June Bee Block and other bits

Hi everyone! I have a few things in progress to show you this week. The postman has brought me a few goodies and I’m all excited thinking what will I do next!

I think it is about time that I showed you the main thing happening this month. I am the Bee Mama for the month of June in the Modern Irish Bee and since today I received my first 2 blocks from busy bee Tomomi, I will show you the design I made. You can read more about it in the original post I wrote for the guild blog here. I was inspired by a scrappy quilt I saw on Flikr with tiny little squares scattered on a white background and the supernova cluster stars from an astronomy book at home. So here’s the result:

photo 1 copy 4It is funny how it looks… I draw the idea on graph paper. Then, instead of drawing 11 more blocks to see how the whole quilt would look like, I just photocopied it and cut them all out. I could play around with different arrangements but in the end I stuck to the original plan, which is a quilt with 6 stars clusters.

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The block measures 12.5″ and is divided in 4 squares, and each of them in 3 columns. The red scraps are 1″ finished squares and the white background pieces vary in size.

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Here’s my two blocks using red scraps and Kona white.

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And here you can see a completed star cluster with Tomomi’s blocks and mine together. It is very exciting to see how it is coming out slowly, especially when I wasn’t using any colours at the time of designing. I can’t wait to receive the rest of the blocks and see them all together! As usual, I will have trouble thinking about the quilting… I think I’d like to have a red backing, maybe tiny polka dots or gingham… I don’t know…

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Tomomi was very nice and she included a beautiful handmade little drawstring pouch. Isn’t it amazing? Look at the detail of the log cabin block! Thank you so much Tomomi for your generous gift!

 

I am still organizing and tidying my sewing room and among all the bits and bobs I found 2 kits to build a chest of drawers and an octagonal box that my sister had bought me while she was visiting Japan. I am not sewing these days because I want to have the space ready, so this is a great way to have my hands occupied and quenching my creative bug.

 

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Then… another little package was accompanying Tomomi’s one! I was the lucky winner of Sarah’s Facebook giveaway for a patchwork cushion cover kit from Seamstar, one of her sponsors. Seamstar is an online shop where you can sign up for a monthly craft club box. You’ll receive all the supplies you need to complete a monthly project together with instructions. It is a brilliant idea, isn’t it? So here’s my latest addition to my  to-do list. The kit contains 6 coordinating charm squares, piping cord, binding, linen, calico cotton, an invisible zip, thread and batting plus the instructions to follow. I’ll jump into it as soon as I can!

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At that’s all for this week… I’ll keep working on my Japanese themed crafts while drinking some Gen Mai Cha!

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My sewing space… a WIP

I have been working hard over the last weeks trying to organize my sewing room and now, just now!, is finally taking shape. I should have probably taken photos of the BEFORE and WAY BEFORE THE BEFORE, but it was really a mess. Well, maybe not a mess. The thing is that it is not only my sewing room, like I use to have upstairs (you can see a bit of it here). That one became Conor’s room when he turned up, so I moved downstairs where there is a spare bedroom, with a walk-in wardrobe and an en-suit bathroom, aka My Parent’s Room when they’re visiting. It is not the same having your own room than one where there are passers-by all the time (it’s the only bathroom downstairs) plus it became as a laundry room too. So I decided it needed a whole rearrangement.

Things I got rid off:

- Huge big ironing board. I still love it and is great for ironing quilt tops, but I’m not ironing quilt tops all the time. So upstairs it went.

- Laundry basket. It was used as a storage box to keep batting and other supplies, but I can get rid of it and store the batting somewhere else. I still don’t know where it will go.

- Bookshelves. I had them in a corner, next to the window and the sofa. We need book shelves in another room so they’ve emigrated where they’re much needed and appreciated.

Let me give you the  little tour… but this is NOT THE FINAL LOOK! You’ll see things all over the place but you’ll get a good idea. Also, I’ll be painting the walls…

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First change: You see that unit in the corner where the printer and the serger are? That was where the desk is now. And the desk was just behind the table, so I was sewing with the window at my back. I like having a big table to spread the quilt on when I’m quilting, but I felt a bit confined in that corner. Now I’m sewing facing the wall, but when I need to quilt, I’ll move the seeing machine onto the table and that’s all. I’ll put some shelves above the desk for keeping notions and bits and pieces. The low shelves under the table were under one side wing , now they’re right under and across. Oh, and that ottoman, I love it! it has the perfect height to sit on and it stores a great amount of fabric too.

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Here you can see the area behind the table, it is like the counter in a shop :-). The fabric bolds are there in the corner now. I’ll move the serger out of the way since I don’t use it that often (yet). The spool holder that my brother made will live over the desk area.

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The big change: Here’s the opposite side. The only thing that hasn’t moved is the sofa. There were bookshelves in the corner where the little floor lamp stands and that little coffee table was right beside on the other side where the new shelves are now. Yep, IKEA. Don’t pay attention how they’re stuffed at the moment, I needed to have them up and I just threw everything in for the time being. Right now they look more organised, really. I will put 2 shelves on the wall beside the window, and I’ll hang some pictures or mini quilts on the wall above the sofa, where the tiny owl hook is graciously covering a nail.

 

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There’s the entrance door and a little boy on the sofa.

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I’m planning to make a design wall on the area above the radiator. I actually wished it hadn’t been placed there, as I think it takes a good potential from that wall, but anyway, that’s how things are. I’ll show you the rest next time…

So it was quite a busy day today. I came from work at 2pm, having started my shift yesterday at 4pm, I spent most of the afternoon here in this room with Hana and Conor pottering around. Then we put them to bed around 8pm and I borrowed my friend’s bike to go for a spin. What a lovely evening!!! Just look at this:

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I cycled all the way out from the island to the causeway and went down to the beach. The smells and the sounds… The freshly cut hay as you pass by the fields and the sea weed and the salty sea right when you hit the causeway. The funny cows looking at me passing by and the sound of the cuckoo… this is really paradise for me. I’ll show you the rest of the tour (both room and cycling) next week. Have a good weekend!

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More Scrappy Bee Blocks and some winnings

June already! Well it’s time to show off the 2 beautiful blocks that my Bee Sisters requested for April and May. They are the kind of blocks that look great on their own, I mean that you could make a bigger version and turn them into a cushion cover, a mini quilt or a placemat (actually, Tomomi did make beautiful placemats with the Road to Tenesse design that Erin, the May Mama Bee, chose. I also liked the fussy cutting that Anna‘s block called for and all the random scrappy bits added around.

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Anna‘s April Bee Blocks

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Erin’s blocks required a bit of precise cutting and a scant 1/4″ seam. I found that pressing the seams open helped to maintain the accurate measurements, but still, some of the corners were not matching when assembling the whole block, even though I remade some of the patches!!! (I always cut extra squares because I know I’m more likely to not getting it perfect the first time…)

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I don’t know if it’s only me or what, but even though I like the scraps I have, after all it is fabric that I bought and obviously love, I feel that everyone else’s blocks have such lovely fabric choices! I probably need a new scrappy stash!

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I’m so loving being part of this Bee! I was thinking that I might make one extra block of each month again, I’ll quilt them and bind them and I’ll have them hanging on a hemp string with wooden cloth pegs all around the walls on my sewing room to decorate. Wouldn’t that be nice? I’m still thinking of redecorating (I should probably say decorating only because it is really bare) the whole room. I think the whole house needs painting, outside and inside!!!

So we have had January, February, March, April and May blocks… June is my month and my block will be shown this week on the Modern Quilt Guild of Ireland’s blog. I designed it back in January, after many sketches and checking out many of my quilting books and magazines. At the end I opted to design my own one inspired on a scrappy quilt I saw while browsing Google Images for modern quilts and some photos of Supernova stars from an astronomy book that lays around the house.

It is quite different from all the blocks that have been made up until now, in that it doesn’t really “say” anything on its own, because it is part of the bigger picture that makes the quilt. I’ve been worrying a bit about it, especially after seeing that every block was much more unique and pretty straight forward when it came to read instructions. Let’s see how it goes… I hope they find it interesting somehow!

Oh yes, I did mention winnings on my post title, didn’t I? I’m so happy to say that I was lucky during the Sew Mama Sew Giveaway this year! I haven’t won a giveaway for a while and I was thrilled when I received an email from The Crafty Kitty telling me I had won one of her prizes: a FQ bundle of  Mod Basics Organic Cotton fabric in yellow. I LOVE this pastel yellow, the elephants are so cute and the dots are so lovely.

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(photo from The Crafty Kitty)

I think I know how I am going to use some of these already. At the moment I am trying to experiment with different designs of zippered bags and pouches, combining linen and embroidery, and I think this organic fabric will be a perfect match for my Spanish linen.

The other giveaway I won is a set of 12 small spools of Aurifil thread! Although I didn’t participate by entering a quilt at the Blogger’s Quilt Festival that Amy organizes every year (I did in the past and blogged about it here), I wrote a comment which was randomly chosen to win one of a few different prizes. What a nice surprise I had yesterday when I received the news from Amy. I’m quite excited to try this famous cotton Aurifil thread. Yep, believe it or not, I still haven’t tried it yet, one reason being that I have so many other thread spools already… But I must say that a super generous crafty colleague gave me a few polyester Aurifil and I really like it. I am really looking forward to receive it!

And that’s all for this week. I am still working on my Summer Fair stock, I tackled some tin whistle cases already and more quilled cards. I don’t know if I’ll be able to meet my goal for the weekend as I am juggling it with my daytime (and night time sometimes) job and the kids…  oh, time time time, where can I buy more of it???

I have great week!

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Summer Fair Preps

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I am getting ready for my second craft fair and, again, I’m feeling a bit nervous! Will I have enough stock, am I focusing on the right items, am I making too much of this and not enough of that? Oh dear, I know it will be grand in the end, but you always have those thoughts at the back of your mind until you are set up and running the stall on the day. I had a great experience with the Christmas Fair in Kinvara, so I’d like to try and jump into another fair.

I’ve decided to make a few things that children might like, like pencil cases, tin whistle pouches, hairbands, covered notebooks, etc… I think I will also be selling my quilled bookmarks and cards…  so I contacted Aylin, from Aylin Nilya, a blog that I have been following for a while, who gave me the green light to use her Sleeping Bag pouch tutorial to make a few for selling at the Fair. Aren’t these bags fantastic? I love that they can stay wide open so you can find the right coloured pencil while still keeping everything tugged in. They’d be great as a make up bag too.

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I realised I needed some more school-aged friendly fabric and headed over to The Quilt Shop in TuamThere I met Sonia, who happens to have an Etsy shop too. She was really helpful and this is what I left with (I could have spent more time there if I hadn’t had Mr F. and the Little Button waiting in the car).

 

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Just when I was taking these shots, Conor turned up next to me and fell in love with the robots, especially that blue one… (who knows why that one in particular). Every time he sees it he goes WWWWWOOOOOOWWWWWW…

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I still have to make the tin whistle pouches, but this is the music themed fabric I found for them. I love the notes and the guitars! So far I have made a few sleeping bag pouches. Aylin’s tutorial is pretty easy to follow and although it calls for an endless zipper, you also have the option to use a long normal zipper. That is what I used and I thought I’d share a tip on it if you decide to try and make one too.

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I used a 22″ zip, and made a mark at 6″ from the end, so I know where to start sewing. I also clipped all around the length where it starts to go along the curve, so it is easier to lay it flat. I sandwiched the zipper between the lining and the outer fabric and hand basted the three layers before sewing them using the zipper foot. That’s all.

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I loved making these bags, they seem tricky enough with the zipper, but I’d like to try to make them with an endless one. I think it will be easier anyhow and I already placed an order for some of them in this Etsy shop .

Go over to Aylin’s blog and have a look at her work, she has some fab tutorials!

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Raspberry and Cream Roulade

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Here’s the traditional Berry and Cream Roulade that my friend always makes when we’re celebrating birthdays.

So because today it is Conor’s 2nd birthday, (remember this, this and this…?) Wow, two years today… this little busy man decided it was time to see the world. What a quick birth it was. He was really in a hurry, and still is… I promise I’ll son show you how handsome he is (just like his ma, ha!).

So I asked my friend to teach me how to make it and also share it here with you. I made one last Saturday and took photos of every step. It was gone in… 2 hours? I’ll be making a fresh one later on today and I think it won’t last that long.

Here’s what you need:

4 egg whites

8 oz white caster sugar

A tub of whipping cream

Berries ( this time I used raspberries only )

 

1. Preheat the oven at 180C (mine has a fan and I found that I need to turn it down at 170C) .Prepare a shallow rectangular baking tray lined with tin foil and very slightly oiled with a brush.

 

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2. Beat the egg whites and the sugar with an electric mixer FOR 10 MINUTES. They will have to be very stiff.

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3. Pour the egg mix onto the lined tray and spread it all over with a spatula. See how thick it is?

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4. Bake for 15 minutes sharp, no more no less. (Mine here was a bit over done at the edges, so that’s why I’ll turn down the heat a bit and stay within the 15 minutes), to be honest, I’d rather ave it slightly over done than under. Take it out and place it onto a rack (still within the tin) to cool down. It will sink and crack, that’s ok.

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5. Lift it  with the foil and place it from the tin onto a flat surface. Cut another piece of foil and place it on top of it. Use the back of the rectangular tin to put it on top and help you flip it over so it now lays onto the back of the tin. Carefully peel off the foil.

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6. Whip the cream until stiff and spread it all over. Cut the raspberries in half and scatter them over the cream.

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7. Now use the foil to help you roll it over (as if you were making sushi rolls, if you’ve ever made them…),

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Transfer onto another surface to be decorated and that’s it. You can put a bit of cream on top so the berries can stick into place. Enjoy!

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roulade

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Giveaway Winner

Hello all!

That was a pretty intense week! Did you find any new blogs to add to your reading list? I did!

Thank you to all the new followers. I hope you come back often and tell me what you are working on or even link your blog so we can all have a look.

It was nice to read all of your comments, there were 159 in total. There was a comment with a lovely message. This reader liked the snails card and she said it would serve as a reminder to her younger one that reading is not a race. I liked that :-).

Some of you mentioned you would frame the card. I have been thinking of making bigger size quilled cards to frame. I used to do that a looooong time ago, before I knew how to use a sewing machine, and I made a few lovely animal samplers for nursery walls. I will make a few for my own children’s rooms as a trial and I’ll see how it goes.

So without any more delay… the lucky winner of my giveaway is…

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Congratulations CaLynn! I will contact you shortly so you can tell me where I am sending your goodies.

I’ll be hosting more giveaways so everyone will have another chance to win more handmade things. Thank you for stopping by, I think you will all be very busy with the Bloggers Quilt Festival during the next few days, enjoy!

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Sew Mama Sew Giveaway Day!

 

*****This giveaway is now closed.Thank you !!!*****

Hello! Welcome to El Petit Taller and Sew Mama Sew May Giveaway!

My name is Irina, I love sewing and crafting, quilting and knitting and the list goes on and on. I am originally from Barcelona but I have been living in the west of Ireland for a good while. I blog about all my bits and bobs, I have a little Etsy shop where I sell quilts and blankets, baby items, accessories and quilled cards. This list is also increasing…

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I am offering one of my fabric covered notebooks, a card and a bookmark. I hope you can find a good use to all three things. I used Joel Dewberry fabric for the reusable cover, I love these two colours and I think the print is really beautiful. There’s an old vintage wooden button as closure. The notebook inside has ruled pages and you can use a new one of a similar size (A5) when you’re done with this one.

I make the quilled cards and bookmarks with no tools other than my fingers. I roll the strips of coloured papers and shape them to make different animals. I have made a good few new ones lately that you can see at  my Etsy shop.

So what are the rules? Very simple. Everyone in the world is welcome to enter this giveaway. It will be open until Friday 16th at 10pm (Irish time) and I will announce the winner here and in my Facebook page on Saturday 17th.

All you have to do is:

1. Write a comment telling me what would you do with the prize if you win. Will you keep them all, will you send the card to someone… I’d like to know where they might end up!

That’s all, no more rules! But I’d love it if you can have a look around before you go and tell me what you think and maybe decide you can support by becoming a follower here or on Facebook (buttons here on the right side).

Thank you for stopping by and don’t forget to visit Sew Mama Sew to enter more giveaways!

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