little tiny wee toy buckets ... 

... because to call them "small" just isn't nearly as effective.

Let me go back to the beginning.  Yesterday was a very busy day.  I had a ton of things to do but I felt like doing absolutely zero of these things. 

So I did what I always do when I'm feeling stressed ... looked for a pleasant distraction.  To my credit, I actually started with the best of intentions by trying to tidy up my sewing room.  But that accidentally lead to discovering said distraction in the form of one of those super cute little mini charm packs of Lecien's Child Smile.

Ok.  You know I don't have little kids anymore.  My young teen girls would rather die than own anything cute I make.  And I usually look for "useful" excuses to sew - like all the birthday pouches you've seen around here lately.  But I looked at this sweet little packet of fabric and, although I could not justify making something "little kiddy", I decided what the heck. So I told myself I was just going to arrange the squares into whatever size it would be, sew them together, and then set is aside for another day.

Uh.  Oops!  I accidentally did a little more than that. I hemmed and hawed - as I do - because I wasn't finished procrastinating - and suddenly got inspired to turn the 2.5" squares into little tiny wee toy baskets.  Why not, right?  They're supposed to be "nesting" baskets, but let's be honest here ... they will never nest because they will always be full of toys!

I meant for the handles to go on the sides, like a bushel bucket, but when I grabbed one to move it, it all of a sudden looked really cute with the handles on the front and back like a little tote.  So that's how I photographed them.

And I was going to stitch up some tags that said "Small Toys" and "Smaller Toys" (because "Little Toys" and "Littler Toys" is grammatically incorrect, and "Wee Toys" and Wee-er Toys" was just weird), but then I was getting close to wanting to finish my procrastination session and needed to finish asap.  So I found these tags in my sewing table that I bought years ago and have never used, and the cute little stickers were a thoughtful gift from Minki (my sweet IG friend) and thought they were perfect labels!

Oh, and I had to dig around to find the long-forgotten Tupperware set that my girls loved playing with.  I love Tupperware. 

Now I need to find a littler person to love these buckets as much as I do!

xo k


another purple pouch ...

What is it with teenage girls liking purple these days?  Don't get me wrong, I'm not complaining.  I like purple.  I'm just feeling a little sheepish that this is the second purple pouch in a month I'm offering you here.  I'd think you would appreciate a little variety.

Hope you don't mind.

I certainly don't mind getting to use my favourite Gingher scissors as a photo prop ;)

Polkadot fabrics are by Lecien.  Linen is Essex by Robert Kaufman.

xo k

PS:  Honey label available here!


i'm teaching a weekend workshop for the alberta quilt study society ...

and there are a few spots available. 

I'll be talking a little bit about feedsacks and their history.  And then we'll be making 2 projects: 

  • a "Feedsack Shopper", which is a pattern I designed specially for this workshop
  • and Amy Sinibaldi graciously gave me permission to teach the little zippered pouch pattern from her book "Sweetly Stitched Handmades".  We'll be using feedsack scraps for the patchwork.

In a nutshell, here are the patriculars:

  • Dates:  Nov 14-15, 9:00 - 4:00 both days
  • Location: St Andrews Community Hall, NW
  • Fee:  $160
  • First day includes a one hour talk on the history of feedsacks
  • Both patterns and all supplies are provided EXCEPT you need to bring one yard of fabric for the lining of your shopping bag
  • Shopping Bag is 9” x 12” x 12”
  • Pouch is 4.5” x 6"

If you're interested, please email me - - and I'll send you the newsletter with the registration form.

I hope you can come out to play!  If you're a feedsack fan, I don't need to explain the joys of working with these wonderful, vintage textiles.  If you're new to feedsacks, I'll be delighted to open the door for you to their fascinating history.  And by the end of the weekend you'll have two handmade Christmas gifts that you can either give to your favourite people, or ... you know ... keep for yourself. ;)

xo k


how to end the weekend properly

With a little sewing, of course.  And better yet if it's with your favourite fabric that magically appeared on your doorstep earlier in the week.

I was invited to be a Flower Sugar World Ambassador on Instagram and ... well ... you know I said yes. :)  I managed to find an hour again today to make this jelly clasp purse. 

The dot lining is from my Flower Sugar stash from a few years ago.  That's the lovely thing about this collection - they always coordinate.

That's all.  Hope you have a great week ahead!


what's purple and cute and more fun than netflix?

Ok!  Well, now ... the last thing I thought I'd be doing last nite is making a little last-minute gift card holder for my daughter's friend's birthday present, that's for sure.  It was Friday nite.  It had been a very busy week - including a trip to the mall to buy the gift card - and I was done.  Or so I thought.

Apparently we don't have any nice gift bags/wrapping in the closet. 

Now, you know me.  I'd really rather not leave the house, especially on a dark Friday nite when I've already got my fuzzy socks on.  So instead of running out to the store, I decided it was "easier" to make a little gift pouch instead.  It's what I do, make birthday gifts for little girls.  It's my thing.

I ALWAYS used to make super cute things for birthday gifts when my daughters were invited to parties.  But teenagers don't want sweet little purses with ruffles and bows, or tooth-fairy pillows ... and I'm sure I've made all their friends at least a few pencil cases over the years.  But this year my daughter reeeally wanted to give a gift certificate to a clothing store. 

Sigh.  Ok.  But it didn't occur to me until she couldn't find a nice gift box or bag or even wrapping paper that I had the perfect opportunity to still do "my thing" and make a gift card pouch!

It measures about 3.5" x 5".  The stripe is Old/New 30's and check is Petit Fleur, both about four years old, both by Lecien.  I did a little happy dance when I found a purple zipper in the bottom of my zipper bin (yes, I have a zipper bin ... don't judge ... it has saved me many a trip to the fabric store, case in point!).  Lace was a scrap.  I almost used white lace, but I didn't want this pouch to look TOO similar to the one I did last week with the same stripe fabric but in orange.

I love it when I'm "forced" to spend an hour on a Friday nite making something cute and useful.  It's so much more rewarding than surfing Netflix for an hour, no? ;) xo k


she's not me ... and that's a good thing

First of all, Happy Thanksgiving to all my fellow Canadians!  I've got store-bought pumpkin pie defrosting in the fridge and I'm sure my mother-in-law is whipping up the most delicious turkey with all the best homemade stuffing, cranberry sauce, mashed potatos ... ... ... .  I've already planned my outfit for tomorrow's feast.  It includes a black jersey dress with no waistband or buttons or zippers.  It's pretty much pajamas disguised as something appropriate for a holiday family gathering. I will throw on a nice cardigan and maybe a necklace to fool everyone.  ;)

Ok.  Sigh.  I have no time or inclination for large sewing projects these days.  So on weekends such as these, I try to start and finish something that is quick, fun, and creative.  I managed to accomplish that already and it's only dinner time on Saturday!  Woohoo!

I hope you aren't tired of my little coin purses.  I got five kits (if you're paying attention, you'll know this is the third) from Zakka Workshop and of course my daughters asked if I might one for each of them.  They've been sitting on my desk here, waiting patiently to be made.  I had so much fun with the pumpkin version last week I decided I could manage another one. 

However, my 12-year-old has a strong sense of her own style and as a good mom, I need to respect that.  So when I ask her what colours/fabrics she'd like, and she picks two of my favourite polkadots (by Lakehouse Drygoods) that I wouldn't normally pair together, I gotta be ok with that.  And when she won't let me embellish with buttons of bows or lace, I gotta be ok with that too.


This is what she asked me for (I suggested a few different patchwork options and she picked checkerboard, and then I went rogue on her and set it on point, which as it turns out, she is ok with thank goodness) and this is what she got.

And you know ... the more I look at it, the more I like it.  I mean, polka dots - they are just quite simply the happiest of prints, right?  I happen to be a HUGE fan of this shade of green, blue is her favourite colour, and ... it turned out super cute.  Like my 12-year-old.  :) xo k


pumpkin coin purse

I found myself with an unexpectedly quiet house a few nights ago.  I can't say that I had nothing to do, because there's always something around here nagging for my attention.  I know you know what I mean.    But I gave myself permission to ignore all those somethings and spent a happy hour in my sewing room instead.

It was October 1st.  I was craving some Fall colours and this coin purse hardware from Zakka Workshop has been sitting on my desk, patiently waiting for me to make it.

So my mind went to "pumpkin".

The tiny floral print is a new addition to my stash and the stripe - which is literally the ONLY other orange fabric in my stash and I may have had a slight moment of panic when I couldn't find it right away - has been around for quite a while.  Both are Lecien.  And my PamKitty stash had the perfect glowy-moonlit yellow for the lining. :)

And of course ... some lace and a bow.  How else would you know I'm the one who made it?  Funny thing, though, I had the hardest time picking a colour.  Light green, hot pink, deep maroon, white, black, purple ... I auditioned pretty much every skinny ribbon I had.  But I was going for pumpkin and this nice kelly green - that just so happens to match the leaf in the fabric - worked the best.

Are you doing any Halloween/Fall sewing?


farm girl vintage blog hop


Oops.  I'm a little bit late with this block.  My week was in early August.  I don't know why but I was SURE I was in October! But better late than never, right?  (Please say right!)

So I'm sure you've been watching this blog hop hosted by Fat Quarter Shop and it's pretty hard to not be inspired to grab this book, some fabric, and just start sewing.  This block is called "Out to Pasture" (insert horrible joke here).  It's a cute little nine-patch framed with partial seams.  You may recall I wrote a tutorial on partial seams a few years ago, so ... we go way back. ;)

If you've never tried partial seams, this is a great way to learn.  They're fun.

FYI, I used Lecien's current Child Smile fabric and a random white on white from my stash.




If you don't know the talented Wynn behind ZakkaArt, then I am grateful to be the one who get to introduce you to her.  She is - by far - one the sweetest ladies in blogland with one of the prettiest styles out there.

Case in point, my most recent creation - a coin pouch kit she designed and made.

This was such a joy to make.  It literally came in the mail about 40 hours ago.  Once I started it I was doing little else in my spare time.  It is so much fun.  And it did not touch the sewing machine.  This little cutie is 100% handmade - all the patchwork piecing, the quilting, and the assembly. 

And that doesn't even include how perfect every single fabric is for me!  Pink, aqua, white, bows, strawberries, flowers ... even the bias cut gingham binding ... all of it is absolute perfection.

Pure joy.  That's what this project was for me.

Thank you Wynn, from the  bottom of my heart.  I'm honoured to call you friend. xo


"alice in wonderland" cheater panel slim tote(s) tutorial

Bah!  What in the world ...???

That's what you're thinking, right?  You, dear quilter, are looking at this one-yard-cheater-panel and thinking, "Well, it's really adorable with the classic Alice illustrations and silhouettes and all, but I can't quilt with THAT!"

Maybe, maybe not.  (I thought it would make an interesting backing for a baby quilt, or cool aprons, or cushions ...)


That's not what I'm going to show you today.

Nope.  I have a better idea.

I found this fantastic Alice-in-Wonderland cheater panel by Lecien over at Fort Worth Fabric Studio and I turned into the easiest little slim tote bag.  (Slim = flat)

Actually, I turned this one-yard panel into TWO slim totes.


Yes.  Yes I did.  Keep scrolling ... you'll see.

And when I say easiest, I mean e.a.s.i.e.s.t.  This bag is as simple as it gets.  But the fabric is so cute, no one will notice that you only spent an hour making it.  Seriously.  (If I sound a little punchy, that's because it's 3:30 a.m. and I've got insomnia ... )

So if you're a quilter and can sew a straight line, you can make this tote. 

*     *     *     *     *

Here's my really quick tutorial for you.

To make TWO slim tote bags, you will need:

  • 1 yard of Alice cheater panel (click here to find a great selection of designs and colours)
  • 2 - 14" x 24" lining fabric (click here to find coordinating Alice scatter prints - so cute!)
  • 2 - 14" x 24" batting pieces (I prefer fusible fleece, but regular quilt batting works just fine)
  • 2 - 1" x 24" batting strips for long handles
  • 2 - 1" x 12" batting strips for short handles

Note - if you only want to make one tote, use the body of the second bag as your lining.  :)

Cut the panel into horizontal strips like this:

*     *     *     *     *



*     *     *     *     *

 Step 1.

Make handles.

Step 2.

Pin or spray baste one batting piece to the wrong side of the body fabric.  Quilt as desired.  (I just followed the vertical stripes so I didn't have to think.)

Step 3.

Fold the body, right sides together, and sew along the side and bottom. 

Step 4.

Turn right side out and press.

Step 5.

Baste the handles in place.

Step 6.

To make the lining, repeat Step 3 with one lining piece, but leave a 4" opening along the bottom seam.  Keep the lining inside out.

Step 7.

Insert the bag (right side out) into the lining (inside out).  Pin the lining to the bag and sew them together around the top edge.

Step 8.

Turn the bag right side out through the opening in the lining and stitch the hole closed.  Tuck the lining inside the bag and sew a row of top-stitching 1/8" around the top edge of the bag.

 Embellish as you like, or not.

So, here they are!

Do you like them? Again, you can find a great selection of prints and colours from this Alice collection by Lecien here, and even more coordinating prints here, over at Fort Worth Fabric Studio.

But here's where it gets even better - you don't need a cheater panel to make this bag, you can use ANY fabric.  You can adjust the size of this pattern to whatever you like - make it taller, shorter, wider, narrower, and even adjust the length of the handles to suit yourself.  Create your own "cheater panel" with patchwork or applique, or just use a favourite print.  It doesn't matter.

Are you inspired yet?  Happy slim-tote-making. :) xo k


is anyone in the mood to make christmas stockings yet?

Hello!  Where did the summer go?  Did yours disappear as fast as mine?  We spent two weeks on the most traditional/classic of family holiday at Disneyland and other theme parks.  Our girls are gowing up and won't want to do this sort of thing forever.  I really love Disnelyland, but if I never have to stand in line again ...

Then we escaped to Palm Springs - our most favourite place on the planet - and didn't even want to complain once about the desert heat.  The deafening cicadas were music to our ears (just as long as we didn't see any - that is one super gross bug!) and I miss our family moonlit swims in the pool.

But now it's back to work, back to school, back to cooler weather - I'm actually wearing fuzzy socks for the first time in months and wow do they feel cozy! ... and hopefully back to more sewing.  I managed to get a lot of hexie-ing done ... yes, on that long-ago started 1/2" diamond number that I'm so ashamed isn't done yet.  I'll show you my progress soon.

*     *     *     *     *

In the meantime, I have a delinquent pattern to publish.  Remember when I was all banana-nuts-crazy in love with Little Joys?  Well, I'm still in love with it.  A few months ago I designed a cute set of stockings and I finally parked myself at the computer to write up the pattern for you.  I'm calling it Something for Everyone Applique Stockings because ... well ... take a look.

If you like machine or hand applique, I think you'll have fun with this pattern.  The shapes are easy and easy to position.  Precision is not a requirement.  The stockings can be made in ANY fabric.  Use your favourite prints for the background and then it's all solids to create the merry motifs.  As you can see, I sprinkled each stocking with either a few sequins/beads or buttons.  (Shh, I even just glued the buttons on ... something I NEVER do!!!)  If you have a jar of spare shirt buttons, the snowflake design is a stashbuster for sure.  I can picture a whole row of just snowflake stockings ...

Templates are all full size with seam allowances included.  Although I don't mention this in the pattern, I used a different top-stitch design for each one.  And as with all my patterns, I take care of the details - these are fully lined and have a discreet ribbon so you can hang these by the chimney with care. ;)

For the moment, this pattern is only available as a PDF in my online shop.

Oh it's so nice to be back.  Thanks for stopping by.  I'll try to not be away for so long again.  Kay?

xo k


coin purse ... a bucket list item done!

I've seen these metal purse clasps around forever.  And I've always wanted to try them.  I even bought one a few years ago.  Every once in a while, I'll come across it in a drawer, take it out, look at it, look on Pinterest (again) to see all the really pretty coin purses out there ... and then put it back in the drawer.


But some lovely little clasps from Zakka Workshop - along with patterns and assembly instructions - arrived in my mailbox the other day. :)

Can't even tell you how much fun this was.  And now I can check another thing off my bucket list.

PS:  The clasps are sold out at the moment, but check back often because they are getting more in soon!


little joys quilt along - finish!

Well?  What do you think?  I have a little wall space in the upstairs hallway (not here, the lighting isn't camera friendly in the hallway) that is begging for something to be hung on it.  This festive wallhanging might just end up there now until Christmas!

I used a 2" cut sashing and applied a very rusty free-motion quilting top-stitch.  Not perfect, but not bad either.  And I found the "Scrumptious" diagonal stripe in my stash that I couldn't NOT use for the binding. 

Thank you Elea and Fat Quarter Shop for making such a fun project with the cutest Christmas fabric!


little joys quilt along - present

This is the second version of this block for me - the first one had solid pink instead of the red/white dot.  I made it.  I pressed it.  I held it up.  I looked at it.  My upper lip curled up with disapproval.  I tossed it aside. 

Then made this one.  And my lips smiled. :)

Next week is the big finish.  I'm excited to show you what I did with only 3 blocks.


little joys quilt along - wreath

You can't be surprised that I made a pink wreath. :)  This is definitely my favourite block.  I had a hard time deciding on the bow colour, though - red? green? brown? yellow?  I think I got it right.


for those of you who aren't on instagram ...

... here's a quick photo I posted there today that I thought you might like. 

By the way, I don't judge.  I'm not on Facebook!  LOL!

xo k

PS:  If you ARE on IG and haven't found me yet, I'm @prettybyhand


little joys quilt along - tree

I'm colouring outside the lines a bit with my fabric selections compared to the pattern. :)  You don't want to see everyone doing the exact same quilt, do you?  I think it's the individual interpretations that make these QALs inspiring.

This tree block was easy - four branches on the tree, four greens in the bundle.


(Click here for the free pattern!)


little joys quilt along

Are you ready?

Click here to get started!


elea + rachel + amy (+ me) = my new favourite christmas quilt

See, this is what happens when you "waste time" poking around the internet ... you find the perfect fabric, then you find the perfect pattern, then you find someone who already put those two things together so you don't even need to test out your idea ...


and then you go and do your thing.

This may actually be a first for me -  upsizing a block pattern rather than shrinking it.  I'm forever reducing pattern sizes because I like little.  But I wanted all the prints in "Little Joys" to be showcased to their best advantage and that meant upscaling Rachel's adorably cute present block design.  I just had to do a little math (which always gives me hives, by the way).

I am super happy with how it turned out, except for one little thing - I'm trying reeeeeeally hard to be zen about these touching blocks ...

Ugh.  (How did I MISS this?!  Drives me banana-nuts-crazy.)

If you want to make this quilt too, here's where you need to go:

Fat Quarter Shop for "Little Joys" by Elea Lutz for Penny Rose Fabrics

Wooden Spoon Quilts for the "Gift Wrapped Block" tutorial by Rachel  

nanaCompany for a peek at the small version by Amy  (scroll down a bit)

And here are the cutting dimensions for my version:

  • centre square - 1.5”
  • white ribbons - 1.5” x 4.5”
  • solid inner squares - 2.5”
  • print outer squares - 2.5”
  • print outer rectangles - 2.5” x 4.5”
  • (I used a 2.5” cut sashing. :)

I made 25 blocks and set them on point.  I'll show you a better photo after it's all quilted and bound and ready to snuggle with my family.

Thank you Elea, Rachel and Amy!  Could not have made myself such a pretty quilt without all of you. :)

xo k


how to make a business card holder - a free pattern

Ok.  I'm gonna just say it.  I'm super proud of this thing I made.  It was my final project for a course I took a few months ago.  (And yes, I got an A+.)  I thought it would be fun to turn my Mini Little Geese Satchel pattern into an infographic - and a free pattern for you. :)

Please note that this infographic is not nearly as detailed as I would write for a regular pattern.  I was limited with space so I hope the cutting instructions and illustrations are enough for you to succeed. 

Have fun!  xo k