Saturday 31 December 2011

Goodbye 2011

One of the great things about writing a blog is that you can look back over the year with relative ease and remember exactly what you got up to over the last 12 months. My blog reveals that 2011 has been filled with sewing, great big boxes of new fabric, finding new sources of inspiration and rambling on about stuff that seemed important at the time.

Personally though, a number of things stand out for me; the endless summer holidays and our annual trip to France, my youngest starting school, meeting lovely blog friends for the first time, and a new addition to our family, Meg.

no Mallards were hurt in this photo

For me though, 2011 will be the year that I finally gave up my day job. Leaving me free to work on M is for make, pick my kids up from school every day (I'm sure the novelty will wear off soon) and finally take a break from the exhausting juggling act of the last few years. It's hard to explain how important this decision has been to me and my family, which is maybe why I haven't written about it sooner. But there it is, a wonderful and happy end to 2011 for me.

I hope to have more time to sew, write and find exciting new fabric for you in 2012. What will it bring for you?

Happy New Year to you all,


Friday 30 December 2011

Even happier sale

Incase the part 1 of the sale, didn't make you happy enough, hopefully part 2 will make you even happier!

If you use the code 'happier' at the checkout between now and 3rd January 9pm GMT and you will receive 15% off all orders over £15. Enjoy!

Thursday 29 December 2011

Circa 52 now at M is for make

New in at M is for make, Circa 52 by Birch Fabrics

Which is your favourite?

The sale - part 1

Sale time! Enter the code 'happy' at the checkout between now and 3rd January 9pm GMT and you will recieve a further 20% off all sale items. I'll keep you posted on part 2.

Thursday 22 December 2011

Under the Christmas Tree...

Under our Christmas tree: presents and a cat sleeping on a bed not intended for her. We have a new arrival expected after Christmas, who was the intended recipient of this bed lovingly made from an old duvet and some Ikea fabric. However (and I think I knew this would happen) our cat has claimed it as her own, so I shall be making another one shortly, I am powerless to deny her. Especially as the new arrival will rock her world.

We are all feeling a bit screamy with excitement about the new arrival and I don't want to say too much for fear of jinxing it, but here is a hint: she also has 4 paws, but floppy ears.

I hope your Christmas preparations are going swimmingly, and as I'm not sure when I will next get the chance to blog, I wish you a happy, happy Christmas full of love, food, presents and maybe a little snoozing on the sofa. (That's what I have wished for anyway).


Tuesday 20 December 2011

New flannels in stock

I have some gorgeous new Loulouthi flannels in stock, you can find them here.

They have inspired me to think about making a quilt to snuggle under as they are extremely cozy. I've been playing around with ideas, my favourite being far too complicated so am trying to tone it down to something a little more manageable for a quilting novice like me!

 Mission impossible

 Mission more possible if not so exciting

Saturday 17 December 2011

A collection of craft

Here's a collection of Christmas craft you might like to try over the holidays. First up is my latest post for the Boden blog on how to make a Christmas wreath. This was great fun, I made it using Lotta Jansdotter fabric and some felt flowers.

I also want to make a festive version of this paper garland (again from Boden) to hang around our tree using some plain silver card.

I found these brilliant cut and and colour nativity figures via Jessica Jones' How About Orange blog. You may recognise the name, Jessica is the designer behind the popular Outside Oslo collection. Her blog is a great resource for craft, design, all sorts of brilliant stuff, well worth following. You can print up a colour version or a black and white one for colouring in, which is what I did. Both my kids loved playing with these and did raise a few smiles from me when they were re-inacting the story. Made trickier by the fact my perfectionist daughter decided her first Mary wasn't coloured in well enough, leaving her with 2 Marys in her nativity scene.

Another paper garland, and again from How About Orange, how cool are these woven balls? I really want to make these.

Last Christmas (and I feel a little sad to think that this time last year we were stuck in because of the snow) we were gripped by making paper snowflakes. If you want templates for normal snowflakes, have a look at here.

I've been meaning to make these decorations from the Poppy Talk blog since before last Christmas and we finally got round to it a few weeks back. 

Fimo (a modelling clay that you can harden in the oven) is pretty expensive, but as you roll it quite thin, you can a lot of decorations from a block. We used pearlised and glitter Fimo and then pushed stamps into them before baking them. Very easy and fun.

And finally, how amazing are these decorations made from old lightbulbs from Anna Maria Horner's blog?

Tuesday 13 December 2011

Your dressmaking heros

After thinking about sewing books and Christmas and having a look at my bookshelf, I'd love to know what you consider to be the sewing bible.

I have a whole host of sewing books, but I have never had one recommended to me as the book I should own, especially for dressmaking. Is there a book that your mum (or dad) owned had that you now have a copy of?

Also with so many amazing bloggers around, which is your definitive blog when thinking about dressmaking or quilting?

Let me know what you think! Looking forward to your suggestions,


Saturday 10 December 2011

Quilt Inspiration

my unfinished quilt

My mind has turned back to quilting lately. My quilt, that I started so long ago, still sits patiently waiting to be finished. I almost wonder if I have left it too long too pick up again, but I know I must finish it. Not least of all because I have promised it to a certain little person in my life. 

So many lovely new fabrics have come in since starting it that I would love to use. In particular I am desperate to make a quilt from these flannels as I have some new ones on the way. There is a danger I will start my next quilt before finishing this one.

I have also been wasting a lot bit of time obsessing over researching other people's quilts on Pinterest. How cute is this fox?

I've always struggled a bit with putting colours together. I was really lucky at school that in art we did a lot of textiles, in particular  lino-cutting and batik. I used to adore those lessons. I loved creating the pattern design, cutting out the lino, printing, dying the fabric, painting on the wax and ultimately ironing it all off again. I felt like it was a badge of honour having multicoloured hands dyed by the ink.

But the bit I always struggled with was putting different colours together and I remember going back to the teacher each time and asking her what colour to dye next. So I do marvel at these quilts which effortlessly put together a host of colours (although I appreciate that people probably wouldn't pin less successful quilts on Pinterest).

hand quilting

I also love the idea of hand quilting, and would like to use it in my current or next quilt.

And I think my next quilt will have to include some triangles, I love this simplicity of these quilts.

Although I probably wouldn't use one to replace the windows in my house, I think it may contravene local planning regulations.

One quilt that I keep coming back to is this one, it appears so unstructured which I love. But I wonder if it really has been thrown together. I don't think it would work in flannel, so maybe I can make it quilt number 3? Once I have got round to finishing 1 and 2 first of course.

 I love thee, quilt

And lastly, the in-another-league-of-awesomeness-quilt by Katy, I can't believe that it actually exists, but look here it is, casually strewn on an actual fence in the actual outdoors. What if it went near some mud? makes me feel a bit panicky just thinking about it.


Friday 9 December 2011

Taali by Monaluna is here!

So excited to share this new collection with you, Anika was extremely popular, and I think the prints in Taali are just as wonderful - which is your favourite? I think mine might be Hill and Dale, but it is hard to choose.

Wednesday 7 December 2011

Christmas presents at M is for make

So after my last post with sewing book ideas, here are some more Christmas present suggestions from M is for make.

Perfect for someone wanting to venture into dressmaking for the first time are the beginner patterns from Colette patterns. These have been hugely popular and from my own experience I have found the instructions wonderfully easy to follow, allowing me to tackle things like buttonholes without having a complete panic. (I usually like to incorporate a complete panic into all my sewing projects).

For a more advanced dressmaker, then a Japanese pattern book would make a great present. I enjoy just looking through these, the photography is simple and beautiful. Once you have ventured into the world of Japanese pattern books, there is no going back.

Clothes patterns AND Siamese cats - what could be better?

If you want to buy fabric as a gift but are unsure what to get, try a coordinated bundle like the Enchanted Wood bundle, the fat 16th bundles make perfect bite-sized presents.

And don't forget there are some amazing bargains in the SALE section at M is for make. There are some beautiful fabrics and patterns here as I make space for some up and coming collections at the end of this year.

So how is your Christmas shopping going?

Monday 5 December 2011

Christmas book ideas

Just incase you were searching for ideas of what to buy the keen sewer in your life, I have collected together some lovely books from Amazon that I think would make magnificent presents.

A must buy is The Colette Sewing Handbook by Sarai Mitnick. In the book, Sarai (the creator of Colette Patterns) covers sewing techniques; planning and fitting; working with patterns, fabrics and linings; and, finishing techniques. It includes 5 beautiful projects with tissue paper patterns.

Oliver + S Little Things to Sew features 20 accessories and other small sewing projects to make for children from Oliver + S creator Liesl Gibson. I adore the Little Red Riding Hood cape and penguin backpack.

Pip Lincolne from the hugely popular blog Meet Me at Mike's has brought out a new book; Make Hey! while the sun shines. It is a mix of all different kinds of craft; sewing, knitting, crochet as well as recipes. It is beautiful to look at - yes I do judge a book by it's cover.

Perfect for someone who dreams of one day designing their own fabric, Kim Kight (from one of my favourite blogs; True Up) has written A Field Guide to Fabric Design. The book covers design and colour basics to creating repeat patterns, screen-printing tips, and eventually selling your own designs.

Print and Pattern 2 is full of heavenly prints and patterns (as you might expect) a perfect gift for those who like me follow the Print and Pattern blog. I am expecting this book for Christmas!

Any finally, this glorious book Decorate co-written by Decor8 blogger Holly Becker. I think this book might just find it's way onto my Christmas list too.

Hope you found these helpful, next up some present ideas from M is for make!

Winner of the Peacock Lane give-away

Thanks so much for your entries and lovely memories, they reminded me of some much cherished childhood presents too.

I have a poorly child for company today, so I shall keep it brief, the winner is... Ceri who said...

"My best and most memorable Christmas present was a dolls house. I usually got my presents in my bedroom but the dolls house was downstairs. I can remember standing at the top of the stairs after opening all my pressies, thinking that was it, and through the darkness seeing the shadowy outline of the dolls house in the hallway below. It was the most thrilling moment. I'll never forget it!"

 What a beautiful memory, congratulations Ceri, please do get in touch with your address.