Saturday, 22 December 2012

Christmas 2012

Well it is here - Christmas is upon us with all the joy, wrapping, baking, sharing, laughing and fun that it brings.
I have had just one unexpected gift this year so far and I was ready with my wrapped Skinny Latte mug rug under the tree. 
There are still two more so any last minute treats I receive will also get a little gift from me.  It is the first year I have done this and I can't quite believe the amount of work is has saved me.  Normally I would be rushing around (well if the traffic would let me rush) frantically thinking, spending, queuing for a reciprocating gift - but not this year. 
If you still haven't got a couple of last minute gifts ready then visit my pattern shop and check out one of the many mug rug patterns.  They are quick and easy to put together and what is even better ...... you already have all the necessary fabrics to hand because many of them use scraps.  You might even find yourself unwinding with the whir of the sewing machine and the rhythm of the stitches.

Which brings me nicely onto a future series I will be starting in 2013 - Sew I See - it will be a chatty series discussing the way we use sewing to help us cope in our oh-so-busy lives.   So please come back and join me for a chat - we can share experiences and make friends over some philosophical fabric fun.

And whilst you visit in 2013 you can check on the monthly Stitchthrift hints for saving money on stitching supplies.   Of course there will be the usual additions to the Patchsmith Pattern shop - particularly as spring will be approaching with its abundance of brightness, colour and warmth.  And the Across the Pond sew-along will continue to grow and expand whilst having fun on both sides of the Atlantic - with some great FREE patterns from various designers on the web. 

I will be rejigging the blog layout slightly so that all this information will be easy to find.  Sew until then I just wanted to say to each and every one of you .......






Sunday, 16 December 2012

Christmas at Patchsmith Palace

Patchsmith Palace is decked out in it's seasonal glory - want a peek?  Well it just so happens that my employer has popped out to purchase more fabric ("more? you want more?").  I suspect we will all be getting a fat quarter for our Christmas bonus again this year and I don't even sew - but enough of my moaning ....come along now, no dawdling, let us pop in and see what the Palace looks like? 
I see there are a few regulars here and the first thing you'll notice is that the Beehive wall quilt has been replaced with Relaxed Santa in the hall for a cheery Christmas welcome. 
You will glance another santa in the corner of the lounge.  The red of his coat matches the red of the poinsettia.  Yes madam, that is one of the Patchsmith's many, many, many (yawn) mug rugs under the poinsettia but not one of her own designs.
On the coffee table the autumn runner has been replaced with a design from Tilda.  Please do not put your coffee cup on it though - I've had to escort many a person from the palace for just such an offence.
The Patchsmith loves designing and creating but she also makes time to try out patterns from other designers. 
This runner is an adaptation from Tilda's 'Crafting Christmas Gifts' book.  As you can see the reindeer are cute but not as cute as the little elf hiding under all the presents.
If you turn to your left you will see a little tree nestled on the bookcase.  Unfortunately it isn't a real tree as the Patchsmith is allergic to pine needles - they make her come out in profanity.  She did explain once, when she stood on a pine needle stuck in the carpet but I didn't quite understand due to the string of expletives. I wanted to shock her with an epi-pen straight to the heart but the cook warned me that against it.   The gingham hearts add a lovely home-made touch don't you think? 
LADIES!!! Please, put those chocolates back on the tree - they are solely for the Patchsmith. 
Moving on .... if you look at the coffee table you will see that the autumnal coasters have been replaced with the Patchsmith's own Christmas robin coasters and if you glance up in the nook you will see an early Patchsmith quiltie - from 2004 sporting the same robin design.   The Patchsmith often uses a strip piecing method of applique - she says it's quick and easy leaving her more time for shopping for fabric although it very nearly landed her in trouble with the law recently!
Next to the clock is the Patchsmith's latest pattern - a heart shaped coaster that also doubles as a wall hanging.  She seems taken with hearts at the moment; she even added one to her Christmas wishlist but I don't hold out much hope - I've been praying she gets one for years! 
As we pass the kitchen look out for the little handmade band on the servant's tea caddy - this is another example of a very early Patchsmith creation. 
The servants are often given the Patchsmith's cast-offs once she has no further use for them.  Like this Zakka pot holder which the cook now uses for the salt and pepper pots.
We did have a snowman biscuit barrel last year but out generous ladyship confiscated it when she caught me and the cleaner, Beth sharing a ginger cookie.  She said that if we were going to be greedy and not make one cookie do all the staff then nobody would have any.  However, I do know the biscuit barrel wasn't thrown out - it's up in the workshop.  I would take you up and show it to you but unfortunately the Patchsmith has taken to locking the door following somebody moving her most precious mug rug on our last tour - she doesn't miss a thing that nosey old ba...., ahem, I mean that observant, dear old lady. But gather round, I have a photo of it which Beth took when she was dusting as a reminder of her first love (the snowman that is - not me unfortunately!). 
We'd better be making a move, the Patchsmith will be back soon.  As we pass the coat stand be sure to look up and see the little stocking garland hanging there.
Please feel free to leave a donation to the servants Christmas party in any of the stockings on your way out ..... why thank-you sir, a whole penny, how very generous - are you related perchance to my employer, the Patchsmith?

Quilting Gallery Birthday Give-away Winner


Thank you all for entering. 
I wish I could grant you all your wishes and choices for Christmas - many of which matched my own.  Unfortunately there can only be one winner.

I used a Random Number Generator to select
as the lucky winner and the mug rug and fabrics will be on their way to her/him as soon as s/he sends me their contact details.  Hopefully s/he will get these goodies in time for Christmas.
I would like to wish you all a very merry Christmas and a healthy New Year. 
The seasonal tour of Patchsmith Palace will be underway this evening so be sure to check back here.  I have also added two new patterns to my pattern shop today.  All patterns are just $1.99 (approximately £1.30 at today's rates) so why not check out my Craftsy store and treat yourself. 

In the New Year I hope to start two new monthly series - one entitled the Stitchthrift which will give hints and tips for saving money on supplies and sewing - a must in these difficult financial times.  The other is entitled "Sew I See" and will delve into the philosophy of stitching, sewing and blogging.

Sew until next we meet .........

Friday, 7 December 2012

Stripping ..... again

Would you believe I had trouble with Facebook and a comment I posted?   I am guessing the answer would be 'YES' if you followed my previous post about my strip search.  I uploaded a notice about my latest mug rug pattern - the Honey Bee mug rug.  All I said was "this pattern uses a quick strip applique method and it doesn't involve taking your clothes off" (which it doesn't by the way) and Facebook vetted my post and wouldn't release it until they had checked it out.

On reflection though, it is most probably a good thing - could you imagine the things that could be posted about?  No - don't even think about that - think nice thoughts - like bees buzzing around flowers in summer gardens or thick dollops of honey in lemon tea or .... even better ..... honey in a shot of whisky topped up with a splash of hot water - delicious.
Gotta go, but check back here on Sunday for details about the Quilting Gallery Blog Hop party - the Patchsmith has a give-away.

Sew until then .......

Saturday, 1 December 2012

A Trio of Trees

Welcome to December – the month of joy, gifts, family and friends getting together over the meal table, hectic schedules and excited children.  It really is a lovely month.  And even more so now the pattern for this month’s Across the Pond Sew Along is available.  It will not add too much to your workload.  The project this month is for a placemat and napkin set featuring a trio of trees.  There are two options – you can applique the trees or paper-piece them.  Both designs come with a nifty napkin holder incorporated into the side of the placemat. 
As followers of my blog will know I am very new to paper-piecing so this pattern is suitable for novices like myself.  I do not include any instructions on how-to-paper-piece as there are so many tutorials and books that tell you ‘how’ so much better than I can.  I would however, point you to Craftsy’s Block of The Month 2012” free video course – the month of October deals specifically with paper-piecing and it is very clear and informative.   Check it out here.  But even better than that - come and join the sew-along group for this month's project and stop a while to say hello - find out more at the Across the Pond Flickr page

Tip:  Ensure you set print scaling to 'none' on your print page prior to printing the templates.  This should ensure that each paper-pieced template is 4.5" wide from black dashed line to black dashed line.  There is a line on the front page of the pattern reminding you.  If you forget don't worry, your placemat will just be a little bit smaller - it will still look good

Both of the patterns for the placemat can be found in my Craftsy store – each are priced the same as all my patterns - just $1.99.  So, if you haven’t joined the Across the Pond Sew Along already, why not start this month.  And remember, trees are not just for Christmas!
Before I go I just wanted to help raise awareness of an opportunity for all quilters to put their skills to the aid of the Alzheimer’s Art Quilt Initiative.  It is a campaign where quilters donate a small quilt and that quilt is auctioned - all proceeds going towards Alzheimer’s research and awareness.  Do we need an excuse to quilt?  NEVER and how lovely to be able to do something we enjoy doing and help others at the same time.   I know many have been involved with the Sandy quilt initiative but it doesn’t have to stop there.  I was asked to give permission for two of my mug rug patterns to be made by a very kind lady called Shelly who is donating them to the Art Quilt Initiative.  Check it out and if you can find time to make something small (no bigger than 9” x 12”) I know they would be really pleased to receive it.  Details of the requirements can be found here,
Sew until next time .......