Tag Archives: accessories

Back to School – Back to Posting

Today is both a good day and a bad day at the same time: It’s the last day of our summer holiday, so I’m back to work tomorrow. Ambivalent feeling on that count. On the one hand after a six-week break it’s about time to get some direction back into my – and especially the children’s – life. One the other hand, not working beats working, doesn’t it, as long as you get paid for it 😉 .

Anyways, I felt a bit bad for not using all that free time for blogging. A big shout-out here to the ever observant Mia, who keeps me accountable both as far as my underwear as well as my blogging is concerned. Mia, I’m back! 🙂

In order to “celebrate” the impending new academic year I made a few pencil cases today.

This is mine, the Chanel edition:


IMG_9645Look, inside it looks almost like a normal person’s pencil case:


But then there is the Flower edition:


Harmless on the outside, but it’s a big bad teacher’s pencil case on the inside:


Filled to the brim with red pens!! Hahahahaha!!!
Disclaimer: I do love my students, really! I’m half as bad as I make myself out to be.

The last one is for Child 1. Oversized, because she needs room to accommodate her set square et al. The little swot! I’m sure she gets it from her dad!



Look, extra roomy on the inside, a bit like the Tardis:



So keep your fingers crossed for me – and my students –  tomorrow. In all likelihood I will blog more regularly now I have less time. Don’t know how that works, but that seems to the way it is…



US Fabric and Pattern Online Shopping: Any Tips?

Unfortunately it’s not me who’s going to travel to the States soon, it’s my husband, and he’ll only go for work. However, that gives me the chance to do a spot of online shopping in the US.
Normally the cost of shipping and customs is so high that US shopping makes no sense for me, but now that I have a chance to have stuff shipped to my husband’s hotel in Vegas and have him bring it over, it seems a much more attractive idea.
Which brings me to my questions:

  • Do you have any tips for me as to good quality/value online shops? I’m looking for good quality natural fibre fabric, but because I will have to make a choice only based on a web picture I will probably go for classics rather than anything “out there”.
  • Where would I go to buy patterns?
  • Any good sales etc that I should know of (hubby will fly out end of Feb)?
  • Any brilliant places to go for quilting fabrics?
  • How do I make my husband to save all his luggage space for my shopping?

As ever: Thanks so much for you advice! I really appreciate it!

Parents’ Duty

You know how it is a parent’s most sacred duty to gracefully accept the handicraft of their child for birthdays and holidays? How they must feign enthusiasm even in the face of the most feebly attempts at glueing, cutting out or sewing? How they must keep in mind that it is the thought that counts?

Well, if you have children then obviously you know!

But did you know that it never stops? That you still have to accept your children’s homemade presents when you are well into your 70s and feel you have the right to something nice from the shops? When your daughter is in her mid-forties and has a family of her own?

That’s what my parents might think come this Christmas – because they will be getting hand-quilted table mats from me, that have turned out just a slight little bit too colourful:

Whoho, I hear you saying, that is bright! Not at breakfast, please! And I fully agree – what is fine individually is a bit too much together. Look at those blocks separately:


They look great, don’t they? They are all from Tula Pink’s 100 Modern Quilt Blocks. I have to say that my work her isn’t doing the book justice – it is a great resource and I have started another project in more muted colours which I think will showcase what the book has to offer much better.

In order to give the option of simple turning round the table mat I added a neutral backing:


Ahhhh, that’s better. This is the “Have a quiet relaxed breakfast” side to the “Breakfast on acid” side with the pattern.

One thing that is a real achievement for me is the free motion quilting which I managed to execute for the first time ever:


View from the bright side:

IMG_5995Clearly there a lot wrong with the quilting. The stitch length is in no way uniform, there are unquilted patches, the curves are sometimes edgy, not curvy – but still it is by far the best free motion quilting I have ever done. In fact it is the first time I have ever finished a free motion quilting project rather than just throwing it out in tears and frustration. So I am sure those table mats will score highly on the “It’s the thought that counts” front.

IMG_5993And case my parents suffer from memory loss I have even put my name to it ;-). At least they have the option to slip those mats into a drawer and quietly forget about them, given that I come to their house only very rarely.


So how about you: Are your craft projects received gladly? Do you like to receive craft presents? What to do if they are not to your taste?

Embracing Autumn, One Garment At A Time: Dress with Pleated Neckline

My other half is back from his travels and so I braved the wind and the rain for some live pictures of the dress with pleated neckline.



You can see how the fabric creases like something mad:


And just because I made it from scraps of leather and got my finger all horribly sticky in leather glue, a glimpse of the corsage:


I have written at length of how the one aspect of blogging that I really dislike is the modelling. My husband always keeps laughing at me and tells me to lighten up. An then this happens:

IMG_5907And that:


So now you know why I usually just stand to attention and have the photo business wash over me ;-).

Anyway, there was some tomfoolery with the “woman posing with car”-theme:

IMG_5918We have a hire car at the moment and it is by far the biggest car to ever grace our driveway, so I thought I will practice my gazing into the middle distance kind of look:


So yes, next time it’s back to normal pictures again. My version on normal at least 😉 .

The Internet – A Wonderful Thing

Look what I have got:

IMG_5899Is that some yardage and a jelly roll of Winter’s Lane, I hear you ask?

IMG_5900It most certainly is! I have been dreaming about this for months! And look what else:

IMG_5902IMG_5903Fabric Christmas cards and gift tags! Isn’t that the loveliest idea ever?? I have no idea what to do with fabric Christmas cards exactly, but they are adorable. And have you seen the selvage? Delightful, I’m sure you’ll agree.

But there is more:

IMG_5901A fat quarter bundle of Cuzsco. My world is happy today!

And what does the internet have to do with this? Well, sourcing these fabrics in Germany is hard, often even not possible. Ordering these fabrics via the internet from the US is easy – but postage is expensive, often amounting to more than the actual fabrics and then the parcel might be stuck in customs for ages and I might have to drive to the customs office (around 25km) in order to release the package.

But my husband spent some time in DC recently and so I ordered the fabrics in the US and had them sent to his hotel. And I didn’t even have to pay and sales tax, because the billing address is outside the US. Win-win, I would say (in fact that is the reason why the fabric Christmas cards were purchased, they were about what the sales tax would have been 🙂 )

And just apropos of nothing: I moved my camera about 20cm, and what did I get: a plastic “Mom, are you scared”-frog and one of many toy guns.IMG_5904The joy of living with boys, ey?!

So how about you: Do your fabrics mingle with life? Or do you sew in meditative peace and quiet?

My Journey in Quilts #6: The Wedding Quilt

As announced in my last post my sister got married last weekend and my present to the new couple was this quilt: IMG_4680IMG_4681


My sister is a great fan of all things Scandinavian and I thought a colour scheme of red, black and white might be just right. I made it using a jelly roll of – oh dear, my brain is forsaking me, I can’t remember the name of the line! Can anybody help me out? I bought it in New York, I do remember that… Well, moving quickly on, she says embarrassedly…

Aaaanyway: This is  the first quilt I designed myself, but of course the design is very simple, so maybe it doesn’t even warrant that word. I made one star for each member of the family (my sister, her husband, their son and one for the baby my sister is pregnant with. In the middle they all come together to make up the new family.

I tried to spell out that thought again on the reverse:


There is an initial for each member of the family (and the heart shape for the baby). I made the letters using the technique described by Tonya Riucci. I have admired quilts with writing on for a long time – look at this page on Pinterest, isn’t that just great? However, I didn’t really fall in love with making those letters so  I don’t think I will ever make a quilt that tells a proper story 🙂 .


The binding is just simple red checkered fabric all the way around the quilt. I had some strips of the jelly roll left, so I contemplated making binding in several colours, but in the end I like the solid effect better.


The quilting is a miracle! Not because it is so beautiful, but because it happened at all! I have started to overcome my quilting phobia, thanks to the use of relatively light-weight cotton batting that has made things much easier for me. I simple quilted in the ditch (or imaginary ditch across the solid white squares). Clearly this is as nothing in comparison to what real quilters are doing, but for my level of skill it is great and was happy enough with it to give the quilt as a present.

IMG_4683So how about you? Have you ever gifted a quilt? Who was it for? Or have you been fortunate enough to be given a quilt?

Sneak Preview: My Journey in Quilts 6

I have been away on holiday so I have not done any sewing at all for a fortnight – until yesterday when I sprung into frantic action in order to finish a wedding quilt for my sister who is going to get married … next Saturday. Yes, that is in five days’ time… I am not normally a deadline hugger, normally I get stuff finished in plenty of time, so not having finished the quilt before going on holidays made me really nervous. But then there was a reason for that…

Now I can’t show you a whole load of pictures yet, as I don’t want to show of a present before it has actually been gifted (though I doubt my sister reads this blog, especially five days before her wedding 😉 ) so this is just a sneak preview.


I have actually had a revelation during the construction of this quilt. I have long documented my problems with the quilting part of quilting and because this is the first quilt I’m ever giving away for a big occasion I was very conscious of the standard of my work. So conscious in fact that after finishing the quilting back in August I decided that I hated my work so much that I ripped it all out again. I am not even sure what took longer, doing the quilting or ripping all the stitches on a complete quilt. heartbreaking work in any case!

Yesterday I tried again using a different wadding – and what  a difference that made! Previously I had always used poly wadding, this time I used quite a slim cotton wadding and I had zero problems with slippage of the sandwich layers or crincles on the underside. So in the end redoing everything was the right thing to do!

IMG_4675I did not do a lot of quilting, just rows in the ditch, because I simply do not have the skills to do any more involved quilting. I realise, of course, that even this standard of work is a long way away from perfect, even quite a way away from competent, but it is acceptable and certainly the best I have ever managed. Happily, in this case, there is no German quilting traditions, so very very few people have handmade quilts and my sister will not be able to compare my standards to much other work – all the more lucky for me 😉

After the wedding I will show a few more pictures of the full quilt – I hope you will enjoy them.