Exciting!!  Some time ago I was invited to take part in the Hillarys Craft Competition again! I took part last year too – you can read about my entry here.

First you have to select your fabric, I chose the Daisy Pistachio, It was quite hard to decide what to make as I really wanted to incorporate the reverse side into my design. I spent quite a while thinking about what would be useful at this time of year, ie summer! I really love taking lunch out into the countryside but one thing which always bothers me is having to eat lunch on dirty picnic tables and how to keep crisps from blowing away and fruit from rolling away on our typical British summer day and our ‘rustic’ ie wobbly countryside picnic tables!

Daisy fabric

My daisy fabricIt’s a very silky, tactile fabric and the reverse side is pretty cool too!

Daisy fabric

The reverse side of the Daisy Pistachio fabric choice











So here is my idea using some hessian I already had!   I have made picnic mats for me and my husband and think I can get about 3 or 4 more out of the Daisy fabric, just need more hessian or any similar fabric

Picnic mat

Finished Picnic Mat!

I cut two pieces of hessian to make fairly large sized placemats. The size is completely up to whatever you feel is right for you and your family.

I thought the reverse side would make a good pocket for the cutlery !

Fabric Pocket for picnic mat

Pocket pinned and waiting to be sewed in position

To get round the food blowing/rolling away idea I made a fabric bowl from an idea from my Patchwork class teacher.  It’s a very simple and quick way to make a pretty fabric container.








You put a large circular object on your fabric and draw round it.  I used the lid of my sewing box!

Circle template for fabric

Lid of my sewing box

Fabric bowl being made

Gathering the sides of the bowl up with tacking stitches









You can line the bowl and even use interfacing to stiffen the fabric but with this fabric there was no need to interface and I wanted the cool lining on show!

A quick round of large tacking stitches are sewn round the edge of the fabric and then drawn up (like you do with curtains) and it magically brings up the circle into a bowl shape!I     To keep the shape and size I pinned the gathers and then cut a 4inch strip of the fabric to bind the top.  As it is a curved edge to bind I cut the fabric at a 45 degree angle using my 6×12 inch ruler.  If you are unsure about binding there are so many tutorials to google I haven’t gone into detail for this bit.

You do need to keep the gathers in place with pins or clips whilst you get the binding into position.

Binding fabric

Wonder clips are great for keeping thick fabric in place instead of pins!


Place the two pieces of hessian right sides together with the cutlery pocket and bowl in the middle

Place the two pieces of hessian right sides together with the cutlery pocket and bowl in the middle

Completing the mat is just like any other two sided mat or table runner – place right sides together and sew all round the edges and then turn right sides out through the little gap you remembered to leave on one side! I left about a 6 inch gap to ensure I could get the bowl through!


If you want to make a tie for keeping the mat neatly rolled up then make this from a 3 or 4 inch wide strip of fabric.  Folding each side into the middle and then folding the whole thing in half lengthwise so that there are no raw edges on show.   Sew it lengthwise and then  fold it in half and  insert it between  the two pieces of hessian at the side of the bowl.  The folded edge goes in the seam with the two lengths of the tie laying towards the middle of the mat.

Making bias binding

Folding the 3 inch strip sides inwards then in half lengthwise to make a tie strip.  No need to iron it with this pliable fabric!

If everything has worked you should have a two sided mat sewn together with your cutlery pocket and bowl on the top and you ties at one side!

Picnic mat and cutlery!

Picnic mat ready for use – no need to get your lunch near that messy table!


Picnic mat on table

Ready for lunch!

Picnic mat

Finished Picnic Mat!







Picnic mat food bowl

The bowl

Picnic mat

Squashing the bowl prior to rolling up the mat!

Rolled up picnic mat

Rolled up with cutlery and bowl inside

Nifty eh? 😃

All I need now is some warm weather!

To check out the other entries either click the Hillarys Craft Competition link or go to Pinterest and check out the board!


Abakhan Secret Sale and an E Course!

The Abakhan Secret Sale! Wow!  I am so lucky as I live in the middle of 4 Abakhans!  Chester, Mostyn, Birkenhead and Liverpool!  Yesterday was the much advertised ‘secret’ sale at the Mostyn branch.  I have been really hoping I would be able to walk enough to get round the fabric shops again and although I can’t go for long without pain I am so much better than I was two week’s ago!

Being a lucky golden ticket holder I, and a friend, were  able to access the sale at 10am (an hour early) after having a complementary bacon batch and coffee in the café.  We didn’t rush off at 10 although as other golden ticket holders were getting moving we didn’t dawdle over the coffees too long!  There’s something about a sale which makes you feel like you’re missing out if you don’t get in there quick and get rooting!

We weren’t disappointed – there was plenty of fabric and yarn and some ex-display items to purchase, like wool holders.  My favourite place was the ex-display hanging upholstery fabrics  which were £1 a hanger, and the big box of cut- offs which was ‘fill a bag for £10!

cream,red, fabric with leaves on

the red leaf upholstery fabric

red, brown and cream fabric

the red shades


purple fabric

Purple shades!

pirple fabric

the purple shades


rainbow of fabric shades

Folk Collection – love all these shades for patchwork!


small coloured pieces in varying fabrics – ‘Folk Collection’

I managed to get loads in my £10 bag and found some useful pieces like this cotton with sweetie jars on it!

fabric with pink sweetie jars on

Sweetie-jars fabric


other fabrics from the ‘fill a bag’ box

So, as you can see I have plenty of fabric to keep me busy!  It’s not like I don’t have a big enough stash already, I just couldn’t help myself when the prices were so low.  We were very lucky to be the early ones in though as when we left to go and recover in the café there was a queue right round the whole site!

It’s definitely worth keeping a look out for the next one and registering interest for a discount ticket.  We had 15% discount to spend outside of the sale as well.  Finally at around 3pm we bought some more drinks, had our complementary chocolate pudding and went home!

Fabric shopping, coffee, chocolate and a day out with a friend – what a lovely weekend!  Sorry if I’ve overdone it about going out but after months of pain and limited mobility it was wonderful and worth it even though I limped round the last bit and back to the car!

As well as going to have my days filled with lots of sewing in the near future  I’m doing the Create and thrive e-course which Vicky recommended to us a couple of week’s ago!  I Think the lack of constant pain has gone to my head and I can’t stop wanting to do stuff!  So far the course is really making me think about Patchwork Fairy and how I want things to eventually progress.  It’s a 30 day course and we’ve only had 7 days yet so I am excited to see where it takes me…

Anyhoo – time to link up with Handmade Monday again at Lucy Blossom Crafts – wonder if any of the Handmade Mondayers were at Mostyn? Do let me know if you were!

Recovering and Inspiration from Flowers!

Well I can not quite believe it but I can actually stand up straight and walk upright again! Yes I went into hospital a week ago – (HAPPY FRIDAY!) –  for the injections under sedation and so far they seem to have made a good improvement to my pain levels!  Gone is the excruciating electric shock pain in my leg which is so debilitating, and in its place is a low backache and hip-ache, which, is normal at this point, and should improve as time goes on, although it’s not guaranteed.

I am so happy to be better I haven’t been able to keep from trying out a little time in the sewing room although I am trying to be sensible and not do too much too quick.

This is what I have started to make, two small lap quilts for my grandsons which I will back with fleece.

Max's quilt!

Max’s quilt!

Some of max's favourite characters!

Some of max’s favourite characters!

As you can see, at nearly 8, the elder grandson is into Sonic the Hedgehog and Mario (as well as Minecraft but I don’t know how I’d do that!). I won’t be selling anything like this as the images are copyrighted, I am just cutting them out and sewing into the family gifts!

It’s not as neat as it could be as I probably should have waited till I was a little for comfortable before beginning!  I did feel though that I couldn’t start the crib quilt for my new expected granddaughter without giving the boys something first!

Here’s what I will be working on next:

pinks and creams colours in fabrics

pink and cream fat quarters

Lovely pinks – fat quarters from Create and Craft – I do enjoy the sewing and patchwork shows but you do have to be strong and resist buying everything!

As well as sewing quilt for the children I was very inspired by the colours of some flowers I received for Mothers’ Day and have managed to select some cotton yarn which I hope I can make into a delicate blanket for the new baby as she is due in July so cotton will be quite appropriate.

pale pink and cream rose

Vintage rose from boquet

Here are the cottons I have selected:

drops cotton balls

cotton yarn in vintage rose colours

The cotton in the picture is a little lighter than in reality but not too much so is quite a good match.  This will keep me going as soon as I have finished the Simply Crochet Poncho – I will not let myself start anything before that is complete or it will be too hot to wear it!!

I will now be popping over to Planet Penny Happy Friday and Handmade Monday to see what else has been going on while I was away!

Sewing Machine Appliqué

Not done a lot this week so thought I’d show you how I used the digital download of a sewing machine which I bought from Wendy’s  Handmade Harbour a few months ago! I made two sewing machine appliqué for two machines.

Embellishing Machine

Embellishing Machine

I had great fun copying the images onto felt then sewing on the little details using some of the array of stitches which normally I never use! The little patchwork quilts are made from Liberty Tana Lawn scraps!

Sewing machine cover

Sewing machine cover

so that’s it for now – over to Handmade Monday to see what’s going on in the crafting world!


Penrose Tiling!

Penrose tiling – what on earth has that got to do with crafting you may ask?!  Well DH recently bought me a quilting book called Geometrical Quilts by Pat Store which is full of quilts all based on – you guessed it! – geometrical patterns!  They are all beautiful but some are more complicated to make than others.  So while I am going to my weekly patchwork class but not able to carry heavy things like a cutting board and templates etc,  I thought I would try one of the quilts which is based on English Paper Piecing (EPP) method.

My choice was the Penrose Tiling quilt – the book describes this as “two differently shaped diamonds (36 and 72 degrees) to make tesselating shapes based on a regular pentagon or decadon which do not otherwise tessellate”  [Storey In practice this has meant drawing lots of paper diamonds and covering them with fabric in the traditional EPP technique

cutting out paper diamonds and covering them with fabric

covering the paper shapes

Of course before I started I had to choose my fabrics and plan out which colours would go where in the design.   I chose a fat quarter pack of various shades of purple as well as the lovely green batik fabric from my stash!   I chose these as there is a photograph in the book of a quilt which I really liked and so I have based my design on this.

pueple and green fabric diamonds

arranging the shapes to build up the layers

fabric and paper diamond shapes

trying to get the pattern right!

It’s quite hard working out how all the diamonds fit together and deciding which fabric to use for each round of shapes.  At each round I have to keep trying out the pattern!

purple and green fabric diamnonds

arranging all the layers

So although this Penrose tiling is quite complicated and tiring it is a good project for when you can’t walk/carry/machine sew any much at all. (Boo sciatica – how I loathe thee!)   This as far as I have got at the moment but I really  hope to show you the progress to a mini quilt over the next couple of weeks!

Now I am going to link up with Handmade Monday as usual but over on it’s new home at Lucy Blossom Crafts  Thank you to Vicky for taking over the hosting!

Artist Trading Card Swap -“Getting Away From it All”

It is that time again!  Time for the latest Artist Trading Card (ATC) swap organised again by Ali from VeryBerry Handmade! The theme was “Getting Away From it All”.

This is my second swap and I really enjoy participating in these swaps.  It’s not only the pleasure of receiving a card but also the fun of making one! There is always a theme and the cards must be 2.5 x 3.5 inches and predominantly textile.  As  long as you abide by those specifications you can interpret the theme any way you like!

When I signed up for the swap I wasn’t suffering from this awful sciatica and so it’s proved just a little bit more difficult to complete this time as I have been unable to sit at my sewing machine or stand at my designing/cutting table to start the process.

Finally, on the last day of the posting week I finished my creation and managed to sit at the machine long enough to use the embroidery function to sew the details on the reverse of the card. – This saved me a lot of hand sewing or having to obtain a permanent marker to write on fabric!

It actually took me ages to decide how to represent the theme and a few false starts as well! Then suddenly the idea came to me  as I was taking one of my ‘standing in my sewing room looking out of the window moments’  (which I do frequently as I can’t do anything else in there!) – Glastonbury!

I have spent many happy days in Glastonbury and at one time used to go 3 or 4 times a year with friends for a mini break.  Sadly we are all in varying states of ill health or commitments elsewhere and the trips have not been possible recently.  How I miss those times sitting on the Tor with good friends, united in the sacred peace of the place, the meditations we did, the walks around the area, the trip at twilight to feel and see the beauty of the landscape in the fading light, and the joy of a cup of shared mead in the darkness that  quickly surrounded us.  In those visits I really did feel I was getting away from it all and the return to the mundane life and work a few days later felt very strange.

So here is my ATC!

textile picture of Glastonbury Tor

My ATC – NightFall in Avalon


Reverse of textile card

Reverse of ATC

I loved making this!  I used some fabric paint to create the stars as the area around Glastonbury is remarkable for the way the stars are visible – much as  they always were when I was young and there was less light pollution around. If you’ve ever seen this when out in the countryside away from street lamps you’ll appreciate what I mean.

Anyway that was my ATC – now sent off to it’s new home in Scotland!  We all send a card to one person – but receive one from a different person – and it’s a secret swap until the cards are sent!  so next week I’ll show you the ATC I have been sent!

As usual I am linking up with Handmade Monday for a pleasant read about others’ crafty weeks!

Rag Quilt and Crochet Bag

Well after a lot of thinking I decided my crochet circle would be a bag!  However it isn’t really looking like one and is more like a sombrero!  I am following an Attic 24 pattern so it should turn out ok but I am wondering if floppy cotton was not the right yarn as the original pattern is in merino. Oh well – perhaps an interfaced fabric lining will be required to give it some form!

crochet bag in cotton yarn

bag base and 12 rows on

The other thing I decided to make this week was a quilt for me to take on holiday in a couple of weeks – it’s using up lots of the stash I recently received and as it’s a rag quilt it was fairly easy to make compared with  making a quilt top and then quilting it to a base.

I made some quilt ‘sandwiches’ first, then quilted each ‘sandwich’ with a cross of stitching. These were then sewed together in long lines and then the lines joined up – all had a half inch seam allowance for fraying later.

floral fabric and cotton wadding

quilt sandwich showing the wadding / batting

quilting yellow floral fabric

diagonal stitching to quilt the ‘sandwiches’

quilting purple fabric quilt

using the walking foot to quilt the edges

After sewing all the quilted squares together I made some long sashing strips in bright purple and made long rectangular ‘sandwiches’ to sew right round each edge.  I quilted these separately with  long diagonal lines and then finally a line right round the egde of the quilt leaving a half an inch seam allowance for fraying.

The hardest part if snipping all the seams for the fraying but it’s worth is when you take the quilt out of the tumble drier and it’s all soft and lovely!  It’ll certainly keep me cosy of the cross channel ferry!


pastel shades of floral fabric rag quilt

finished quilt

I’m rather late for Handmade Monday as I was at a Boyzone concert in beautiful  Delamere forest yesterday but that’s another story!

Boyzone in Delamere Forest

Boyzone in Delamere Forest

Photo Cushion

I mentioned last week that I was making a photo cushion for a special occasion! Well it was my Uncle’s 80th birthday!   His actual birthday was a couple of week’s ago but as the ‘girls’ in the extended family usually go to see my aunty and uncle in the summer we were combining this trip with the special birthday.

We set off Saturday morning, stopping on the way for a picnic at the Cannock Chase which was a very good stop over with picnic tables, café and park and lovely summer solstice weather.

I had booked 3 rooms in a  Hotel in Tamworth for Saturday night.  This meant we could get up and enjoy a freshly prepared breakfast on Sunday before driving the last 50 minutes to the restaurant for the birthday lunch.  Sadly my oldest grandson was awake at 5.30am and so then we were we all soon wide awake as well! This is after being allowed to stay up late the night before in the hope of a lie-in – no such luck though !

We had a good pub meal on the Saturday night – my youngest grandson was well behaved waiting for the meal as spent the time covering himself in stickers !  Here he is enjoying his pudding!

Pudding and Stickers!

Pudding and Stickers!

The birthday lunch was another yummy meal – a carvery and very good too, followed by crème brulee!   Gosh I was full.  The boys enjoyed entertaining the relatives with their silly antics and best of all my uncle loved his present!

So here is the cushion I made for his birthday present!   Thank you to Wendy for the idea in her post here a couple of Handmade Monday’s ago!

patchwork photo cushion

80th Birthday Cushion

The birthday balloon picture was taken at another birthday obviously but seemed very apt for the cushion.

So now over to handmade Monday and hope you all had a lovely summer solstice!


photo cushion
80th Birthday Cushion Reverse side with hidden zip

Finishing WiPs! – Pixie Coat!

I have been on a roll this week as I finished two WiPs!!  (Only about another 7 to go 🙂  ) Firstly I just had to show off my finished Pixie Coat.  My friend was delighted with it and asked me to upload it to facebook so if you want to see all the pics pop over to my page, The Patchwork Fairy.    But here are some anyway!

pixie coat

Kate posing in her coat!








Then we have me showing how it fans out from the back!

back view of pixie coat

me showing the twirl factor !









I put some felt applique flowers on the back which I sewed over free form embroidery style.  On the front I needle felted a penguin as Kate loves penguins and collects penguiny things!

needle felted red penguin

Needle Felted Penguin









The children at the nursery where Kate works are going to get quite a surprise when she walks in tomorrow!

I am very pleased with the coat, it was the third one I have made. Not all of the jumpers felted properly but as they were my friend’s late Aunty’s  jumpers which I specifically wanted to use for her I went ahead and it’s worked out ok I think! Whilst I would answer any questions about making the coats I am not going to write a tutorial as it wouldn’t be fair to Katwise who is the originator of the coats. So, if anyone fancies making a coat from upcycled jumpers I would recommend buying the Katwise tutorial – it’s a very entertaining read as well as informative!

My other finish this week was a picnic blanket and matching bag.  The stash I recently inherited contained a fabric sample book like you see in a curtain shop.  It was full of rectangles of what looks like 1960s/70s fabric – it has the information sheet intact with a house all done out in the fabric!  It’s not what  wanted for my house but it is great for outside so I carefully pulled all the samples out of the book, washed and ironed them all and then sewed them into a patchwork mat.  There was one large piece which was at the front of the book which has made a great bag for carrying it in.

picnic mat
picnic mat
waterproof backing on mat

waterproof backing on mat

matching bag with matching lining
matching bag with matching lining


folded picnic mat showing waterproof backing

folded picnic mat showing waterproof backing










I can’t take credit for the waterproof backing idea as it’s a shower curtain and I read about this idea on Vicky Myers’ blog!  It’s a very quick and easy way to damp-proof your mat!  I even lined the bag with the curtain too so when the mat goes back in dirty I can wipe the bag clean easily!













That’s all for this week!  As usual I am off to Handmade Monday!  See you there? x

Pixie Coat

So was I productive in May?  Well I was in my head 🙂  I have far more ideas buzzing round than actual projects being completed!

I mainly worked on my latest pixie coat this month.  It’s the third one I have made and the first in a year as my overlocker has only just come back from being fixed.

This is the last stages of the coat – just the front ties to sew onto the body now and then add some embellishments!

pixie-coat from recycled wool sweaters

pixie coat almost finished!

It’s not easy to find pure wool sweaters for these coats which will felt up properly. Many wool sweaters are treated to stop them shrinking and felting – great for normal wash days but not for recyclers!!  The sweaters for this coat came mainly from my BFF who’s aunty had died.  She passed on the sweaters for me for my stash as she knows I recycle them but I decided to make a special coat for her which will be a lovely keepsake (I hope!).   She has admired my other pixie coats and so I really hope she likes her present.

pixie coat from recycled wool sweaters

hood on pixie coat

I made my Pixie coats from the Katwise tutorial – she is the inspiration for these coats.  I think it’s much cheaper to get sweaters in US dollar stores than in our UK charity shops though unfortunately for me!

The other main thing I have completed this month is my entry for the ‘Make it your own’ clutch bag competition.  Here is my 70s inspired bag.  (This was the last decade when I could actually have a bag that small and went on nights out!)

brown and range clutch bag

bag with my seventies beads!

The competition was run by Deby  at Sew So Easy and you can read my post about making the bag here.  Please think about popping over to her blog and adding a vote for me using the link below!




inside of clutch bag orange floral lining
handy pocket for essentials!

 Linking up with Handmade Monday and Fresh Sewing Day and Small Blog Meet at Lily’s Quilts