Monday, November 2, 2015

It's starting to look a lot like Christmas...

At least if you're counting the last swap of this year that I have joined and just finished sewing and packing up.

It's the 4th and current round of the Four Seasons Pillow Swap, which is going underway on Flickr, and also the 4th time that I'm taking part in this swap.
We are sewing pillow cases for every season of the year, if you didn't already catch that from the name of the swap that is ;)

So far I have received 3 amazing pillows (which you can see below) and can't wait for the last one to complete my seasonal collection, although the ones that I have so far, I have used throughout the year. 




While the swap group is basically devided between people who like the winter colours such as blues, greys, and low volumes and people who like the more traditional approach of reds and greens,  my partner in this round was really specific that she wanted the traditional Christmas colours of red and green and she also seemed to have a soft spot for several patterns, including birds. 

That was the point when I decided that I either had to find a cute paper-pieced pattern or an applique pattern and what better way to do that then to ask Google. Luckily I found a cute chickadee applique pattern in the Quilted Treasures online shop.

Since black-capped chickadees are often used in winter-themes, I decided to go for it and thankfully my partner has since approved of my choice. 

Picking the fabrics was rather easy. The fiddly bit were all the numerous parts that I needed for the bird. I'm not sure how many parts the actual pattern has, but since I live overseas, am not a US resident and the pattern only comes in in physical form, I picked the 'easier' way of just printing out the picture in the size that I needed and redrawing the actual bird parts onto paper using carbon paper.

So yeah, I had many small parts that were ironed on with double-sided fusible web and appliqued with transparent nylon thread. You can also call it invisible thread and I love using it for applique like this, because you don't have to change the colour of your thread a million times, which sometimes can be really unnerving, especially when you have applique with many different parts in different colours/fabrics. 

It all came together rather quickly once I had started to work on it, but then I was super unsure what to do around the actual block as I didn't want to take too much focus off the chickadee. A couple of my Quilty friends had to deal with my indecisiveness via private messages over on Instagram and Facebook as I just couldn't decide what to do (thanks to Betti, Mara and Tammy for letting me yap away lol!). They tried to give advice, but I went down a different road in the end. I knew there had to be a border, but couldn't decide which colour, until I realised I could use both red and green. 

The fabrics I used for the borders have the same colours of greens and reds that are in the fabric that I picked to become the back of my pillow, also a must have since there are birds printed on it.
After that everything fell together and I'm happy with the outcome, now hoping that my partner will be, too.

As a little extra and eye-catcher I made a beaded charm for the zipper pull, then packed a few extras together and started to wrap everything up, as you can see in the first picture at the start of this post. 

I always love receiving packages that are wrapped in lovely paper, it's so much more personal, because you know someone put a lot of thought into creating your package and putting it together. 
Giving away what I made is always the hardest part, though. But it's good, because I feel like you know that you made something good or special, when you struggle to give it away, because you want to keep it for yourself.  And it's even more exciting when the recipient is overjoyed in receiving it. ;)

Right now this is the last swap that I have joined this year. I tried to keep it down and haven't joined as many as I have in previous years, but that's down to all the awful things that have happened in the swap world, with so many 'bad apples' only signing up for their own benefit and cheating many nice swappers in the process. 
So you get vary at some point and it stops being fun when you see that friends, who are in the same swaps, end up needing angel packages because some idiot didn't pull through. It's just sad and not very rewarding or pleasant anymore.

My friend Karri has repeatedly taken it upon herself to clear things up on her blog. She finds a funny way - although it's actually less funny and more a sarcastic approach - to report about all the dramas in swap-land and has a couple really great posts about swap-etiquette
Do give her blog a stop by and her posts a read if you're interested, especially if you're a swap-mama or swapper yourself. The good swappers among us need to stick together after all! :)

Until next time, folks!
xx Lia

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

EPP Results

In my post from late April I showed you the EPP projects that I was working on. Now that my Four Seasons Pillow Swap partner has received her summer pillow, I can finally reveal the whole thing to you.

As you can guess, the whole top was handpieced together and it took me quite a while, although I was sewing away on it every day, doing a bit here and another bit there as I found time. 
The back was done in a much easier way, and I used the (under quilters really popular) Britten fabric from Ikea. 

I love how the colours blend in together and it's my interpretation of a perfect rainbow, so I'm really happy how it turned out. 

The Summer round of the swap is currently coming to an end and the most gorgeous pillows are showing up everywhere. I can't wait to find out who I will be receiving from and am patiently waiting and stalking the postman every day ;)

Another finish for a swap, which shipping date is a couple months off yet, is a Sew Together Bag that I made. I've had it completely finished for a while now, but don't want to reveal the whole thing yet, for the fear that my partner my actually be watching my blog. So here is only the EPP outside panel for your viewing pleasure.

More of that will be revealed later in the year.

That's all from me for now!

Have a great day,
xx Lia

Tuesday, June 9, 2015

One Lovely Blog Award

Last week my sewing and swapping friend Janine from Crafty Tokyo Mama II nominated me for the One Lovely Blog Award. She lives in Japan and we've met in early 2014 through my Fabric Scrap Swap, which she's repeatedly taking part in with huge patience, as she usually the last one to receive her package thanks to the loooong postal ways, lol!

I feel honoured to have received this nomination as there are so many fabulous sewing blogs out there and mine doesn't really feel so special, so thanks to Janine for the nomination, I'll gladly pay it forward :)

In accepting this Award, I have to nominate 10 more blogs and also share 7 things about myself, so let's get started with my nominations. 

1. My first nomination goes to Teresa at The Green Bag Lady. If you haven't heard from her yet, you're probably living behind the moon ;) Up to this day Teresa and her Green Bag Lady chapters have sewn over 31,000 shopping bags that have been given away for free for a cleaner environment. 

2. Up next is Karen at Faeries and Fibres. She creates the most amazing EPP quilts and shares great piecing techniques and tutorials on her blog. So if you plan on taking your EPP to the next level, go and visit her blog!

3. I also want to nominate Mara of Secretly Stitching. We've met through swaps on Flickr, are now Instagram and Facebook buddies and share a huge love for bees, nautical themes and Alison Glass fabrics. She is fantastic at embroidery and makes the cutest things.

4. My next nomination goes to Karri of Karri of Berries. We've also met through Swaps and I love Karri's blog because on there she speaks out about things that other people are too afraid to say, especially dealing with swaps. I love her honesty and sense of humour. ;)

5. Yvonne from White Painted House is next. She hasn't blogged in ages - maybe we can change that now? ;) - but she's incredibly generous in terms of creating angel packages for swappers and is always the first to offer and respond. This is why she really needs a nod on this post. 

6. I also need to nominate Josh from Molli Sparkles because you can never have enough sparkles and glitter ;) Josh creates amazing quilts - check out Lost Feathers of an Angel and be prepared to stare!! - and was the driving force behind collecting over 2000 hashtag blocks to make quilts for Sewing For Sydney

7. Kim from Persimon Dreams is also one of my nominees. Her blog is probably best known for the annual Project Quilting Challenges. If you've not heard about that yet, go and make sure that you visit her blog. Kim hosts Project Quilting every year between January and March and there are many prized up for grabs when joining a challenge.

8. Another nominee is Caroline from lal in Socal. We've met through my Secret Tote Bag Swap and she creates the most gorgeous bags. She's also got a huge love for everything purple and knits cute companions for her swap partners. 

9. I'm also nominating Paula from Mudpies and Pins. I love her tiny EPP creations and butterflies. They're just gorgeous and Paula as a great eye for colour. 

10. My last spot goes to Aylin at ayliN-Nilya. Her patterns and creations are out of this world and it seems that she's whipping them up faster than you could actually sew, lol!

So, those were my nominees and I guess now I have to reveal 7 things about myself, this could get awkward, haha!

1. A funny fact is that my online friends often think that I'm an American living abroad. But I'm not, I'm a born and raised German and have never lived anywhere else but Germany. I often get complimented on my English, though, so I suppose I had good teachers! Yay! ;)

2. While I don't have a problem in getting to know or meeting new people, I rather stay to myself. I'm not quite sure if that makes me a proper introvert, but I have no trouble in spending hours alone by myself and just being creative.

3. From being a teenager up into my early twenties I loved to read. I haven't touched a book in years now though and probably wouldn't find any time to sew if I actually did.

4. That being said, I find it hard to concentrate on an actual page for a longer time period, wether that be in a newspaper or book, or reading an e-book on a laptop for example. It's not that I don't want to, but I have so called vitreous opacity, which are floaters in my left eye that are constantly there. They are quite annoying if I have to concentrate on something for a longer time and make my eye extra tired. Just imagine seeing small black dots whenever you look from the left to the right, they float through your vision and back. I've learned to live with them as I've had them for several years, but they can be quite annoying at times.

5. I love to do anything crafty. Often I get the 'is there anything you can't do?' comments, which make me laugh. Yeah, there are several things I cannot do, cooking and baking for example. Or knitting. I also have no patience for cross-stitching and it always looks a bit weird when I do it. 

6. I prefer dogs to kids. I don't think that needs any further explanation haha! ;)

7. And last but not least, something a bit embarrassing I guess. My musical taste is all over the place, but for the last year and a half or so, I've actually gone back down the teenie route and started to become a fan of One Direction. Yes, I know, you can laugh about that all you want, but I don't mind. I totally don't care lol!

Ok, that's that! I hope you visit some of the blogs above and hopefully find something you like and I will have a new post up for you all very, very soon!

Take care!
xx Lia

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Think I might have caught something that I heard is highly infectious...

...and while I'm actually battling another cold right now (yes, am also currently on vacation, as it seems I always start being sick one week before my work holidays start...), I don't mean a bug as such, I'm actually talking about something far more severe...

You know, when you try something new and crafty and you just can't seem to stop?

Let's say it all started rather harmless... with the Dumpling Pouch Swap hosted by Mari-Ann on Flickr. Now the word swap alone stands for something severe with some sewists, as swaps can be highly addictive... but while I love swaps, I know I have actually been pretty good withstanding that one addiction ;)
The thing is, that my partner in said Dumpling Swap loves English Paper Piecing (EPP) and while I know how Foundation Paper Piecing works, I had never done the completely different EPP. But I aim to please and I like to extend my abilities/try something new, at least if it comes to sewing and being crafty. And I also have a huge role model in terms of EPP, Karen of Faeries and Fibres. She does amazing arty quilts with all her different EPP techniques, so go give her a visit for some fabulous tutorials.

But not getting side tracked now, like I said I like to try and meet my swap partner's expectations, so I had to give this EPP thing a go...

And that's kind of how the whole disaster started...

And I am being entirely sarcastic when I speak of a disaster, because I realised I quite enjoyed handpiecing... and I usually hate anything that has to do with handsewing...

So I used 3/4" hexagon templates that I received in a swap once and pieced and pieced and pieced away until this little Dumpling pouch was finished... First time ever EPP project finished, tadaa!

But don't think I stopped there... 

Because I also signed up for the Bee Still My Heart Swap hosted by Deanna on Instagram... 
And since honeycombs are hexagons/hexies, I of course needed to make some more...

These were put aside for now though, as I had to work on yet another swap with a deadline much closer than the Bee themed swap. 

I'm talking about the Four Seasons Pillow Swap hosted by Karen on Flickr. I've already been in the Spring round and received a gorgeous EPP pillow (no pun intended at all!) from my friend Tammy, also known as OmaTam. And while I've been doing a foundation pieced pillow in the spring round, I was striving to do something different in this round. Plus, it happens that my partner likes EPP and decided that my idea of doing a tumbling blocks pattern suited her well. 

The plan was to use rainbow colours and low volume, and so I kept making diamonds for a while...

First in low volume, then in different shades of colours to create rows...

Then more colours...

And more rows...

Until now a few days later I have almost the whole pillow top pieced. I took the following picture last night. I have all the shapes done now and only need to sew the last pieces together, then connect the final few rows.

I honestly never thought that doing this would actually be quite so efficient and quick - also it's super relaxing as you can just put your feet up and watch TV while sewing your EPP pieces together. I started working on the colour rows properly last Wednesday evening and since then have been sewing on it pretty much nonstop. So I guess being sick and on holiday from work does help a bit...

Also, I'm already wondering which might be the next EPP project that I could do, but hey, after this pillow is finished, I still have the Bee Swap item to do and that should keep me busy for another day or two ;)

That's it from me for now, do you have any sewing techniques that you are addicted to/can't stop/enjoy way too much? Do tell, I'd love to hear!

xx Lia
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