroidery, I love the lace trim (which I slavaged from an old night gown I found when we moved), I love the diamond quilting and the combination of white and taupe linen, I love the leather label on the front and the cotton tape label on the back, I really love the lining fabric - which I almost didn't use it because I hate using up my favourite fabrics ... and I love the rolled handles.  I was channeling my inner Japanese Zakka girl.  I think I succeeded.  :)

I don't have a pattern for the bag - I just made it up on the fly.  But if you're interested in the embroidery design, I found it in Floral Motifs to Embroider by Reiko Mori.  A very dear friend in Japan sent it to me a few months ago and I am head over heels in love with every page.  If you like to embroider flowers and girly things, I promise you this book will not disappoint.  Just keep in mind that the instructions are in Japanese so you need to know some basic embroidery, and it's better if you're good with figuring out new stitches just from diagrams.  The Oyster Stitch was new to me and I didn't have any trouble figuring it out because the diagrams are very clear. :)


miss kate ~ a simply sweet giveaway

I love giving away fabric. :)  It's one of my favourite things about being a blogger.  My darling friend from Simply Sweet Fabric is - once again - offering a lovely FQ bundle of fabric to one of you!

Miss Kate (designed by another sweet friend Camille over at Simplify, and her Mom at Cotton Way) is yet another fantastic fabric collection that has gained instant popularity in the quilting world and it is easy to see why ... the classic, fresh combination of red, aqua & white with enough pink to keep me happy.

I'm dying to cut into it. :)

If you'd like a chance to win this 7 piece FQ bundle of Miss Kate, leave me a comment (not an email) telling me what your all-time favourite colour combination is.  This giveaway closes Monday, October 6th and is open to all!  Good luck.

*     *     *     *     *

Congratulations to Kerry who won a copy of kraft-tex Style!   Thank you to everyone who played along.


kraft-tex ... a different sort of crafty ... with a giveaway

Squeee!  I somehow made my way into another book. 

Well, I shouldn't say "somehow".  I know exactly how it happened ... I asked for an invitation.  :) 

I was chatting with one of the editors at C&T Publishing last Spring and asked her to keep me in mind if they were putting together a compilation - much like Stitch Zakka that I'd done the year before.  She said there was one in the works but that it wasn't really "up my alley".  I replied that I was kinda crafty so ... you never know .... I might be able to come up with something.

Next thing I knew I had supplies and a brief and I was off to the races.

Before I go any further, I need to describe the subject matter of this book.  It's a little unusual.  It's called Kraft-tex and it is seriously cool stuff.  Click here to read a good description about it and then come back here.  I'll wait for you. :)


Ok.  You get it?  Neat stuff, eh?

So.  I'd never heard of Kraft-tex before and I certainly hadn't used it.  But I inspected it, tested it - and yes, you CAN put it in the washing machine AND the dryer ... you can iron it, cut it, tear it, glue it, paint it, ink it, emboss it, sew with it, stitch through it ...

I've shown it to you before.  Remember the Christmas tags I made last year? 

I made them all with Kraft-tex.  I used fusible web to "glue" fabric onto the Kraft-tex. 

I also use it for my labels.

Back to the book. 

Now I didn't invent decorative flatware trays, but I'd been wanting to make myself some for a long time.  I thought they were a fun little party/home accessory.  So when I started playing around with the Kraft-tex, it didn't take me long to figure out how to make boxes.  (Which just so happen to be on the front cover!  Yay!) 

The latest Flower Sugar collection had just come out and I was itching to use it on something. 

I played around with different sizes and uses for these open boxes.  They're also shown in the book.

So there you have it.

I hope you get yourself some Kraft-tex.  This book has a whopping 27 projects inside to get you going and keep you inspired.

Would you like a chance to win a signed copy of kraft-tex Style from me?  Just leave a comment here saying what kind of crafting is your favourite thing to do.  This giveaway closes Sept. 27th and is open to all. :)

(I also have a few copies available in my shop.)




Wow.  That snowfall was something else.  I think it was about 25cm (10") in 2 days.  There were power outages like crazy.  We lost power in our house for about 6 hours. 

Today, the sun is shining and it's delightfully warm.  One would be hard pressed to believe we had that much snow just a few days ago ... unless you went outside.  I don't think there is a street in Calgary that doesn't have fallen branches on the road, sidewalk, front yards.

Poor trees!


unfinished business

(cardboard in the windows)


(powder room sink on the floor)

(storage cubby in the stairwell with missing doors)

(wires sticking out everywhere!)

(missing light fixtures)

(missing trim kit for the microwave)

(missing deck)

(and then there's the room full of furniture I need to get rid of)

Now you know why I haven't shown you my house yet.

Plus, my sewing room is still a wholelotta this ...