Tuesday, 31 December 2013

Goodbye 2013!

Well, that's another year done!

Quilts of 2013
2013 Finished Quilts
My 2013 has been eventful, joyous, sad, fulfilling, busy, treasured.  Just the way a year being lived to the full should be!

I'm sure we would all prefer to have a year full of the highs, successes and things that make us happy. But then that's not real life, is it!  To not have the lows, the sorrows, the failures, is to miss out on opportunities to grow, to learn, to mature.

And standing on the precipice of a new year, can be exciting, full of hope, or perhaps a little scary! Not everyone enjoys new beginnings or ventures into the unknown.

For me, I think 2014 will be a year of change. But I'm going to try my best to embrace those changes and not to look back with longing for the things that have gone.

I don't make new years resolutions, (I know my limits!) but I will endeavour to see this year as one full of hope, opportunities, and new beginnings. It won't always be easy, and just like any other year, it will have its ups and downs. But then that's living isn't it!

And here's one great way to see in the new year!

Fabric Yard are having a SALE!!  Woohoo!

Check out Alice's gorgeous range of sale fabrics, and UK peeps can enjoy the £1 flat rate shipping too!

Here are a few of my favs from the sale section.

Fabric Yard Sale Jan14

Enjoy your New Year's celebrations! See you next year!


Friday, 27 December 2013


Secret Santa is tradition in Brit Bee! 

I love all the excitement & chatter about what we're going to make each year, eagerly anticipating our allocated 'secret' partner and then deciding what we think they will like! 

This year we went with a cushion swap, and we could choose whether we wanted a Christmassy or regular one.

Just before Christmas, I received this stunningly beautiful Cathedral Windows cushion, perfectly crafted and exactly what I wanted!

Brit Bee Secret Santa cushion swap Dec13 002

A huge thank you to my very own Southern Santa, for spending so much time hand and machine stitching this beauty together.

Brit Bee Secret Santa cushion swap Dec13 001
It goes perfectly in my lounge!
And the one I made?

Brit Bee Secret Santa Cushion for Susan Dec13

One 20" cushion, 2 Christmas baubles! It was my absolute pleasure to make for Susan, who said she would like a Christmas cushion. 

Brit Bee Secret Santa Cushion for Susan Dec13

I found my inspiration from here, but had no pattern to work from, so did a quick drawing of some bauble type shapes and voila!

I've a couple more secret makes in the pipeline; must get cracking on those soon!

Hope you were all safe through the UK storm!


Thursday, 26 December 2013

Winners all round!

Firstly, let me announce the winner of my blogiversary giveaway.

And Moira was the last qualifying person to comment, lucky number 47!  Congrats Moira and Happy Christmas!!  6 half metres of Pearl Bracelets will soon be on their way to you!

I hope you all had a lovely Christmas day yesterday, whatever way you were or weren't celebrating!

The Hollies girls had a great day, laughing & chilling with family & eating way too much!

Christmas '13
Yes I did get my hair all chopped off!!
Thankfully all the homemade gifts went down well!

Christmas '13

Christmas '13

And I got some lovely gifts from friends and family too!  Thank you especially for the beautiful handmade gifts, including my Brit Bee Secret Santa cushion, which I'll show you tomorrow!

Storm round 2 is hitting in here with a vengeance! So it's batten down the hatches & snuggle round the log fire with a steady stream of movies & nibbles!

Have a great Boxing Day!


Monday, 23 December 2013

Pure Joy!

Click here to enter my Pearl Bracelets blogiversary giveaway.  Giveaway closes 26th Dec.

While we are surrounded at this time of year by songs and messages of good will and great joy, for some Christmas isn't so easy!

This is my first Christmas in 23 years as a single person.  But I was reminded yesterday how much I have to be thankful for and how possible it is to be joyful!

You see joy is so much more than fizzy emotions! Joy is a choice! Often a courageous one! 

It is choosing to rise above one's circumstances, to find things every day that are blessings, allowing others the opportunity to help and love you, and steeling your spirit towards living rather than just existing.

Choosing joy is choosing to do the possible while expecting the impossible!

This little life lesson today was the inspiration behind this:

Uncle Jerry's tweed/wool cushion (18")

Something that brings me pure joy is working with recycled textiles, or rather, re-purposing unwanted, discarded textiles into something that makes me smile!

A while back I was given a scrap bag of tweed & wool. YUM!  These textiles are so wonderfully tactile and there's something very comforting about wool based fabrics.

Uncle Jerry's cushion 18"

This 18" cushion will be given to my great Uncle on Christmas day!  It took less than an evening to make, but totally lifted my spirits! 

My girls have also fallen in love with it so it looks like I'm going to have to make a few more for ourselves! 

It's wonderful when joy is infectious!!  So whether you are dreading a day with the out in-laws, are far away from family and friends, or experiencing Christmas without a loved one, I pray that you can find strength and courage to choose joy this season.

Wishing you all a joy-filled Christmas.


Saturday, 21 December 2013

Log Cabin Love!

Click here to enter my Pearl Bracelets blogiversary giveaway.  Giveaway closes 26th Dec.

In part 2 of the 'Cushion Drive for No.1 Daughter', I got the 24" cushion finished.

Shannon's Floor Cushion 002

I purposely made this one in the same Log Cabin Circles block that I made her 18th birthday quilt in, and backed it in the same Amy Butler fabric.

Shannon's Floor Cushion 004

The quilt was long arm quilted in beautiful connecting hearts.  Sadly lack of skill and time prevented me from attempting the same on the cushion.  So I went with an organic repeating swirls pattern!

Shannon's Floor Cushion

This cushion, and the other 2 I've made her, are all wrapped up and ready for the big day!

Only problem now is, they are way too big to fit under the tree!!

Still a few more presents to make, but I'm not panicking (much!).


Update: Some of you may be interested to know that my daughter was offered a place at Derby Uni next year, after her 4 hour interview last month!  Thank you all for your well wishes for her. Jxo

Friday, 20 December 2013


I'm 3 years old today!!!  In blogging terms anyway!

And you know what that means!!!!

Fabric Yard are very kindly sponsoring this giveaway with these stunning HALF METRES of Lizzy House Pearl Bracelets!

That's 6 half metres of gorgeousness!

So if you are a regular reader, live in the UK or Ireland (sorry my overseas friends) and really want to get your crafty hands on these fabrics, then just leave me a comment!

Remember, if you don't ever get a reply from me when you comment on my blog, it means you are a 'no reply comment blogger' so you must leave your email address in the comment box.  If I have no way of contacting you, you will not be considered in the draw.

The Giveaway is open until Thursday 26th December, when I will announce the lucky winner!

Happy Christmas peeps!


Wednesday, 18 December 2013


Well ...... almost!

Shannon's cushions 001

Daughter no.1 asked for some new bedroom cushions for her birthday back in October. Unfortunately I didn't have time to make them then.

So they went onto her Christmas list.

Shannon's cushions 001 (2)

These are 18" cushions, and I used some leftover Amy Butler jelly roll strips from her 18th birthday quilt, teamed with brushed cotton in this blue/grey denim.

Shannon's cushions 003

I've a 24" floor cushion also in the pipeline for her .  Hopefully that will tick the 'I need more cushions' box!

Shannon's Cushions


Monday, 16 December 2013

Long Johns!

This morning I got all my Christmas presents wrapped and stuffed under the tree!

Including these:

pjs 007

These are pyjama bottoms for my 3 girls (as requested by them). 

Now you would be forgiven for thinking that I had in fact 2 girls and a boy!


Well, my middle daughter is a complete tomboy, so no prizes for guessing which pjs are for her (she chose the fabric).  A friend recently gave me some buttons and I knew straight away where I would use the camo ones!!


My youngest loves dogs and animals in general so I couldn't resist getting her this fabric!

And my lovely Shannon had 'claimed' this Christmas fabric back in October when it arrived for my classes!!


It was great being able to use the same size pattern for all 3 girls, and they are so satisfyingly quick and easy to make.

If you are local, and fancy giving them a go for yourself, I still have a few places left on the PJs workshop next month.

PJ Bottoms -  Saturday Workshop, 11th January, 10am - 4pm


Sunday, 15 December 2013

Out with the Girls!

Last night was a fun night in with some loonies  girlfriends.  We giggled, played games and laughed lots!  Medicine for the soul!

Girl's Night In!
One of the games - making newspaper hats - my team won!! Sarah's modelling the winning hat!
We did Secret Santa.  I made these coasters .... and partnered them with the obligatory Christmas Chocolate orange (no, it's not Terry's)!

Secret Santa Coasters
They went down very well!
And Santa (aka Heather) got me these!

My secret santa goodies from Heather Dec13

There were 2 birthday girls to celebrate too!

For Sarah I made a basket to pop lots of goodies in (unfortunately 1 item is yet to arrive, hoping to have it soon Sarah!)

Birthday Basket for Sarah Dec13

And for Ruth, I made this picture.  The sense of humour in it is right up Ruth's street!

applique birthday present 007

I can totally relate!!

Applique picture for Ruth

A great night was had by all!  Thank you ladies! Can't wait for the next one!


Saturday, 14 December 2013

An extra half inch!

Now that my classes have finished (some finishes to show you when I work out how to get pics off my phone - don't ask!) my attention is turning to making Christmas presents. 

I don't want to hear that I've less than 2 weeks to make them!  Fingers are in my ears!  Lah lah lah lah!

I decided to make my dad a cushion for Christmas. 

Dad's Civil War cushion 001

The story behind this gift is 3 fold:

1. The cushion is made with the leftovers of the Civil War quilt I made for Dad's 70th birthday last year, albeit a limited selection with a few extras thrown in!

2. I've been wanting to make a double churn dash block for a while, so decided to go one further and turn it into a triple! (This tutorial was really helpful.) I just wish I could have done the outer churn dash in red, but didn't have enough repro fabric unfortunately.

3. My dad has been so generous & good to me these past few months, so I really wanted him to have something comforting and squishy to enjoy!!  Feel the lurrrrrv!

Dad's Civil War Cushion

This is a 20" cushion, which I've made so many times before, that I was in auto-pilot when I made and trimmed down the back to 20", forgetting that I needed to leave an extra half inch. Why?  Because of these ...

Dad's Civil War cushion 009

Bummer!  Lost the points on my outer churn dash.

But as my dad doesn't know his churn dashes from his moustaches I'm hoping he won't mind!!

And so, on to the next present!


Sunday, 8 December 2013

The Silly Season!

It's been bonkers busy round here!

One of the highlights this week was visiting an annual Continental Market in Belfast for the first time (I don't get out much!).

A wonderful treat for the senses, and great company too (thanks mum and dad)!

Thursday was an emotional day!  I was greatly moved by the news of the death of Nelson Mandela!  I have read his book and consider him a giant among men.

It was also my daughter's school formal on Thursday.  I found it a very emotional experience (feelings of pride and over-protection just don't quite cover it!) & I only just held it together!

Shannon's formal Dec13

Classes continue a-frenzy, as we hurtle towards Christmas and really start panicking about all the Christmas presents we want to make!

Yesterday, a group of creatively uninhibited kids conquered their zipper feet and made these wonderful pencil cases and pouches!

Kids Zippy Pouches workshop Dec13

I love how fearless children are when it comes to sewing, putting colours and patterns together!  Well done young'uns (& adults too)!  You are an inspiration to generations of all ages.

Last night in the Hollies' Household we put up our Christmas decorations!  I'm really pleased with our 'fake' tree this year - the girls have done a brill job of decorating it!

Christmas 13 006

One more week of classes and then I can really start to panic about all the presents I haven't got yet!!

Hope you are managing to keep your head in this Silly Season!


Thursday, 5 December 2013

Stitching Hoops!

I wish I could take credit for these stunning beauties!

Embroidery Workshop Samples

These are the amazing stitchery creations of my uber talented friend, Sarah.

I have coerced persuaded Sarah to teach a Saturday workshop next term, and share her brilliant hand stitching talent with others!

Embroidery workshop samples

Sarah has very cleverly designed these samples to teach and showcase a variety of stitches, from simple running and back stitches working up to the more decorative chain stitches and French knots.

Embroidery Workshop samples

Folks will also learn how to finish off their hoops.

There is a very different atmosphere in class when we don't have the whirring of the sewing machines!  I anticipate lots of chatting, laughing & craic - I think there will be more than the hoops left In Stitches!

Hand Embroidery Workshop - Saturday 8th February 2014

Monday, 2 December 2013

Chenille Baby Blanket!

At last I can show you one of the secret projects I've been working on recently.

A very special lady was having a virtual baby shower on Saturday!  What a cool idea!  Unfortunately, I wasn't able to 'tune in' at the time of the great reveal.  A group of us had sent some baby pressies to Sarah, and she opened them at her 'shower' on Saturday.

chenille baby blanket 006

I first had a go at chenilling at 'Quilting College' and thoroughly enjoyed it!  I've been waiting for the right project to have another crack at it, and this was the one!

chenille baby blanket 005

There are 5 layers of fabrics here, one of which is Irish Linen, which frays beautifully. The more 'fray factor' you can get from your fabrics, the better with this technique.  And the more you wash and tumble dry the fabrics, the more they will fray.

chenille baby blanket 009

The snuggle factor you get with chenilling is so lovely and tactile, and this wee gender neutral blankie finishes at around 30" x 42".

chenille baby blanket 010

I hope Sarah & baby enjoy this blanket as much as I did making it.

And if you are local to me and fancy having a go at this yourself, I'll be teaching a Saturday workshop on chenilling next year.  Simple technique with fabulous results? No brainer!!


Sunday, 1 December 2013

Made in Belfast!

I'm completely in denial that it is the 1st of December,  the month in which Christmas happens, illegedly! Yikes!

I have so little to show by way of finishes for November, that I completed my denial by not taking part in Lily's Quilts Fresh Sewing Day for the first time since it started! Boo!

But I still have some lovely things to show you today!

Bee Blessed quilts to Philippines Nov13

There is a container leaving Belfast this week, headed for the Philippines.  These Bee Blessed children's quilts will be on it.

Bee Blessed quilts to Philippines Nov13

The Modern Quilt Guild of Ireland very kindly donated the 'Trip Around the World cutie (special thank you to Anneliesse!).  The 4 baby quilts were long arm quilted by my friend Janette, and the Cosmo Cricket quilt was made by Bee Blessed.

Our thoughts, love and prayers go with these quilts to the many displaced children and families in the Philippines.

And closer to home, check out these stunning sampler blocks made by my Friday class:

Block party class Nov13

Lots of hard work have gone into these!  Well done ladies!   I look forward to seeing your finished quilts!

And for all our Bee Blessed contributors - guess what - you get a month off in December!!  Woohoo! Thank you for your many donations and blocks this year!  We look forward to making and donating many more quilts with you in 2014.