Crazy for Butterflies.

9 Apr

I needed to make a quilt for a king sized bed. Making the top was not a problem but what about the cost of having it quilted. My little quilt frame would not even look at it and even if it would my albeit semi professional machine would be working on minus inches by the time the whole thing had rolled up under the arm. The only thing to do was quilt as you go. I have never done one of these before but never let it be said that I would let a little thing like that stop me. There has to be a first time for everything.

First I did crazy patch squares using strips of butterfly fabrics on a sandwich of backing and cotton/polyester wadding . Having chosen to go with a butterfly theme I was going to do some reverse applique butterflies but decided that it would either make or break the project. With my luck it would be the latter. Instead I experimented with embroideries.


Once I had drawn myself a rough plan of which colour went where to prevent adjacent duplicates it was a doddle. I had sewn the blocks into sections of two rows of eight blocks. The whole quilt was to be eight blocks by eight blocks so I had four sections. the added bonus was that as the blocks already had three layers no stabiliser was needed. It also meant that there would be butterflies the colour of the bobbin thread on the back.

I made my rows and sections by joining blocks with narrow sashing. The sashing is sown to both blocks right sides together on the back.




The front is only attached on one block right sides together.


It is then folded over and either hand or machine stitched on the right side. As life is too short and too filled with future quilts I used a fancy machine stitch trying to keep it parallel with the edge. A straight stitch would have been a nightmare keeping it neat on the back.

DSCN2948I used quilting thread.



I hooped the quilt sections and embroidered butterflies. I could have embroidered the butterflies before constructing the strips but this way I could get nearer the edges of the blocks but that was just my preference. I don’t like things too ordered.






Sew all the strips together, add a wide border to match the sashing and Bob’s your Uncle.

As an extra little touch I stitched butterflies all round the border using Sulky Solar thread. This means that at night a row of luminous butterflies lights the room. Who needs a night light when you have luminous butterflies.

I thought I might try making some baby quilts with luminous embroideries. they will either provide the comfort of a night light or produce mildly confused children. What is life without a little experimentation?


Fancy Cats, Ladies Tea and Sew Paree.

30 Mar

I am hoping to get a delivery of fabric from Loralie Designs tomorrow. I had a bit of a marathon trying to pay the duty on Saturday but we got there in the end and delivery was promised for tomorrow. Anywhere else in the country that would probably mean it would be. Here, not so much. If you are behind with your deliveries we are a very good place to miss in order to make up time. Still it isn’t Christmas so we live in hope.

It wouldn’t normally be a problem but I have to load up ready for the Spring Quilt festival at Westpoint, Exeter on Wednesday. this means that all new panels must be cut and packed and all fabrics ready to load. Fingers crossed.

Nothing like going to the wire. As far as excitement goes I’ll take what I can and be grateful.

The fabrics are Fancy Cats Fancy Cats Panel


Matching Fabric

Fancy Cats

I do get asked for cats so hopefully these will go down well along with the other two animal prints.

cat panel_600x327

dog panel_600x330


We also have arriving, Ladies Tea featuring much tea drinking and teapots.

Ladies Tea Panel


Matching Fabric.

Tea Toss Fabric


Last but not least Sew Paree.

Sew Paree Panel


Matching FabricSew Paree Fabric


I have also had to do a reprint on my most popular pattern – Plundering Pirates. Not sure why it goes down so well. Maybe because it is a bit different.



My favourite is the pilchardsDSCN1642_600x450


It shares top spot with my Funky Farmyard Quilt.

Farm Quilt adjusted_555x600

If you are around Exeter and the fancy takes you come along and see what we get up to. There are lots of quilts to see and goods to buy. If that doesn’t grab you come for tea and cake.


Unbearably Loveable

31 Jan

I have not used many Sue Box embroideries but every time I do I wonder why I don’t do more. These are my latest efforts and I think they are really lovely.

I only use well digitised embroideries. I don’t want to plan a project only to be let down by the quality of the digitising. However, if asked what the difference between these well digitised embroideries and all the others I have bought I would simply say they are heirloom quality.

The designer is Carolyn Lorking and the original designs are perfect. Sue Box then makes a lovely design into a lovely, troublefree embroidery.

Don’t take my word for it, have a look. Bear in mind that she uses Robinson Anton thread and I use Madeira so I had to convert the colours. This sometimes results in a less than perfect finished embroidery but in this case it seems to have worked. They may not be identical to hers but they are still lovely.

I bought 5 of them but there are lots more on this link.

The nightshirt on the first one is actually blue, nothing to do with the colour conversion, more the camera.






I think my favourite is the sailor. Which is yours?

I  thought I would make a quilt probably involving the bears paw pattern. Watch this space

Mining the Stash

19 Jan

I tidied the dungeon today. If we are being literal, I tidied half the dungeon.The problem was that, having rearranged the area I sew in I turned round to discover that although I had one lovely tidy section, I had moved everything surplus to requirements down to the other end. This now means I have to start tidying that bit tomorrow. Perhaps I should just place a large dustbin by the door and save myself the trouble.

The flaw in this plan is of course that if I throw out anything it will be just the bit of blue or green I need to finish a project. Not that I would ever find it at the moment but that is a detail. Luckily I get a certain amount of satisfaction creating order out of chaos. That is until I try to find something that is no longer where I knew it was. Still at least the dust bunnies have hopped off for a few weeks and the resident spiders will be spending tonight re-spinning the webs I hoovered up this morning.

Since writing the above I have bought myself some plastic drawers. Now I can see all the small fabric pieces I did not throw away. They are colour coded and perhaps will stay tidy now. The times I have thrown everything out of a very large box in order to find a tiny piece of just the right yellow. No more.

It is amazing how just the act of completing one job, ie the fabric organisation, kick starts other projects.

I have had this quilt on the frame for weeeks if not months but couldn’t find the motivation to finish it. I was looking for something to demonstrate the use of a fabric panel in a quilt and came across a pattern at Blank Quilting.  It is actually a pattern for use with the Fashion Beach collection but would lend itself to any of the Loralie Designs panels and other makes too. I adapted it for the Belles Collection of fabrics.

See what you think


Close up.





Simple but effective.

The Cheapskate’s Way to Unique Applique.

28 Nov

You may have noticed that patterns are expensive. They are also not always what you would choose. For instance, suppose that your child likes a particular character from literature or TV. You may not be able to get a pattern for an applique of same but you can probably find a colouring book. How obvious is that and how many people never think of it? I never have used this method but I’m considering it.

The other day I was browsing in a local shop that sells a lot of end-of-line  and remaindered stock and I found a  colouring book featuring snowmen. It is a bit late for this year but I will be making at least a snowman themed wall hanging  next year. In theory I could do it  now but I have a queue of UFOs and  refuse to allow a new project until at least some are finished.

This  book is ‘Colour with Frosty’ from . This particular book is no longer on the site (probably why it was reduced) but there are lots more. The best place for cheap books is one of the remainder shops like The Works. If you want a closer look than the internet affords they have a store finder from your post code   and you can go along and grab an armful.

There were lots of other animals; bears and penguins for instance but these are the ones I have chosen on the snowman theme.

The Book – I am not sure  it is the actual Frosty the Snowman but that’s what it says on the tin so I’ll go with it.







Unless you are a McKenna Ryan fan choose pictures with large pieces and no fiddly bits. Having said that, if you see something you really like and it has lots of fiddly bits, have a go. I use the satin stitch method of attaching my appliques and I have not yet found anything too difficult, small or fiddly to deal with (even McKenna Ryan). In fact she has a beautiful new quilt with snowmen too. Have a look. If you like kits her fabrics are lovely.

If you need instructions on applique have a look at the ‘Tips and Tricks’ page on the heading at the top of this page. There are several applique projects with the basic how tos.

One note of caution. The books are someone’s copyright. If you use them for yourself I cannot see there would be a problem, although I am no expert. If you try to sell the resulting quilt, in theory you could get into copyright problems so best not to do it.

Richard Madeley and the Polperro Music Festival Auction

9 Nov


I live in a pretty little place called Polperro situated in Cornwall.

The Outer Harbour

The Outer Harbour




Every Year a music festival is held there and in order to be able to afford an impressive fortnight of music with equally impressive musicians, the village needs to raise money. This year there will be an auction held at the British Legion with presenter Richard Madeley as Auctioneer.

He is donating a lunch at the Talland Bay Hotel for three people.

I am giving one of my handmade dolls.


and one of my Kookaburra Cottage Quilts.


There will be lots of other goodies too. So whether you are a fan of Richard Madeley, want a quilt or doll you cannot get anywhere else or just fancy a trip to a beautiful place, come along.

November 30th at 8:30pm at the British Legion in Landaviddy Lane Polperro. Park in the car park and take a short walk down into the village as there is no parking in the village. Don’t forget parking is free for the evening.

Put it in your diary and see you there.

Loralie Stamps Her Foot

19 Oct

As I mentioned in my last blog, I am now stocking Loralie Designs Art Stamps on my web site. As I will be taking them to the shows as well I thought I had better try to get the hang of the stamping business. Before we start all you seasoned stampers out there can either go and look at another site or prepare to be amused. I have never done this before and I think it might be a bit of a steep learning curve. However, I did these the day my stamp pad arrived so hopefully it can only get better.

The first thing I realised when I received my consignment of stamps from Loralie is that the picture on the packet does not have to be the finished project. The fun bit is using different colours to create different looks. That is what this blog is about, albeit in a limited way.

The stamp I decided to use was Lela.

Here is Lela as Loralie coloured her.

LelaShe is very colourful but I decided to see what she would look like in a different colour.

First I took the stamp, block and pad.

Stamp and pad

The first thing I learned was that a cling stamp needs a block to which to be attached during the stamping process. The stamp sits on top of the block and grips it. It doesn’t need to be stuck on. This of course has the advantage that you only need one block for your whole collection of stamps. Mine is A6 which is exactly the size of the Loralie Stamps. It would also serve for smaller stamps.

When I was looking at buying ink pads I assumed that I would have to buy one as big as the stamp. This proved to be erroneous. As long as the pad has a hinged lid to allow it to fold behind the stamp then any size will do. I have read that the very small ones are not such a good idea but, not having used one I couldn’t comment. What you do is have the stamp facing upwards and ‘pounce’ the ink onto it. There are numerous Youtube  tutorials on this if you want the details. In fact Youtube is a fount of knowledge. Some people maybe shouldn’t be doing them but you can watch them all and decide who knows what they are doing and who doesn’t.

The next process is to get the stamp stamped onto your card. I tried it on some card I use in my printer and it was perfectly OK. However I decided in the interest of research to try the special paper sold by Copic as I was going to use their markers. I must admit that the image was brighter and clearer when coloured in but it depends what you are aiming at really. Anyway, It took me a few goes to get a crisp image but as I have no trouble since I can only assume that the stamp needs a bit of conditioning. So don’t be put off if the first few images are a bit hit and miss.

This is what I produce now, still not perfect but not bad.

Stamp Image lela

Ignore the accessories round the edges. They are not part of the image I am using so were only inked as a bi-product and therefore are not crisp.

At this point, if I have finished with the stamp I use stamp cleaner to keep it in good condition. After all I may decide to use a different coloured ink and I wouldn’t want the black to take over.


This is the one I got but there are lots out there. Someone suggested soap and water but I am here to tell you it didn’t work with my ink.

I then got to the interesting bit. Word of warning – if you have to be somewhere do not start colouring. Time develops winged feet and disappears out of a window somewhere.

I treated myself to some Copic Ciao markers. They can be bought in sets but if you can’t afford to spend a lot at one go try buying them in smaller groups. There are groups of colours that go together to assist shading etc. There are Youtube and blog lessons from Copic representatives telling you how the numbering system works. The best way to start would be to buy the flesh colours and then a group of whatever is your favourite colour. This way you are less likely to get frustrated because you can’t do the shading just as you would like. Anyway, I could never resist colour and I have learned over the years that if I don’t have what I need for a project I become frustrated so I have all of them. The frustrating bit is that I later discovered that if you are really serious they have other ranges in more colours. This is however only a problem if you are trying to follow instructions for shading in one of their instruction books.

Anyway, this is how they come.


This is a mixture of two boxes as I rearranged the lot into number order to make life easier.

When I came to colour the image I was a little irritated as I had carefully researched which ink to get. Despite this some of the ink ran when it came into contact with the markers. I have tried using a hair dryer and leaving the images overnight but if that doesn’t work I guess I will have to do some trial and error tests.

The first colour scheme I tried was blue and red. I was quite pleased with the result.

Blue Lela

I am not there with the flesh colour shading but I haven’t yet found the right combination of shades. However, you get the idea.

Then I bought some paper and decided to try to match the colours to it.

Brown LelaUnfortunately the background doesn’t show up in its real colours but again, you get the idea.

What it does show is that one stamp can look really different in different colourways.

Next I am going to experiment with flesh colours and try the darker ones too.

I read one blog where someone had , presumably stamped out the clothes onto patterned cardstock or paper and used that for the clothes. This, of course meant that it could be made to match exactly the surrounding card. I am sure lots of people are saying ‘so what’ but it’s like everything else, if you have never done something before there are lots of eureka moments along the way. You have just forgotten yours. I expect in time I would forget mine if I became proficient.

Bye the way, the title is a bit misleading as, as you can see below Loralie does not always even supply feet, let alone stamp them.

Daisy Lady

Mauve Daisy

Here are a few of the other stamps. If you want to see more go over to my web site and see the range. There will be more soon so keep looking.

Lady HeartChristmas ShopperMultimumLuella

Now to stop this becoming another hobby.

Happy Stamping.


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