Tuesday, 22 January 2013

The Lust List

Hello, dear readers! 

Today, I bring to you my very first Lust List! This will be a new weekly feature, including everything that I have been lusting over in the creative world since last week! Things I want to buy but can't afford to, things that I want to make but haven't got time to. 


Yellow and Grey Fabric

I have fallen, quite definitley in love with yellow and grey. Add a bit of aqua in there and it's just a feast for the eyes. This is a bundle of four FQ's is £11.45 and is from Fabric Rehab. A website that since discovery, I have looked at multiple times a day. 


Whilst the purple in this fabric isn't quite the bright blue that has got my heart singing, it is still pretty spectacular. I am also loving the geometric patterns at the moment! This is a fabric from a collection by Ellen Luckett Baker, called Quilt Blocks. You can find it on Fabric Rehab here or go to Ellen's blog directly here. This is one that I have ordered... at £1.99 for a FQ I couldn't say no to this! 


I want to make a chevron quilt in yellow, grey, white and aqua. This is a beautiful quilt by The Little Fabric Shop and if you click on that link you'll find the tutorial as well. This tutorial has again, amazed me with the complex look, and the easy solution behind it. (I say easy... but you might not be in a battle with your sewing machine so it might actually be easy for you!) 

Quite a short list this week, I will probably have much longer ones in future... but this week I have actually been doing some uni work so it's probably a good sign that this is quite short!

Have a lovely Tuesday!

Sunday, 20 January 2013

Scrappy Trip Along


 I have spent a lot of time recently looking at pretty quilts on Pinterest and the Internet, and time and time again the instructions would call for a rotary cutter, quilters ruler, and cutting mat. So, ignoring the fact that my hexagon quilt is nowhere near finished, it only made sense to invest in some for myself!

I have always seen Jelly Rolls in sewing shops and always thought 'that seems like a stupid idea'. How wrong I was. Pretty pretty amazing things can be made from them! And when I kept seeing pictures of beautiful geometric shaped quilts on Instagram that were tagged with 'scrappy trip along'... I did some more investigating. This tutorial was so interesting, and made the ridiculously hard looking pattern into something easy... and I even thought I could do it! Oh dear...

Now you may remember when I made my patchwork cushion that I admitted to being terrified of my sewing machine. WELL after a day of cutting out random strips of fabric yesterday, I decided to break out the sewing machine this morning. AND I remembered how to thread the bobbin and the top thread (correct terminology??). 

That's where the successes stopped. 

It has been so long since I  used my sewing machine that I forgot its pretty design on the front! I want to let you know that I didn't really have a clue what I was doing. I was just practising to see what would happen! 

In the pic above, you'll see that I started off my sewing six 2.5" x 16" strips together lengthways. Once that's all done, sew them into a tube lengthways, square off the end and cut this tube into 2.5" smaller tubes that look like this.... 

Scrappy Trip Along

Scrappy Trip Along

Then you just need to be an ultra cool whizz with a seam ripper. 

Scrappy Trip Along

By opening the tubes at different points, you'll end up with....

Scrappy Trip Along
 Yup, at this point i was feeling pretty proud of myself. Then all you need to do is sew the rows together to make a big square. This is where I hit problems. So I understand what an inch is. And with the aid of my patchwork ruler, I could now probably guess about how much 2.5" is. But what the hell is 3/8"?! I know I need a 1/4" seam, and the guide on my sewing machine COULD have helped me out with that, but no. I get a 3/8 mark and on the same line lower down something that says 1/4. You confuse me sewing machine. 

Anyway, I ignored this and carried on regardless... guessing at 1/4". Not a good plan. Sewing the rows together started out okay...

Scrappy Trip Along
Ahhh lovely, see how the squares all match up on the right? I think that's where they stopped matching up.

This is what the end product was...

Scrappy Trip Along

Scrappy Trip Along

Even I can tell that's not right. 

But it hasn't put me off. I have ordered a 1/4" quilting foot, which, I am told, should help out with those pesky seams and 3/8" craziness. 

And just because this isn't perfect, I am still going to keep it, and possibly find a use for it somewhere. It's all a valuable lesson, and one day I will look back on it and laugh. Laugh in the face of sewing machines everywhere! 

If you want to see what a Scrappy Trip Around The World SHOULD look like then look at Katy's blog I'm a Ginger Monkey, go onto the Flickr group for Scrappy Trip Along  or look here.

Or just search it in Google, or Instgram. The serious, and talented quilters are all going a bit crazy for it, and I can see why. 

Until next week, sewing machine. 

 x x x 

Friday, 18 January 2013


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Tuesday, 15 January 2013

The Liberty Book of Home Sewing

If you have already read my latest post, you will already know that due to my crazy, and wonderful love affair with craft books, I am going start a weekly(ish) book review! 

And it only make sense to start with the ones I have actually made something out of so I can tell you how easy the instructions are and show you some outcomes! 

And I makes even more sense to start with this... as it is where I got the inspiration to make my quilt! 

 Now of course, Liberty needs no introduction. I desperately want to go the actual shop, but I am poor and London is so expensive to travel to, so I have had to satisfy my need by looking at this book and some notebooks I got from my uni bookshop for free! (A perk). 

Oh, by the way! I got this in The Works for cheap amounts of money so if you pop along there they might still have some! 

HOWEVER, it comes with a warning. The pages of this book WILL make you lust after their fabric. It will. No question about it. If you're not convinced, then read on with care. And don't blame me. 


Told you. And those are just the opening pictures. 

I thought I would carry on by showing you some of my favourite projects from the book...

 Other than these beautiful projects, the book had tutorials for cushions, curtains, bags and aprons. And more. It is split up into four sections - 'Essentials', 'Organisation', Luxury' and 'Sewing Basics'. 

As you may have seen here and here, I am making something similar to this child's cot quilt. 

Look how beautiful! 

I am quadrupling the size of this cot quilt though. Surprising how all the books I have looked at, they are have SMALL hexagon flower quilts. What have I started... 

Now, I have to admit that I like to skip forward in my projects, especially if they are long ones, to try and see if I think I can actually do it! So once I had sewn some of the flowers together, I tried to lay them out and see how they would fit together. This is where the books was less helpful, it could have done with a diagram. So I have had to use my imagination and other Internet sources to figure it out. 

But saying that, the instructions on how to make the hexagons, and how to sew a flower together, and how to put the quilt together are very clear and helpful. 

Overall, I would say that this is a beautiful book which will make you desperate to get to grips with your sewing machine (eek). But, even though it has a section on how to do some of the techniques, that maybe it not for total beginners to learn how to sew. But that doesn't mean beginners shouldn't buy it. Even just for inspiration it is definitely worth it! I can't wait to try out some more projects. But for now I am LOVING making the quilt.

Have a lovely snowy day! I'm going to warm my hands up on a cup of tea I think! 

x x x x x

New Tradition Alert!

I have decided that due to the obsession I have with craft books... 

Yes, those two bottom shelves are full of them. The worst (best) thing is that this picture doesn't even show all the crafty books I have! Let alone the magazines... 

I'm a sucker for a pretty picture and the dream that one day I might make that! 

So I have decided to do a little review of one book every week(ish) from now on. Because don't you just hate it when you buy something on the Internet, (because Waterstones' stock of craft books is rubbish), you wait with excitement, and it wasn't everything you dreamed of? Well, I loathe it! 

SO... watch this space for my first instalment!

x x x

Tuesday, 8 January 2013

Crafty Pay It Forward

Over on Instagram, I recently notices a LOT of the people I follow posting a picture similar to this one...

This is such a nice idea to spread the crafty love to people we have probably never met before! I have already got my five people, from lots of different corners of the world... but I am now offering another person the chance for me to send them something handmade at some point this year! The only catch being that you must leave me a comment on this post, with your email address and a link to somewhere you have also posted this picture (or make up your own) to show that you are also going to pay it forward. Or you can let me know via Instagram (aejclarke)

I hope you, whoever you may be, have a lot of fun paying it forward! 

Have a great day! 

Rosehip in the Country

I went to Long Melford the other day. I should have taken some picture whilst I was there, but I didn't take my good camera. Forgetful.

Anyway, we happend to come across a really pretty shop called Rosehip. You can look at their shop page here or look at the blog here. Both are beautiful! The girl I spoke to in the shop said that her parents often go over to France and bring back things to sell in their lovely little shop.

Whilst browsing with my few pennies I managed to find some bargains!

The nightlight candle holder was £4, the two little tea cups with candles in were £1 each! There was a sale on, but even at full price I thought these things were really good value. I also really love the flower families game! I picked that up for £2. I love to look through the cards and identify the flowers, and it works the same as Happy Families - a game I remember playing with my grand dad.

So yeah, if you find yourself in that corner of the world, do have a look inside! You can see many more pictures of their shop on the above links!

Abi x

Monday, 7 January 2013


Okay, so I admit it's a bit late, but it's January. Which usually means that people have resolutions. As do I. Not that I am going to call them resolutions because they usually fail. But here they are anyway...

1. Stop being lazy. 

Aaaaand... yup that's it! I realised that all the things I don't like about myself come down to one thing. My Laziness. It's getting out of hand. 

So I am going to go walking. Not massive walks. But if I'm going to eat, I want to earn my food, and actually feel hungry when I do so. So walking, even for 20 mins is helping. (I have just got back from a quick walk around the field and I'm starving.) Being this lazy is also messing up my sleeping. Some nights, because I haven't done anything that day, I just cannot sleep. The next day I am very tired then sleep well that night and that morning, and then can't sleep the next night so IT'S GOT TO CHANGE. 

I have a whole month of waiting to go back to uni so it's the perfect time to make a change. And I probably should get on with my dissertation. Maybe I should only let myself craft if I have done at least an hours research or writing. (I'm no committing to that one just yet).

Anyway, yesterday I was feeling a bit lost in my quilt progress. I kept seeing nice new fabric, but not wanting to make more hexagons because I already have a gazillion...

But then my mum treated me to some new fabric. Because they are pretty. 

So I HAD to make something with them, but hexagon making was not that. And i had a need to finish something...so I give you... a patchwork cushion! 

I used all the Fat Quarters that we bought the day before, and some of the ones that are already going into my quilt and I think it's safe to say I'm rather proud of the outcome! 

I chickened out of using my sewing machine, which still scares me, so I used the same method as I did for the hexagons (English Paper Piecing).

Oooh! And I had someone ask me about a tutorial for English paper piecing... the one I used was from here. This blog is beautiful. I want to make my own tutorial, but... I'm... lazy. SO in light of my new changes, maybe I will make one! 

I'm off to eat lunch. 

Have a lovely day! 

Tuesday, 1 January 2013

Creativity: The Unfinished Story of a Quilt

Ok, so first of all, I have been swamped with performances and essays. Don't shoot me for not being around please! I'm very glad to have some time off (what dissertation?!) and will being trying to do lots of blogging for you all.

When you think about it, everyone starts off in life being creative don't they? Not that I'm an expert, but I'd be willing to bet 20p on the fact that most children love playing around with paint on their hands to make some pretty amazing art work.

My creativity has been constantly changing throughout my life, and I'm loving it.

I adored arty things when I was little. Finger painting, and colouring books were my idea of heaven. Especially when I would colour in a page of a colouring book and hand it to my grandad to mark out of ten.

I have always loved drama and the performing though. It was easier when I was little and had many many less inhibitions, but it is still something I love. (You would hope so, seeing as I'm doing a degree in it). My family were made to sit through many hours of plays I had made up.

So after a brief love affair with drawing, Hama beads, singing, thinking about playing the guitar and never getting there, paint (the computer programme), paint by numbers, story writing, knitting, and lots and lots of other things, I had never really found my niche. So I carried on with my drama and theatre and for a while it was all I had creatively.

Then someone taught me how to knit properly. And I got a bit carried away with all the pretty coloured yarns and I quickly learnt how to do lots of clever things like increasing and decreasing, intarsia and cabling. I felt like I couldn't be stopped and I loved it. I even got caught knitting in bed a few times. That never really ended up well.

From there, I saw someone with a rather spiffing crochet granny square scarf and my news years resolution that year was to make one of those just the same. I never got round to making the scarf, but that year I did make a whole crocheted blanket. Yes, it may be badly made and falling apart now, but whatever, it's a blanket and a big achievement.

Since then, things have been going crazy. I admire most crafts, as long as they have a bit of modern style injected into them. This year I have learnt to cross stitch and even done some lino printing.

My New Years resolution this year is to finish my quilt and use it in my new house which is much more likely to be a tiny flat which I don't own yet and don't even nearly have the means to acquire but... I never achieved anything by not wanting and wishing it first.

Oh yeah... I started making a quilt. It will take a LONG time. I am English paper piecing a hexagon flower patchwork quilt. It is going to take about 2000 hexagons to make it double bed sized. But I already know its going to be worth the time and effort.

And because I am wishing so hard to be with my lovely OH in our own home. I guess you could say this quilt is just a tiny bit of that dream coming true early.

Wow this wasn't supposed to be a lengthy, wordy post. Just an update as to what I have been up to other than stupid degree work. But I am writing this on New Year's Day and you can't help getting a bit soppy can you?