Monday
Jul142014

first, first, third & third

Have you heard of the "Greatest Outdoor Show On Earth"?  I have.  Every July since my family moved here from St. Catharines, Ontario when I was two years old.  For ten days, Calgary goes a little nuts as we celebrate our western heritage in cattle ranching & agriculture.  You can read about it here if you're interested.

In my younger years I was a frequest visitor.  I went as a kid a few times with my grandparents.  The parade is fun with little ones.  Then as a teen with friends.  It was always a fun place to go on a date or with all your college buddies.  I also volunteered a few years.  More recently we've taken our girls a few times.  I'm not much for carnivals and midways and too many people and noises and heat mixed with thundershowers and weird smells and crazy overpriced corndogs.  But we went again last week.  And I had a particularly special mission. 

The Calgary Stampede and Exhibition includes an opportunity for people to showcase their arts and crafts - including quilts.  And they are judged.

Now I happen to have a very special group of friends - we call ourselves the Applique Circle of Friends - who meet once a month to spend the day chatting, eating, and doing hand sewing of almost any description - hand piecing, embroidery, applique, quilting ... you name it, one of us does it.  And we're quite talented the lot of us, if I do say so myself. 

Actually, it's not just me who says it.  From our little group we earned two 1st Place, and two 3rd Place ribbons.  My Farmer's Wife Quilt won 3rd in the paper-piecing category. 

And our resident longarmer, Laura - who did all that gorgeous work on my Farmer's Wife - her skills were very well represented there.   She's just that good.  (Actually, to call her "good" is kinda insulting.  She's amazing!!!)

Here's a closer look at Heather's Yoko Saito Houses quilt - it was a Mystery Quilt done thru Quiltmania.  I was privileged to see Yoko's original at Quilt Market a few years ago.  I dare say this one is its equal - nothing short of stunning.  And she quilted it herself too.

I am so proud and honoured to call all these talented and lovely women friends.  Heather, Judy, Laura, Fran, Elaine, Liz, Avery, Cheryl, Michelle, Elisabeth (& Leeanne) love & hugs to you all!  You ladies make quilting just that much more fun.  :)

PS:  Thanks for being my quilt mule, Judy!  I owe you one.

Saturday
Jul122014

a new pattern ... and a summer giveaway

I finally ... FINALLY got around to writing up a quick pattern for one of my all-time favourite little girl/gift/purse designs.  It's a miniature version of my very first bag design (about a decade ago?!  Sheesh!).  The first time I made this little girl version was for my daughter's 4th birthday.  She was huge into Dora back then and I found some cute Dora yardage at Walmart.  I also spotted some equally cute Strawberry Shortcake fabric for her little sister, so I came home with both and went to work.  The end result was two enormous smiles, squeals of delight, and lots of hugs for me.  They used those purses for years to tote their stuff around, carrying everything from Tupperware toys to Littlest Pet Shops to crafts to games ... rocks ... shells ... bits of paper ... if it could fit in the purse, they carried it in the purse.  It was also my "go-to" gift for birthdays for a few years, until all my daughters' friends owned one.  That's when I realized I need to expand my repertoire of quick sewing designs.

So.  Last month, I saw this "oh-my-goodness-I-feel-a-cavity-coming-on- because-that-is-the-sweetest-I've-ever-seen" fabric at Simply Sweet Fabrics

Agh!  Love it.  So of course you know what happened next .... 

Yep.  Little Red Riding Hood (by Lecien) inspired me to write the pattern.  How could I not? 

(My favourite use of polka dots as a lining.)

This print has a lot of detail so I didn't want to add too much in the way of embellishment ... but I did manage to sneak in a little satin bow and tiny lace tab. ;)

This purse is super basic.  No templates, zippers, buttons, snaps, gussets, fittings, inset seams, piping ... none of the details that can be intimidating or frustrating.  If you have basic sewing skills, you can do this pattern.  All it takes is a fabric FQ, a fabric F8 and a FQ of batting.  That said, with a little imagination this patten is also just the starting point.  I've done countless variations including patchwork, lace, piecing, pockets, contrast fabrics, buttons, applique, embroidery ... let your creativity run amok.  The PDF is available in my shop here for $3 and includes 20 step-by-step color photos. 

But wait, there's more!

You know how much I love pretty fabric, right?  I know "pretty" is relative - all in the eyes of the beholder as the saying goes. 

Well I fell in love with this little pretty little bundle of Lecien's "Old/New 30s" the moment I beheld it.  In fact, I was compelled to dust of this old thing (she said sheepishly because she was supposed to be done by now but she hasn't touched it for ... months). 

This tiny print is absolutely PERFECT for my little 1/2" hexagons.

And now for my favourite part ... Shay over at Simply Sweet Fabric has kindly offered to give this bundle of 5 FQs away to a Pretty by Hand reader. :)

But wait, there's more! 

She also wants to include a sweet Little Red Riding Hood FQ. :)

So 6 FQs in total.  That means you could make 4 different purses with this fabric alone if you win. ;)

Giveaway closes July 14th 6:00 pm MST.  Open to everyone!  I wish you all good luck (and I wish you could all win too).

Monday
Jul072014

Auction 24 - White Rabbit iPod Case (or needlebook - winner's choice)

I know, I know.  I made it for myself.  And I've even used it too for a little while.  (You can't tell.)  But remember how I was planning to turn this rabbit into a needlebook, and then at the last minute thought I needed an iPod case?  Well I've since come up with another cute design idea for an iPod case cover.  It's almost finished and I am going to write a pattern for it too.  Sometime.  Soon.  Ish.  I hope.

In the meantime, if you have ever thought to yourself, "Gee, I think I need an iPod case with a white rabbit standing on scissors cross-stitched on the cover", well ... here you go. :) 

You know ... I'm just thinking here ... it wouldn't take but a few minutes to turn this case into a needlebook.  And it would have the two nifty pockets on the back.  In fact, the seam on the pocket can be removed to make just one large pocket.

Hmm.  How does this sound?  If you'd like this little rabbit to be a needlebook and you win the auction, I'd be happy to make that conversion before I mail it to you.  And I'll do the inside up all cute like I always do.

This auction ends July 12th at 6:00 MST.  Shipping is extra and I'll send a PayPal invoice to the winning bidder.

Sunday
Jul062014

Auction 23 - Frog Picnic Lunch Box

Remember Heather Ross' to-die-for cute "Briar Rose" fabric collection that came out last year?  It really is seriously cute.  How could you not love all that froggy whimsy? 

So I made this child's lunch box quite a while ago with the intention of writing a pattern.  Haven't quite gotten around to the writing part just yet.  It's coming ... eventually.  Promise.  But in the meantime, I'm auctioning this pattern tester sample.  I think it's adorable, but my girls are - once again - playing the age card and claim to be too old for it. 

It's got a nice sturdy zipper, fully lined, totally washable (not water-proofed), and measures 7" x 9" x 4". 

This auction ends July 7th at 6:00 pm MST.  Shipping is extra and I'll send a PayPal invoice to the winning bidder. 

(PS:  I also have about half a dozen leftover FQs from this collection I will throw in - great for making a placemat and napkin, perhaps. ;)

Saturday
Jul052014

Auction 22 - "Best Buds" Purse Sample

Have you noticed that I have a thing for making little purses?  I guess it's just an cccupational hazard for a girl who sews and then becomes a mom of two girls. :)  I just wish they weren't growing up so fast. :(  I am now officially the mother of a teenager.  I find myself sending many a silent prayer of apology to my parents, now that I am on the other side of things.  Mind you I never got it into my head to twirl the dining room chandelier by the bottom finial "just for fun" and then had it crash down from the ceiling.  (Silver lining people would say, "One less thing for the electrician to unhook!")

Never mind.  We're all fine here.  And the chandelier survived.  She actually caught it.

This sweet little purse was also supposed to be in the American Patchwork & Quilting magazine (April 2014 issue) "Best Buds" article.  But - as I am apt to do on occasion - I changed my mind on the fabric. The purse pictured above is in the magazine, the one pictured below is the auction item.

The fabric is "Scrumptious" by Moda and it measures 5" tall  x 4 1/2" wide x 2" deep. 

This auction ends July 7th, at 6:00 MST.  Shipping is extra and I'll send a PayPal invoice to the winning bidder.

Friday
Jul042014

Auction 21 - Little Liberty Patchwork Purse II

Happy 4th to all my American friends!  (And a belated Happy 1st to my fellow Canadians ... I was out of town for that one.)

Yes, I made two of these little purses ... because I bought two handles ... because I have two girls.  My procrastination is your gain. ;)

This purse is just a wee bit smaller than the other one with slightly different embellishments on the front, but it has all the same features - Liberty fabrics, a detachable leather strap, fully lined with a pocket and "handmade" label inside.  It measures 6" x 6 1/2" x 1/2".

This auction ends July 7th at 6:00 pm MST.  Shipping is extra.  I'll send a PayPal invoice to the winning bidder.

Wednesday
Jul022014

packing

The next person who suggests I "just get rid of" all my 6 years' worth of Martha Stewart magazines, including the special issues ...

... gets it with a glue gun. 

Just sayin'.

;)

Tuesday
Jul012014

Auction 20 - Pink Embroidered Pouch

Ok.  Deep breath.  This one gives me pause.  I really love it.  I spent many happy hours chosing the perfect combination of pink Japanese prints and exact right colours of embroidery floss to show off the fancy decorative stitches - most of which I'd never done before.  I used only my most favourite fabrics, inside and out.  I used silk batting and I hand quilted it.  I even hand-stitched the zipper - something I NEVER do.  It measures 4 3/4" x 6".

I love looking at it.  I'm quite proud of how nicely it turned out.  Sometimes I think, "Did I really make this?" and other times I think, "Yeah, I made this!" 

But.  I don't think I will ever use it.  And all this letting go of stuff ... I'm finding it rather theraputic.

So. (Another deep breath.)

I'm letting go - again - and putting it up for auction.  I will be honest, I have a reserve amount in mind.  I won't tell you what it is, but I will let you know when that reserve has been met.

This auction ends July 7th at 6:00 pm MST.  Shipping is extra.  I'll send a PayPal invoice to the winning bidder.

Last deep breath. ;)

Monday
Jun302014

Auction 19 - Pink Dogwood Needlebook

Ok.  This is one of a few item that if I don't list it now I'm in danger of changing my mind because I really REALLY meant to keep it for myself.  It took me three tries to get the cover right.  And I love all the fussy cutting.  But again, I haven't used it. 

This auction ends July 5th @ 6:00 pm MST.  Pins and needles included as seen.  Shipping is extra.  I'll send a PayPal invoice to the winning bidder.

Sunday
Jun292014

Auction 18 - Laura Ashley Shoe Bag

Every once in a blue moon I get invited to go somewhere fancy in the dead of winter and I need to bring my shoes in a bag because I have to wear boots to and from.  But my bag is always one of those embarrassing plastic grocery bags.  After one such event - when I literally cringed as I retrieved my party shoes from a tacky plastic bag - I vowed to make myself a really pretty one.

This is that very bag.

And guess what ... I've never used it!  LOL!  (You can tell I meant to keep it because I didn't bother changing the bobbin thread from taupe to purple when I stitched the casing channel ... you can see it in the 3rd photo.)

I stitched the shoes from a Yoko Saito embroidery pattern.  (I wish I owned such a pair.)  Both the check and floral fabrics are vintage Laura Ashley and it's fully lined with a Meg Hawkey print ... she is one of my embroidery idols.  It measures 11 1/2" (when the bag is closed) x 6" (circular bottom).

This auction end July 5th at 6:00 pm MST.  Shipping is extra.  I'll send a PayPal invoice to the winning bidder.

Saturday
Jun282014

Auction 17 - Cross Stitch Bicycle Gift Tag

I made 8 other gift tags for last Christmas and this is the only one I have left.  All the others were either put on packages, sent to friends or are in my sister's box of Christmas tree decorations.

I stitched up this little cutie in aqua and red on linen and it measures 3" x 4".  The fabric is from Scrumptious (I love that thin diagonal stripe!), the sequins are hand-stitched (not glued) with embroidery knots and the backing is a very stiff paper so it holds up nicely.  It works as a gift tag, tree ornament or just a decoration (how about as a nice gift tag on a bottle of wine?).

This auction ends July 4th at 6:00 pm MST.  Shipping is extra.  I'll send a PayPal invoice to the winning bidder.

Friday
Jun272014

Auction 16 - Single Strap Tote (Blue)

Another one of my perfectly good mistakes for your consideration. ;)  This was supposed to be a music bag for my daughter ... and it does fit her music books ... but it doesn't fit the big 3-ring binder she also takes to her lessons.

It measures 11 1/2" x 14" and it's got my usual favourite details like a bit of cotton lace, a label and my favourite Atsuko Matsuyama "Hat Box" print.  Clean, simple, and super pretty.  I also used one of my all-time favourite Susan Branch prints (that I've been hoarding for about a decade ... don't worry, I've still got lots more) for the lining.

This auction ends July 3rd at 6:00 pm MST.  I am happy to ship anywhere in the world, but shipping is extra.  I'll send a PayPal invoice to the winning bidder.

Thursday
Jun262014

Auction 15 - Sewing Book

Before I introduce today's item, I'd like to address a few comments I received the other day suggesting I sell my things on eBay instead of my blog.  In response, I just want to say that I weighed my options and decided to use my blog as an auction platform for two simple but very important reasons:  to make my sale exclusive to my wonderful and lovely readers and because - call me silly - but I feel better knowing that the things I've made are going to people I'm connected with somehow.  I may not have met you or even corresponded with you before.  You may not have ever commented on my blog.  But if you visit me here and read my silly stories and enjoy my pictures and are hopefully inspired by the things I do here, then we are connected and means something to me.

Selling my things on eBay had many advantages for me.  And I considered them.  But they did not outweigh the importance of honouring my little community here.  I have no plans to turn my blog into an auction house.  But I have another 8 or 10 more items to sell.  And then I need to take a break while we move. 

I'd be lying if I didn't admit that I'm so far beyond flattered by the generosity and support you've given me over the past few weeks.  Honestly, I can't even believe my eyes sometimes.  I'm deeply grateful.  Thank you.  Thank you to every single one of you who let me know that my blog means something to you by coming here.  You don't need to participate in my auction.  You don't even need to say hi.  (And I always feel terrible when I don't reply - which is far too often, but just know that I read every single comment ... and I do reply to you in my head, if not with my keyboard.)  But I know you come here.  And I think that's lovely.  I don't take your time for granted.  I know there are many wonderful blogs out there and your choice to come here is ... very special to me.  And it makes me happy. :)  Thank you.

*     *     *     *     *

Because this little cutie holds pins, needles and scissors, I thought it was fair to call it a sewing book rather than just a needlebook.

It measures 3 1/2" x 4".  The pins and needles as shown are included.

BUT THE SCISSORS ARE NOT INCLUDED!  I need to make sure you know that.  (I was just too lazy to take new photos!  LOL!)

This auction ends July 2nd at 6:00 pm MST.  Shipping is extra and I'll send a PayPal invoice to the winning bidder.

Tuesday
Jun242014

Auction 14 - Strawberry Drawstring Bag

A drawstring bag is one of those things that you sometimes wonder what to use it for, and then all of a sudden you find the perfect thing - almost always something precious - to store in it and it becomes THE special keeper for THAT special thing ... forever.  Am I right?

I hope this strawberry drawstring keeper find a special something to hold. :)

It's fully lined, has a pleated bottom and measures

This auction ends June 25 at 6:00 pm MST.  Shipping is extra.  I'll send a PayPal invoice to the winning bidder.

Monday
Jun232014

Auction 13 - Valentine's Pencil Case

I'm looking for Tammy Edwards ... congratulations, you are the winning bidder for the Nesting Dolls Drawstring Bag!  Please email me at  - mail@prettybyhand.com with your shipping information. :)

*     *     *     *     *

Here's another pencil case.  I've made so many of these and I know there are many more in my future so I don't need to hang on to this one.

It measures 4 3/4" x 8 1/2".  And I think it would be very rude not to include the 3 pretty pencils too.

This auction ends June 25 at 6:00 pm MST.  Shipping is extra.  I'll send the winning bidder a PayPal invoice.

Sunday
Jun222014

Auction 12 - Little Liberty Patchwork Purse

There's a long story behind this purse so I'll just give you the summary.

I went into my sewing room one morning with the goal of tidying up.  Within about 5 minutes I found a handful of these Liberty squares that were leftover from another project.  I set them aside.  A few minutes later I found this leather purse handle that I'd bought the first time I went to Quilt Market ... 5 years ago? ... when my girls were little and would have loved such a purse handle.  Next thing I knew I was NOT tidying up, I was making this purse.  However, my girls are too "grown up" for it now that they're 11 and 13, and all the other little girls I used to know are also grown up. 

Sorry, that was the long story.

Anyhow, I'm hoping you know someone who isn't too grown up to enjoy such a sweet little purse.

It measures 7" x 7" x 1" and the patchwork is made entirely of Liberty prints or Liberty-inspired Japanese prints.  The handle is real leather with a brass "Sunbonnet Sue" decoration.  It's also detachable so the purse - should it happen to get soiled - can be washed without ruining the leather.  They clip on and off easily, but they stay put when they're on.  I like to use a polka dot for purse linings and there's a wee pocket inside with a "handmade" label.

This auction ends June 25 at 6:00 pm MST.  Shipping is extra.  I'll send a PayPal invoice to the winning bidder.

Saturday
Jun212014

Auction 11 - Simplify Cushion Cover

This is an oldie, but a goodie.  Way back in my early blogging career, the lovely Camille was kind enough to let me blog my way through her fantastic book "Simplify".  I made every project in that book - 9 quilts and 4 cushion covers.  This is the last pillow cover I have ... it's my favourite.  The others were donated to charity or gifted to friends. You can read about it here. (Oh my goodness, what a coincidence ... I wrote that post exactly 3 years ago today!)  It's been just sitting in a corner on a dining room chair, looking pretty and not bothering anyone.  But I think it needs a new home. :)

It's a cute little quilted slip cover made with Robyn Pandolph fabrics and it fits a 12" pillow form.

This auction - for the pillow cover only - ends June 25th at 8:00 pm MST.  Shipping is not included.  I'll send a PayPal invoice to the winning bidder.

Friday
Jun202014

Auction #10 - Rainbow Dancers Pattern Test

Here's another pattern tester for your consideration.  I submitted my book proposal for "S is for Stitch" in May 2011.  My proposal was accepted a few months later.  I was on an extended holiday at the time, but my optimistic self had packed all my embroidery supplies so I was prepared. :)  I was soooo excited and I got to work right away.  This "Rainbow Dancers" sample was the first thing I made.  It was inspired by one of my daughters who had recently learned "ROYGBIV" (red, orange, yellow, green, blue, indigo, violet) at school.  I remember spending quite a bit of time in the California sun choosing all the floss colours.

A word about framing.  I've spent a small fortune over the years on custom-framing for my needlework.  It's always worth it, but it's not always affordable.  So it was very important to me that this design would fit perfectly inside an easy-to-find and affordable 8 1/2" x 11" frame.  In fact, all the framed ideas in my book fit a standard frame size ... or the designs can be adjusted easily with a photochopy machine.  :)

I used plain white linen for the version of this pattern that ended up in the book, but I stitched this tester on a white-on-white print with pretty, subtle roses.  I hope you can see them in this photo.  I love embroidering on a white-on-white or a gentle print.  It adds a layer of interest and unique design element to your work. 

This auction ends June 25 at 8:00 pm MST.  I will ship anywhere, but shipping is not included.  I'll send a PayPal invoice to the winning bidder.

Thursday
Jun192014

Auction #9 - Pinterest Pencil Case

:)  I'm putting this up for auction because ... well ... because I made it almost 6 months ago and I've never used it.  It just sits there, looking pretty.  It is one of my most favourite things I made this year.  Honest to goodness I really did make it for myself.  But - as with most things I "make for myself" - it turns out it's the making for myself I enjoy most, not the keeping/using for myself.

I used my absolute favourite PamKittyPicnic fabric.  Oh do I love this floral.  I think I bought something like 7 yards of it ... and NOT for a quilt backing either.  So, if I ever regret letting this one go, I can always make another one.  It measures 8" x 2" x 2 3/4" and the label is leather. 

This auction ends June 25th at 6:00 pm MST.  Shipping not included.  I'll send a PayPal invoice to the winning bidder.

Wednesday
Jun182014

Auction #8 - Farmer's Wife Block Pincushion

This sweet little pincushion makes me laugh.  I made it from a Farmer's Wife Quilt block that didn't turn out right.  You can read about it here.  It measures 4 1/4" x 1" and is filled with ground walnut shells so it's nice and firm and weighty. ;)  All the fabric is Lecien's Flower Sugar. 

If you would like to bid on this pincushion, you can do so in the comments section.  This auction ends Monday, June 23 at 6:00 pm MST.   I am happy to ship anywhere, but postage is not included.  I'll send a PayPal invoice to the winning bidder.