It’s all in the details part 1 – Personal

This weekend marks three months since our wedding day and that magical & balmy midsummer’s day seems like a lifetime ago already. I previously mentioned I’d share a few of the crafty handmade details from our day, just to show you what kept me busy over the last year and a half when I wasn’t quilting.

Some of you will have previously read that I used to work for an event planning company as a stationery designer. This paired with my love of crafting meant I was truly in my element when planning our wedding. While the logistics and politics of putting a wedding together was pretty stressful, working on all these bits and bobs kept me calm yet busy throughout the wedding lead up, and I truly enjoyed making it personal and handmade. Things that I didn’t make myself I bought from other small businesses wherever possible and would encourage any other brides-to-be to do the same as it feels so much more special knowing an individual has put their love into making something for you. All photos were taken by the simply wonderful Julie Anne Skelton, who I really can’t say enough lovely things about.

I’ll start at the very beginning, with our invitations. I am a MASSIVE stationery geek and had always dreamed of having letterpress invitations but was sure I’d never afford them. I scoured the net for affordable ones, and just as I was about to give up hope, I found a seller on Etsy who could do them within budget. The printing is beautiful and I’m so glad I had a few left over for us to treasure. I wanted the design to be classy and elegant so I kept them neutral and fairly minimalist with a touch of whimsy brought in with the typeface and leaf motif. I adorned them with a linen belly band, silky ribbon, handwritten name tags and white wax cat seals (which I would have continued to stamp on absolutely everything at the wedding, had they not taken so bloody long to do…) and overall, I was pretty darn chuffed with myself once I’d finished them!

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Choosing how to do the placement cards and table plan was one of the hardest decisions for me, as there were so many different ideas I’d seen on Pinterest and blogs that I adored, and I kept changing my mind. I knew I wanted to do individual escort cards rather than a table plan, and after seeing some name tags pinned up along a string, I was inspired to do something similar, tying in my love of fabric and the grey and linen colours and fonts from the invitation. So, I raided my fabric stash (which luckily has a rather large neutral collection – not sure what it says about me that my favourite colour is grey…) and started cutting the 80 squares with my pinking blade. I printed the names and tables onto a thick textured card and just glued them onto the fabric backing. I then placed my dad in charge on the day of finding a suitable pair of trees to string and peg them up on, and he did so right at the entrance of our venue, where they gently danced in the breeze. Not sure what plan B would have been if we hadn’t been blessed with a gorgeous sunny day…

Collage20040The placement cards were a hybrid of two ideas I’d seen. We’d already found a few ways to incorporate the cats into our day, but I also wanted a nod to our chickens as well. Years ago at my old job, we did an event where each guest had a gold painted hen’s egg with a Chinese fortune inside. My colleagues and I blew out 300+ eggs, spray painted them gold and rolled up a little fortune for each one that was pushed inside through the hole. Guests were encouraged to crack them open, and it was a real talking point among the tables and was a huge hit with all the guests at the party.  I thought it would be a memorable and quirky detail and that it would help tie together our very loose flora and fauna theme and hubby thought it was fun too. In researching inspiration pics, I fell in love with using quails eggs in table decor and thought they would be much prettier and daintier than using hens eggs. I bought some already blown-out shells for pennies online, but was then faced with how to make them stand up. I looked at mini nests and boxes and all kinds of crazy ideas but nothing was small enough for the tiny eggs. Eventually, I found a picture I’d pinned years ago before even being engaged of these wood-shaving flowers and had a ‘eureka’ moment. They were so delicate and pretty and although some of them were a bit on-the-wonk and wobbly on the day, but ya know, I think it added to the charm. I gave hubby the job of finding the fortunes to put inside, and the idea soon evolved into making them all cat-themed! Some were fortunes, but most were sayings and proverbs. Kind of a silly idea, but it was very ‘us’ and we had a lot of laughs putting them together. To finish, I hand stamped each name in gold ink onto grey card, and voila!

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We named each of our tables after animal and flower pairings – some of the animals had significance to us, others were chosen just because they’d be cute. Using stock images, I traced each one with gold ink onto grey card, and stood them on mini easels. They ended up being one of my favourite wedding details and I plan on framing them or something one day. Our 8 tables were – Leopards & Lavender, Bears & Buttercups, Elephants & Edelweiss, Foxes & Forget-me-nots, Hens & Hibiscus, Giraffes & Geraniums, Puddle-ducks & Peonies and Wolves & Wisteria 🙂Collage5The final wedding craft I want to show you today was my confetti bags. The venue requested we use real petal confetti, which is way more expensive than I ever could have imagined. I bid on some cheap stuff on ebay (meant I couldn’t choose colours, but that’s way to pernickety for me anyway) and then fancied it up with glassine bags (who doesn’t love glassine!?) stamped with gold stars, and little ‘throw me’ tags which I hand-calligraphed in gold ink. These were meant to be paired with order of the day timelines, which I’d had printed on grey textured card and spent ages designing, but the sodding things didn’t turn up in time.

Collage4It’s been fun sharing my handmade stationery elements of our wedding day with you. I’ll be back to show the flowers and other decorative details in another post. See ya soon! L x

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October works in progress

September into October sees the start of my busy period as the weeks begin to escalate towards Christmas. I’ve already shown you the twin Liberty quilts I finished up, but in recent weeks I’ve also made a bright and boyish quilt for a little chap named Ben, another commission for the fabulous Love Patchwork & Quilting magazine (under wraps for now, but keep an eye out for Issue 16…), reached my 100 sales milestone thanks to a NOTHS order, started two new baby quilts, a lap quilt too and worked on projects for three graphic design clients! Phew. As you can imagine, my workspace isn’t the tidiest ever right now…

My first work-in-progress is a baby quilt for a lovely repeat client of mine. As soon as she mentioned the words ‘woodland fabrics’, I was all over this project like cat hair on a black sweater.

Toadstools, birds, foxes and the most irresistible metallic deer & tree fabric is a recipe for a happy Laura. Muted, neutral and autumnal, I can’t wait to get this clamshell quilt finished up for one very lucky little boy.

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While waiting for some of the materials to arrive for the woodland quilt, I also cut into a gorgeous stack of fabrics which I’ve been collecting for some time. There are fabrics from all sorts of summer collections here; Grey Abbey by Elizabeth Olwen, Littlest from AGF Studio, September Blue by Susan Driscoll, Cotton+Steel basics, Arizona by April Rhodes (more metallic, yay!), Mormor by Lotta Jansdotter, the list goes on. The stack has been sitting and taunting me for weeks now, and I’d been dying to take my rotary cutter to it, but not without taking some lovely photos in the autumn sunlight first, of course.

DSC_0433CollageACollageBMmmmm, mustard, mint and grey – perfection! And this, my mostest favouritest, low-volume print ever (at least for the time being….). Yes I know, I’m so predictable…

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Liberty Twins

I know I say it a lot, but my goodness I’ve been busy lately. We’ve had a lot on our plate, both good and bad, but I’ve finally found a bit of time to catch you all up on some of the bits I’ve been working on.

These quilts have been a long time coming. I was first contacted by Heather over a year ago – she was collecting Liberty fabrics for her twin girls which she wanted turned into matching wall hangings to dress their bedroom with. Finally this summer she had collected enough fabric to make them and sent everything over to me to start work. And what a lovely selection it was…Collage4Collage5While the fabrics are more traditional than I’d usually choose, it was nice to do something out of the norm. Who can resist Liberty Tana Lawn anyway; it’s simply lovely and a dream to work with. Heather was taken with this Liberty quilt pattern, so I worked out my own pattern using this as a model, to ensure the finished quilts would meet Heather’s specific size requirements. For the first time I used the traditional technique of needle-turn applique to attach the hearts. While this was a very lengthy process (about 30mins per heart, x 18!! Yeah, I’m a slow hand-sewer…) I think it was worth it for the seamless look on these traditional quilts. I also quilted them using the stitch-in-the-ditch method, which meant all stitches were hidden from view.

Collage2 Collage1The end result was two, almost identical-twin quilts, which I very much hope were worth the wait. I believe these are now hanging above the beds of two little girls, how sweet!

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Scrappy squares in squares in squares…

I’ve been a busy bee this week. It’s been the first time in a long time that I’ve had a chance to make a new quilt for the shop as I’ve been so busy with commissions. This week I was lucky enough to have a little window between custom orders and managed to bash out this bad boy.

I wanted to make something stash-busting and had a lot of fun rediscovering some prints I had tucked away that hadn’t seen the light in a while. The more the merrier was my motto for this quilt, and I was pretty nondiscriminatory in choosing prints, only avoiding anything too gender or age specific.

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Cutting all the pieces took bloody ages – 48 squares, 192 small triangles and 192 large triangles! Phew. A bit of swamp-rock on the itunes and several hours and cups of tea later, I was ready to get sewing.Collage3Trimming blocks is my least favourite part of quilt-making, and when working with triangles, trimming is pretty key. This can be the point I lose interest and go and do something else but I pushed through – good thing this quilt made such pretty off-cuts!

Collage2I changed my mind three times(!) about how to quilt this one, which meant getting pretty friendly with my unpicker. In the end I decided to keep it simple by echoing the seams, as the pattern was busy enough as it was.

So, whaddya think? I’ve named it “Break The Night With Colour” and it measures 40″ x 55″ which is a pretty universal size – you can use it as a bay quilt, child playmat/end-of-bed quilt and even a little lap quilt for your favourite armchair.

This quilt is available in my shop now, claim it before the cats do!

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Three little quilts for three little angels

In the lead up to the wedding, I was also very busy with custom orders purchased through my Etsy shop. I am very fortunate to work with some truly lovely customers and as a result can get very emotionally involved in making a special quilt. A handmade gift is such a personal thing to give and all three of these customers wanted personalisation in one form or another.

The first, was a large hexies quilt for the arrival of a baby girl named Alba Rose (a beautiful name I’d not heard before). This was designed to be a play mat and blanket and the customer asked for it to be bright with minimal white to help disguise any stains from regular use and rough and tumble. She chose the popular colourway of turquoise, reds and pinks, and the result is a bold and fun little quilt, that should withstand all kinds of rough love and baby-related mess!

Duck and Cover:

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Next up was a quilt for a far more sensitive and heartbreaking occasion. This customer’s story touched me greatly and as a result making this quilt was a very emotional experience for me. More than ever I put my heart into making this little burial quilt perfect and I only wish I could have made something for this little angel under happier circumstances. This family will be in my thoughts for a long time.

Supernova:

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Finally is my personal favourite. This was pieced using the foundation paper piecing technique which I hadn’t tried before but actually really enjoyed. I used newspaper as the foundation which worked ok but wasn’t ideal (not to mention distracting!) so I’ll use proper paper the next time I do it. This customer came to me with three different colour schemes she liked, and we narrowed it down to a simple fuchsia and grey which is a classic combo that I love. This quilt now belongs to a baby girl named Ava, whom I hope will love it as much as I do!

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Love Patchwork & Quilting, Issue 11

My contributors copy of Love Patchwork & Quilting, Issue 11 arrived just before I left for the wedding and honeymoon and so I didn’t have a chance to sit down with a cup of tea and really enjoy it until this week. It’s another fabulous issue from the LP&Q team, I just love this mag and it never fails to get me ooh-ing and ahh-ing over delicious fabrics, cool new products and of course other quilters’ amazing work.

issue11Collage1July’s issue was all about summer daydreams and whimsy; simply lovely. It’s still on sale until Issue 12 comes out on Aug 20 – snatch it up quick! Here is a little sneak peek of what you’ll get…

The cover of this issue is super-eye-grabbing with Lynne Goldsworthy’s stunning bullseye quilt taking centre stage. It’s a great design, being graphic and grown-up yet playful at the same time and I can’t get enough of seeing the Cotton+Steel prints in use at the moment.

issue11Collage2Another favourite from the mag is Rebecca Bryan’s oh-so-pretty Wildflower cushion. I am already itching to make this and have been looking for a new EPP project to start on, as well as wanting to replace a lot of the cushions on our sofa. I love that this is somehow both delicate and bold, and modern and traditional all at the same time. Yum. Oh, and I had to flash a pic of the sweet little dolly by Jo Carter – she’s like a cute little Mary Portas, don’t you think?

issue11Collage3Among these lovely tutorials is my little patchwork gardener’s apron. I was dead chuffed to be asked to contribute again to Love Patchwork & Quilting and it was really nice using my skills to create something a little different. For this project I used Jeni Baker’s Dreamin Vintage line, which I LOVE and worked really well in creating that modern summer garden vibe. Shame the weather’s taken a bit of a dive this week, not the best for gardening! For the full-tutorial as well as a mini tutorial for fabric-embellished plant tags, grab your copy from any good newsagent now, or subscribe for future copies here.

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Back to life

My tail is firmly between my legs – I can’t quite believe it was May that I last posted! Where the last few weeks have gone I just don’t know but I hope you can forgive my hiatus, I’ve been busy getting married!

What a roller-coaster couple of months is has been packed with dress fittings and talking flower varieties, drawing up table plans and making confetti bags, stringing origami cranes, designing menus and decorating jam jars and all this alongside lots and lots of sewing….

Well, the wedding madness is over, the bubble has popped and it’s back to earth with a bump. I have so many catch up posts planned to show you some of my recent commissions, and perhaps a few little handmade wedding details too but for now (if it’s not too sappy ) here is a quick flash of one of my favourite pics from the day 🙂

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L xx

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Work in progress – a little HST quilt, just ‘cuz

DSC_0253 copygrey CollageCommissions have been keeping me very busy over the few weeks (not that I’m complaining!) and it feels like it’s been ages since I could just mess around on my machine and sew for the sake of sewing with no deadlines to work to or pressure to follow an exact design. This weekend I hit my stash and just pulled out a few fabrics to start playing around with. Grey, blue and yellow were the colours I felt drawn to, possibly on my radar due to the lovely little foxy quilt I finished recently. I fancied something easy as a warm up to spark my creativity for something more complex and HSTs (half-square-triangles for those of you who don’t know quilt-speak) were the order of the day and with the Nashville soundtrack on in the background (yes, it’s my guilty pleasure. Actually, I don’t even feel guilty about it!), I enjoyed churning these out by the dozen. I arranged them freestyley and whipped up a good few blocks in a couple of hours. Now I just need to choose a backing and binding and then I should have this little quilt finished in no time.

DSC_0266 copyDSC_0272 copyAnd, since these colours have inspired me, I thought I’d put together a little moodboard to see if they can inspire you too. I’ve found all sorts of lovelies on Etsy and Pinterest and particularly love that art print centre-right, both my fiance and I are prone to the hunger-rage…

greyblueyellow CollageTop row: Vintage yellow stool // Purdy grey pumps // Pretty nature photography

Middle row: Triangle studs // Antique chair // Cute art print

Bottom row: Grey knitted slippers // Porcelain poppy bowl // Styling with branches

 

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Foxes in Boxes – A finished baby quilt

I’ve been wanting to show you this finished baby quilt for some time now but wanted to keep it under wraps until I had given it to it’s new home, which I was thrilled to do yesterday. Please excuse our unkempt lawn, the hens like it that way (at least, that’s the excuse I’m sticking to!).

Some of you might remember that I made a matching patchwork cushion for the same nursery some weeks back, and I loved being able to use these fabrics again for the quilt. I am just so in love with the colours, which I think are both traditional and modern at the same time. I’ve used a similar quilt design in the past for a baby-girl quilt, but the final look was really quite different. I love that about patchwork.

This quilt features a mixture of both stitch-in-the-ditch quilting and a meandering stipple, which really makes the squares pop, and helps soften the effect of all the straight lines and sharp corners. I really enjoy adding different textures to a quilt in this way.

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The quilt ended up a fair bit larger than I had originally planned, but hopefully this means it will last the little bean for many, many years and that he won’t grow out of it anytime soon. I can’t wait for his arrival in the coming weeks and to meet the little fella. I’m sure I won’t be able to resist posting more pics with him snuggled in it soon (though the hens will be most upset about being displaced as models!).

L xx

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Spring Quilt Market & Cotton+Steel

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If you could see me right now, you’d see I have a right grumpy pout on, and have since Thursday because I am not at International Quilt Market in Pittsburgh. Everyone who’s everyone in fabric design and quilting is at the spring quilt market and I am feeling especially jealous, not helped by the fact that I’m going to miss the UK Festival of Quilts in Birmingham this summer as well, as it coincides with our honeymoon (though if ever there was a good reason to miss it, that is it).

Twitter and Instagram are all a buzz with sneak peeks of the Spring fabric lines and beautiful booth set-ups which is feeding my envy and curiosity in equal parts. One of the most anticipated launches this Spring is the new fabric design collective, Cotton+Steel, a division of RJR fabrics made up of five of the most talented designers in the world of fabric, Melody Miller, Rashida Coleman Hale, Alexia Abegg, Sarah Watts and Kimberly Kight,  most of which I have used in my own work. Founded by the wonderful Melody Miller, Cotton+Steel is both a collaborative venture where the ladies have combined their talents to create some wonderful basics, as well as each of the designers having their own line within the Cotton+Steel brand which all coordinate with one another. It’s a genius idea and their whole branding is just delicious, I cannot wait to see their creations and how the company grows over the next few seasons.

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You can hear more about them in this fab, and super-inspirational video made by Melody’s husband.

I am so excited by these fabrics, and from some of the sneak peeks I’ve seen, they seem to be living up to the hype. Here are a few sneaky images from The Village Haberdashery (thanks Annie!) where you can already pre-order the full collection! Resistance is futile.

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