Friday, December 26, 2014

Merry Christmas and a Winner!

Merry Christmas everyone!  I hope your Christmas was better than mine, I spent my day layed up in bed, my back had gone out on me on the 23rd and I have spent the last 3 days in bed.
Merry Christmas from our family to yours!

I walked down to KokaRoka to watch the kids open their Christmas presents and then back into bed I went.  Katerina got a Barbie Doctor's kit, so she spent the afternoon fixing me up, it was kind of perfect and I do feel better today, lol.

These are her doctors glasses.
So who wants to hear who the winner was, you should all know Erin of Sew at Home Mummy, so happy you won.  Thank you to everyone who entered and left such sweet comments and also shared the giveaway.  I will be having another giveaway again in the middle of January.  Thanks for following along and I hope to see you in the New Year.

a Rafflecopter giveaway
I am so excited that my FMQ'ing prize arrived on Christmas Eve so I had something to occupy me while laying in bed.
The Shape by Shape book by Angela Walters (very good will do a book review next month) and a Hobbs Cotton Wool batting from their new Tuscany Collection.  Thank you Amy for my Christmas present.

Friday, December 19, 2014

Snowflake Pouch - Giveaway!

This Snowflake pattern is courtesy of Sewing Under Rainbow, she is holding a Last Minute Christmas QAL, and you still have time to join in, in fact it is perfect to join in on the last minute, yes?  You have till December 26th to make anything from the 12 FREE patterns that she provides, there are some great prizes to win.
Although you can't really be a beginner at paper piecing except maybe for the first block which is Christmas trees, real cute.

Now it actually took me a long time to do this snowflake, because I said to myself "Why don't I make it smaller?"  Well this is a first for me in Foundation Paper Piecing but I saw Snips Snippets do it and it looked easy enough.  I took it to the printers and had them shrink it to 70%, well I first did 50%, but that just looked cra-cra, and we bumped it back up to 70%.  Now what I totally didn't take into account was the tiny seam allowance it would create, instead of the 1/4 in normal seam allowance this was somewhere between 1/8 and 1/4, so for the first time I sewed all of the papers and fabrics on together and made this little pretty number.

I normally take the papers off after sewing the block and then just sew each block together with a 1/4" seam, but I couldn't do that in this instance and needed to follow the line.
I stitched around the snowflake with embroidery thread.
I realize I need to work on making my points meet, I will blame it on the fact that I shrunk the pattern ;)
Didn't it make the cutest snowflake.
 This pouch is part of the Bracelet Giveaway, that I am having on my blog, check my earlier post.
The interior is a red on red snowflake pattern.
I quilted the back of the pouch in a diamond shape with Variegated Aurifil 4663
The interior of the pouch measures 7" x 10" maybe enough room to put a tablet in?
Linking to Sewing Under Rainbow Last Minute Christmas QAL with Julianna.
and to TGIFF, cause for a while there I didn't think I was going to get it done, lol.
and Let's Be Social over at Sew Fresh Quilts.
Don't forget to check out the giveaway.

Monday, December 15, 2014

Christmas Gift Giveaway

I have a little Christmas present for you!
I wrote a Book Review on Saturday, Beaded Bracelets, it has become my new fun hobby.
But like all hobbies, I want to see if I can sell what I make, I thought it would be fun to make cute embroidered bags to match the bracelets I make, so I am calling this one my Snowflake bracelet and I made a lined linen snowflake pouch to go with it.
What do you think?  Would these sell, I have made 2 so far, both are 7.5" long, or 19cm.
 Both bracelets are made with Swarovski Crystal Pearls, the one above is with Lustered Pearl Beads and the one peaking out of the bag below is with Silver Lined Crystal AB beads.
Would you buy one?
The first person to buy a bracelet will get one free, both will come with their own linen lined snowflake pouch, the price $45, shipping is included, and I will even ship the second one to a different address if you are sending it as a gift with a personal note written from you inside, so they know who sent the gift.  This is a savings of $45.
This pouch is 7" x 10", maybe big enough to fit a Tablet.

The second person to purchase a bracelet, $45 shipping is included, will also get a snowflake pouch, but they will also get this wonderful Foundation Paper Pieced Snowflake Pouch. I am valuing the pouch at $35, let me tell you it took me a long, long time to make it, hope you like it.

Hey Mara, where's the giveaway, well, I will be giving away 1 bracelet, I have enough supplies to make 4 bracelets.  2 in each color way, the Lustered Pearl ( very wedding looking) and the Silver Lined Crystal (for those of you who like a little more bling).  They all have a round magnetic clasp, easy to put on the bracelet by yourself, but not suggested for those with pace makers.

Use Mr. Rafflecopter to enter in the giveaway, if you don't want to sign in with Facebook you can always use your e-mail, that's what I do.  If you are interested in purchasing a bracelet let me know by e-mail, grecomara at gmail dot com, I would LOVE to hear from you :)
a Rafflecopter giveaway

If you want to leave a blog post comment I would love to know if you think a shop selling these kinds of bracelets with unique one of a kind pouches for each one, would succeed?  Like I have an idea to make a strawberry beaded bracelet with a cute little pouch, or maybe a bracelet that reminds me of the water and a beach pouch.
And If I did open a shop, do you have any name ideas?  I have heard it is good to stick with your name, that way if you change directions, it's still you, like "Mara Jean Designs", or "Handcrafted by Mara"?  instead of "Bagged Bracelets" hehe.  What do you think?  P.S. totally hoping someone in the sewing craft world, likes my bracelets enough to buy one, please say you do.

Saturday, December 13, 2014

Beaded Bracelets - Book Review

I was a lucky winner of this book and a Bracelet Kit, but all opinions in this review are mine.
With the "Stardust" bracelet, but what I am calling Snowflake Bracelet

Beaded Bracelets, 25 Dazzling Handcrafted Projects, written by Claudine McCormack Jalajas.
 Fist off, can I just say this book is beautiful!  The pictures are fantastic, I go over them and over them, so pretty to look at,  my daughter also enjoys looking at it and each time we do, we decide on another bracelet we like, it is so hard to pick just one favorite.
But I have had beautiful books before, what matters is are they understandable in the directions, because after all you want to make the projects listed, right?  This book does a fantastic job of teaching you how to make beaded bracelet, I am a complete beginner and look at my first try.
Annabelle Bracelet (flowers)
 This bracelet kit came with the book, so I made it right away, while waiting for the supplies to arrive to make some of the other ones, I got enough supplies to make 4 of the Snowflake bracelets.  The Annabelle bracelet is going to a friend of mine along with the Bella clutch it is sitting on in the above picture, more pictures can be found here.
Book Contents:
  1. The Introduction is fantastic after reading it, I feel like I know the author, she is very down to earth.
  2. Tools and Materials: what makes this new hobby so great is that you don't need a whole lot of tools, and the materials you can buy based off of what project you would like to do, she even tells you what shops and the products that she has used to make the bracelet pictured.
  3. Where to buy, brands and considerations: Claudine mostly buys on-line, which is great because I have to also, we definitely don't have any of this stuff in my small town.
  4. Special Note: about the materials, now this is where the book had a few issues, when listing the materials, you could tell that some things were mixed up and when I say some things I mean in just about every bracelet pattern.  For example in the Stardust pattern (my snowflake one) she says in the material list that she uses a lobster clasp and yet in the picture of the bracelet in the book uses a magnetic clasp.  I am such a visual person that the written material kind of threw me off track, I had to look up what a lobster clasp was just in case I was using the wrong term, but in fact the book was written wrong.
    I decided to go with a magnetic clasp instead of the written lobster clasp.
  5. The Bracelets!!!! Beautiful bracelets and just so fun each one different, you will find something you like in this book!  The steps are in detailed graphics, making it really easy to follow along and make the bracelets.  I need pictures so this helps a lot, they are also color coded which I think is just brilliant.
    I blurred out the words just in case of legal issues, but great written directions along with graphics.
  6. Basic Techniques:  This is a very short chapter, I wish it was  little bigger and more extensive.  In each bracelet pattern she tells you what technique you are using so for the Stardust (aka snowflake) it is with the right angle weave (RAW) technique and the Annabelle (flower one) is also with the RAW technique, so I guess I have learned that technique, but there are many other techniques in the book,  herringbone, tubular herringbone, peyote, two drop peyote, triangle and  ladder, but most are done with the RAW technique, yippee.. for having that one down.  I think.
  7. Acknowledgments
  8. Index
I give this book 4 stars, I took one star off just for the many written typos.  But I would whole heartedly tell you to go out and buy this book if you have any interest in making bracelet jewelry.  Claudine gives you permission to be able to sell any bracelets you make with her patterns which is awesome, because some book aurthors do not and well I think that sucks.  So on that note, on Monday I will be having a giveaway, you will have to wait and see what it is, but it's a good one!  So I will see you then, hugs.  Mara. 

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Celestial Pattern Gift Along-Santa's MugRug

Paper Piecing, I like it, as long as there isn't a lot of waste and not a lot of little pieces.  Well this pattern didn't disappoint, it is really nice and easy I could even say a beginner to Foundation Paper Piecing can do it, it is Alison Glass's Celestial pattern.  With her paper piecing patterns she always gives you cutting guides and these are really nice in helping out in keeping the fabric waste down to a minimum.  Alison Glass put out the Challenge for people to use her pattern to make something different to "choose and rearrange those same templates to make new designs" especially smaller gift items.  Well I dream big and thought it would be great to make a tree skirt for my MIL, but that is taking me a bit more time, so in spirit of the Challenge I decided to make something a little smaller and made Santa his own mugrug and milk coaster.
Now for some crazy reason my kids call Santa, Father Christmas, I think they get it from the cartoons they watch, but they are very insistent that this year we will leave him a cake and milk and some carrots for his reindeer. 
I didn't have any cake on hand so I put cookies in for the picture.
I will have to make something for the Reindeer's carrots next.

I like it that this year the kids are more interested in Christmas and so excited, in years previously they didn't really now or get into the spirit, this year is different.  We already decorated the tree, that is down at KokaRoka and this is what I wanted the tree skirt for. 
This is my work so far on the tree skirt.
I have made 9 A blocks, but stole 3 to make the Santa mugrug.

The paper piecing templates didn't take me to long, but I am also piecing the back.
Almost finished with this, just need another block to make and then I will sew them together and put a border around it.
The top has a lot more empty space, since I stole 3 of the small stars, I think I will make some C blocks, as you can see this is little more low volume, hehe, and I am trying to be scrappy, it is very hard for me to be scrappy, I always like to be matchy matchy, with my fabrics, but the good thing about being so scrappy is that I don't have to do that, lol.
Do you want to see my first S
This is why I don't ask my husband his opinion very often, I made this first pieced S and I asked him how I should put the stars (pictured above) and he points to the S and says, what's that?  It's an S for Santa, that doesn't look like an S he says and tells me to change it, so there you have it, a smaller mugrug with a matching coaster and a different S.
And look at this extra special block, it is signed by Alison Glass herself, from when I was in an Alison Glass charm swap last year at this time, she signed 2 pieces of fabric and I am adding one to the Christmas tree skirt since the Celestial Pattern is her pattern.

Sunday, November 23, 2014

Love From Canada

Look at this lovely package that arrived from Kristel at Wipgirl.
look scratch and sniff nail wraps, cool, hey!
I am very excited about this package you see she sent it as a secret and didn't tell me she sent it till the middle of October, she mailed it on September 12th.  It didn't come and I was so worried that her handmade gift had gotten lost.
With some yummy strawberry prints
Beautiful sweet strawberry prints, the one on the right is linen, love it!
and 55 - 5" charms of ALL DIFFERENT text prints, so awesome!  I can't even take a picture of each one individually there are so so many and did I say that they are all different!
Kristel also remembered the kids,
and totally adorable gifts for the kids, my son loves his zombie (that's what he is calling it) lego light, and Katerina is going around with her "hedgehog mou" (my hedgehog).  The text mooseage was for Nik too, but I really like it so I will be stealing that.
yeah, I have that kind of humor.
Kristel also remembered that Hot Tamales were my favorite candy and was so sweet to include them in the package also some candy for the kids, but I couldn't find them for the picture.
Thank you Kristel!  I am so glad this package was not lost and just took the sea route here taking 9 weeks instead of the air route that Emmaline's bags new hardware took, these big guys also arrived on the same day and she mailed them out on November 14th, taking only 8 days to get here.
I won 2 of her new Handmade hardware pieces, if you make any type of bags, you should check out Janelle's shop, not only does she make great purse patterns, but she has the best purse supplies EVER!
I'm going to see how this looks with my upcycled jeans suitcase.
Linking to Sunday Stash.
Thank you my Canadian gal pals Kristel and Janelle!

FMQ Feathers and Paint

I've been practicing my free-motion quilting skills (FMQ) eekk.. it is so exciting.  My foot still doesn't know if it wants to go fast or slow, this is when I really wish I had one of those fancy machines that has a stitch regulator, how cool would that be, well at least for my unwilling to co-operate foot.
The Challenge was put out by Amy of 13 Spools, to watch Angela Walters Free-Motion Quilting with Feathers Craftsy Class.
And since the majority of FMQ that I have done is because I have read and own her book In The Studio I thought it would be a great time to take a Craftsy course with her.  I admire the quilts she makes so much and they look so perfect, but as I watched her on Craftsy, I realized that she isn't perfect!  She makes "mistakes" but she reminds you over and over in the classes that it doesn't have to be perfect!  Sweet, I can do some imperfect Free-Motion Quilting!  Like the one below, woooohhooo, totally went over the line in that one, I actually did un-pick that one and restarted at the feather below it.
oops.. A little out of line.
 I did make one mistake and I wouldn't suggest doing this, since it was my first time sewing feathers, I marked them in with a Frixion pen.  Well it might seem like a good idea, but it really screws you up when you don't hit the line and then all of them look wrong, so I won't be doing that again, I will just mark the guidelines and make up the feathers as I go along.
I first did a basic feather and then did matchstick quilting in between

Next up came Lesson 6: Feathers in Blocks - Chapter 2:Squares, I did both the feather frame (top) with a feather meander in the middle and then I did the feather swirl (bottom)
And then I tried Amy's ZigZag "Classic" Feathers, I loved this design the moment I saw it and just had to give it a go, it was so quick and fast, next time I won't mark everything, I think it will work better.
Now what I have done with these test blocks is I have made them my interior fabric for some really cute clutches!  I did some FMQ for my Pantone bag and loved the idea, it is a great way to practice and you get to use your practice pieces with out someone really just eying up all of the imperfections, they are kind of hidden, plus it gives bags a little more structure.  Both the front and back pieces of fabrics that I used are with Oakshott cottons which are pretty thin, the blue pieces I just happened to have already cut in perfect sized rectangles as a mistake of an earlier project, so I just cut the tan ones so they would look good with the front of the "Paint" bags (Carrie Bloomston fabric)
I quilted those up using Paint and Collage charms and a couple of Allison Glass prints.
I had my quilted interiors, those needed to be trimmed down to size.
I got 1 pouch finished Friday night.
A snap button was added to the strap so it could attach to my bag.
but then on Saturday we had to go shopping for a TV.
All of Greece switched over to digital TV on Thursday so our TV and millions of other peoples TV's no longer worked you could only get the one Public channel (N, kind of like PBS in the states), you could either buy a 30euro converter (lots of people doing this) but thank goodness we had enough money to buy a new TV cause I need my English shows, or I would go insane here.
Patiently waiting and coloring in order to get our new TV.
Katerina's school also asked the parents to buy some school supplies, so we picked up a whole bunch of puzzles.
Making sure the puzzles have all of their pieces ;)
By the time we got home it was already getting dark, but I did finish up the other 2 clutches and will take picture of them in the morning to show you, here is the one that is complete and for me, the other 2 are gifts.
They look so cute together

The matchstick feathers pouch interior.
The basic matchstick feather panel was the most imperfect because it didn't fill the whole interior of the bag, so it's for me, but the Feathers in Squares and the ZigZag Feathers fit the whole interior, which one of those do YOU like best?  Who knows it might just land at your door step, tell me and perhaps I will send it your way ;)!!

Feathers In Squares

or ZigZag Feathers
One pouch is going to my friend along with a bracelet that I made for her.

What's your favorite feather pattern, have you quilted feathers or are you new to FMQ, like me?

Linking up to Feather Free-Motion Quilt Along