30 May 2011

Fabric Flower Tutorials

I'm sometimes asked how I make the fabric flower brooches I sell on my craft stall and had planned to put together a tutorial.  However, rather than re-invent the wheel I decided it was better to post details of where I got my ideas from in the first place. 

The very first design I tried was this one from Pink Paper Peppermints   However, I've experimented with all kinds of different sizes and any fabric from quilting cotton to velvet, they all seem to work with this flower.   The flower in the top photo is a variation of this design, I've just sewn several of them together and added a self cover button.

I also make a lot of 'Kanzashi' folded flowers, which are a little more difficult and required a really good tutorial before I could understand how they worked.  I looked at several. but this one from Bitty Bits and Pieces seemed to be fairly straightforward to follow.  Using these instructions I (eventually) made these.

I love making these little flowers, they are a really great way to use up small scraps of fabric of all kinds (the ones pictured are all made out of curtain lining).  My own additional tips for success would be:

  • When using cotton, always starch the fabric before you start - this makes it nice and crisp looking and easier to fold.
  • Use really strong thread to gather petals and sew them together, this saves you from the frustration of thread breaking halfway through a flower and having to start all over again.
  • Glue AND sew the buttons on - just to be on the safe side!
  • If you use an ordinary two or four holed button, thread it first with some ribbon or embroidery thread for effect.
  • Experiment with lots of different fabrics for different finishes. 

24 May 2011


Well let's see what's been happening since my last post here...

We've had a new addition to the family - meet Ruby the Jack Russell.

with, of course, my lovely daughter...

John's been back to Crete to do some roof repairs which will hopefully cure the leaky bedroom.

He's also done some dry stone walling - love the hat!  But such a shame it's so cold!

He also found a little time to put his feet up in the sunshine.

Unfortunately, it was the worst April Crete has had for years so there wasn't much sunshine...  except for the one week when I joined him!

I've also helped to organise and take part in a charity craft fair at our church and sold lots of my bags, which was a real boost to my confidence, having sold almost nothing at the last fair I did.  I've also sold two bags on Folksy to a now 'regular' customer, who loves my bags - thanks Margaret!

In the next week or so I'm planning to start a new quilt, do a bit of crochet, if I can get hold of some oddments of yarn, make a few more bags and some zipped pouches.  Watch this space for updates and photos!

5 March 2011


This little quilt is designed to be a wall hanging. I love this combination of colours but couldn’t decide what to use for a border. I ‘auditioned’ several options before deciding on a pieced border which incorporated all of them, partly because I like it and partly, I must admit, because I didn’t have enough of any of the fabrics to use for the whole thing and wanted to make it all from my existing stash rather than go out and buy more fabric. I really liked this pattern, which involves using folded squares on top of squares to make the star pattern, rather than sewing together HSTs.

 This is the existing border

 I quite liked some of these but sadly there wasn't enough left of anything

 And this is what I'm going to use, what do you think?

One of the nicest things about making a quilt is the leftovers, which come in handy for small projects. Now what shall I do with this little stack of 3½ inch squares?

We’ve been turned upside down at home with having to replace the main roof on our house. First the scaffolding went up, making it difficult to park on the driveway and then a skip appeared, making parking completely impossible. We live on a busy road and I don’t take my car to work, so it’s been a bit chaotic to say the least. The roof is finally finished now but I came home one day to find a new loft hatch and super-duper loft ladder had appeared on the landing courtesy of hubby! It’s great to be able to get into the loft, but at the moment it’s still awaiting some floorboards, so I can’t get too excited about it. When it’s all finished, we will have to take down all our ‘junk’ out of the extension roof, sort it all out, hopefully dispose of some of it and then transport it up the new ladder into the ‘proper’ loft. Oh what joys to come!

John is just in the process of boarding - thought I'd show you...

I just realised this is my 100th post!  So, in the age old tradition of bloggers everywhere, I have decided to have a giveaway to celebrate. 

This is what I'm going to give to the first person out of the 'hat'.

Velvet crazy patchwork shoulder bag, hand embroidered and beaded.

I may add another gift, which will be a surprise.

In order to have a winning chance you must do three things:
  • Become a follower of this blog and my other blog, From the Yellow House 
  • Leave a comment on this post to tell me you have become a follow of both blogs
  • Post on your own blog about this giveaway and include a link to this blog.
This is open to everyone, at home and abroad.  I'll be drawing the name of the winner on Saturday March 20th, to give people lots of opportunity to take part.

8 February 2011


Halfway through making these blocks I began to wish I hadn't started it.  I'd never attempted such a large quilt with such small star blocks in it.  It was sooo time consuming and very fiddly to get everything lined up properly and sewn together.  It's been a very good test of my patience I'll tell you!  Well the top is all sewn together and now just waiting for me to decide what to use for borders.  I started this with the intention of making it double bed size but chickened out and made a single instead.

For now, I've had enought of star blocks; I really can't wait to do something a little more straightforward instead!

We've had a run of not so good happenings financially in the family lately.  First Em's car broke down on the way to Devon for a few days holiday - as it turns out, the engine had blown up and she has to have a new engine!  Then I reversed into someone getting off my drive, broke the back light in my car and lost two years' no claims into the bargain.  To top it all off, John's van broke down and needed a new starter motor.  All in the space of two weeks - horrendous!!  Just as we are having to replace the roof on our house too - the scaffolding is all up ready for that to happen this week.  Poor old bank account is going to be very much depleted I fear...

On the plus side my job is going well, though I'm still hoping it will become permanent.  I've had one or two interviews but without success so far.  I'm sure something will come along soon, meanwhile we're economising just in case...

15 January 2011

Wooden Owls and Hubby's Painting Commission!

Yes, they are owls!  John came home with these just before Christmas and wondered if they would sell on my next craft stall - what do you think?

He also completed this watercolour painting of Melbourne Market Place for a friend - he was quite pleased with the result - so was the friend.  John is loving his painting classes and it is ensuring he'll have something useful to do when he finally retires, though when that will be I don't know!

8 January 2011


Oh boy, is it great to be back online with a nice shiny new computer!  We decided, with all the price rises etc coming up in January, that it would be a good idea to upgrade a couple of things around the house, my computer and the TV being the oldest (TV 16 years, computer at least 12 years).  So here I am not quite believing this lovely new toy is actually mine!  Can't believe the difference in speed - even the one at work is not this fast!!!

Anyway, enough of that.  I've not been idle since my last posting.  I decided to get into the world of knitting again whilst the winter months were around, especially since it has been so COLD here in Derby.  We've probably not had quite the amount of snow being experienced by some of the UK but I was glad of the grippers I bought to wear on the soles of my walking boots for getting to and from work.  I was pretty glad to get home to a warm house, thankful that the boiler didn't break down, and put my feet up in front of the TV with knitting needles and wool.  Even Hamish, our16 year old cat, turned into an almost permanent house cat for the first time ever and seems to spend all his time either on someone's bed or on a chair with his nose pressed up against the radiator.

So this is what I'm working on at the moment in the sewing room.  I've wanted to do something to use up scraps for a long time but had to wait until I had enough fabric to add to the scraps, not having enough of the scraps to do a whole quilt.  It's going to be a mix of Ohio and Eight Pointed stars with some Friendship Stars and half square triangles to make up the gaps.  So far I've managed to do all of the Ohio Stars and about two thirds of the eight pointed but I think I need a few more colours just to make it more scrappy! 

And here is my knitting effort - a 6 foot long scarf knitted from a jumper I unravelled and recycled.  There's enough wool left to make something else too, I'll show you that next time.  I also bought a skein of hand spun and dyed wool from a fellow craft stall holder in Melbourne, just enough to make myself a hat!

Well I've a bit more to tell but that'll have to wait as I need to venture into town this morning to get my new specs adjusted - its pouring down out there so I'm not really looking forward to it at all.

As I said, thanks for hanging in there, hopefully now I have my new toy I'll be blogging more frequently!