Pixie Noel Blog Hop - 12 days advent calendar

It's another Christmas craft today with one of my most favourite designers, Tasha Noel's new fabric collection Pixie Noel by Riley Blake Designs. I was eyeing on these adorable fabrics for a long time so I couldn't be happier when dear Tasha asked me to join her blog hop. In fact, I was very elated!

I am not shy to say I have all of Tasha's previous collections too. I love her drawings. My kids too. They always ask if I can make something for them with all her cute fabrics. Pixie Noel, in particular, is their favourite. The bunnies, reindeers, stockings, pixies on sledges and snow covered christmas trees. Oh well.

This time, I planned to make an advent calendar and I did. Twenty-five fussy cut pockets on a big red polka dot linen. When I finished sewing, I wasn't quite happy with it. It was too big and clumsy for my liking. I mean, I always prefer something smaller and more zakka style. So out of impulse, I snipped it into a simpler version of a twelve days advent calendar.

Here it is, Pixie Noel 12 days advent calendar! Oh, remember the song "12 days of Christmas"? 12 days before and after Christmas?? Oh my, now it becomes so versatile!

I added little details like fabric tags, doily and lace. And christmas-sy green pom poms to make it like a banner. The sides are intentionally without binding to keep the edges raw. There is no interfacing/batting as well. So free and easy just the zakka way I love it.

See the alphabet stamps for the numbering of pockets? 

My plan was to find a branch to hang the calendar but obviously I could not. The wooden hanger in the wardrobe caught my sight and I quickly cut strips of fabrics to wrap around it using mod podge as glue. Well, it was the best decision ever! The ribbon was a discarded lace found in the stash box. I'm glad it wasn't thrown away previously!

Christmas is indeed the most wonderful time of the year and I am so happy to be already done with quite a few Christmas sewing in summer. Including this Pixie Noel Twelve Days Advent Calendar! Come on, Christmas! I am so ready for you!xx

ps. thirteen remaining pockets snipped away and what should I do with them?>.<

Holiday Wishes Quilt Along by Fat Quarter Shop

Christmas in July? Can you imagine that? I know it's so hard to feel Christmas right now with the super hot weather and tanks and shorts and flip-flops. But I think this new quilt along will bring you straight into the Christmas mood if you sew together with us!

Fat Quarter Shop was very kind to send me a copy of "Holiday Wishes" book by Sherri Falls. It's an amazing book with 12 different projects to sew for Christmas, from cozy pretty quilts to table runners to tree skirt. There's something to sew for everyone to gift and share!

It was so hard to choose just one thing to sew in the book. When I finally decided to make "Comfort & Joy Mini" Christmas project, I realised that there isn't many Christmassy fabrics in my shelves. I wanted to use 1930s reproduction fabrics but they did not quite stand out for this joyful sewing. Then I thought, hey, there is the very colourful and happy Flower Sugar (by Lecien) that I collected for so many years! So I rushed to take out the big bag (yes I put the same collection in the same bag) and smiled the biggest smile. They are just perfect for this sewing.

So this is my Comfort & Joy Mini!

The vibrant colors and prints make this mini quilt extra cheerful! My kids all love this and kept asking me to hang it up the wall! ^_^

The cutting instructions were confusing to me initially because I'm not used to labelling and reading in alphabets. It was so tough to relate the cutting to sewing by just reading through. So I dragged making it for some time. Until the night before, I decided to start cutting the fabrics because time was running out. I diligently labelled all the patchwork pieces as in the instructions. This step is so important and I'm glad I didn't skip it.

The next day when I started sewing, I was so surprised it took only one hour to piece the mini quilt top together. Only one hour! Just in time for two Elmo shows to end for my kids! It was a total breeze sewing with the labelled pieces. No squaring up at all. Everything just fits as it was to be. It was a very happy sewing because I'm so lazy to trim while sewing.

To make sure it's a mini quilt made from all Flower Sugar fabric, I had to rummage through my stash and was SO lucky to find the one and only piece that was just big enough to be the backing.

The wavy quilt was a last minute decision all because I wanted to quilt in the fastest way. So I'm very thankful for machine quilting this time! However, my machine quilting skill is not fantastic so it made the mini quilt wonky. I was sad at first but since there was no time to waste, I continued to quilt in the same way till the end. And it turned out so much better than I expected! It was a win-win! The mini quilt looks wonky but in a joyful way that it looks like it's dancing!

I love the gingham binding so much too that I was still happy even though there was only a fat eighth of it! I tried piecing them together so it does not look mismatched.

All in all, this is one sewing I truly enjoy and it looks so good on the wall even now it's not Christmas yet. It's the fastest sewing for me using a pattern. And one of the prettiest thing on my wall right now. xx

Little Geese Satchel

Now that I am clearing up pictures in my computer (so so so messy!), I found many photos of pretty stuff I sew a while back before moving to Thailand. One of the things I made was the Little Geese Satchel. Boy, I tell you, it was so much enjoyment making this amidst all the craziness packing up for moving! I remembered locking myself up in the bedroom for two days just to sew this satchel in peace while watching my favourite Korean drama.

My dear friend, Kristyne from Pretty by Hand, was very kind to send me this pattern quite some time ago. I mean, a long long time ago. You know she writes amazing patterns that are clear and straightforward? I don't have a good sense of analysis so it helps a lot when the instructions are easy to understand. This is the second pattern from her that I tried. The first one is this.

I used sweet Tasha Noel's Vintage Market fabrics from Riley Blake Designs to make the satchel. I think the fabrics and pattern fit perfectly together. The prints make the satchel look really nice and adorable.

My first time sewing flying geese using Kristine's method in her pattern. I usually handsew so I'm very happy to learn a new and much faster way to sew the "geese" together.

I added a few of my favourite embellishments like doily, lace and fabric tag.

My daughter has claimed it as her art bag once I finished sewing it. Inside she puts her sketchbook, colour pencils, stationery box and brings it everywhere. It's just the right size for her and she loves it so much! xx

Pretty Playtime Quilt Along Week 3: Bow Block

Hope everyone has made your first Dragonfly block from our Pretty Playtime Quilt Along. If not, hop over to Erin's blog to read about her pretty version of the block. I simply love her fabric choices and fantastic sewing. 

This week I'll be sharing the Bow Block and well, I really had a good time sewing the bows! First, they are very pretty and dainty. Secondly, it has been such a long time since I sew with my sewing machine! It must have missed me a lot so it was a breeze for me to make the block. I am so happy to be sewing with my machine again.

I had a tough time choosing the fabrics because this talented Elea Lutz has designed so many beautiful fabrics so it was so hard to choose just four. After much procrastinating, I selected two from Elea's previous collection "Milk, Sugar & Flower" and remaining two from her current collection "Strawberry Biscuit" (Thank you Julia from Riley Blake Designs for the really speedy posting of the Strawberry Biscuit fabrics!).

Here's my Block 2: Bow Block. It's a bright and cheerful block with my favourite blue, yellow, turquoise and pink!

Sewing the block was not difficult. The instructions are clear and understandable. Since the four bows are the same, it makes sewing so much simpler too!

The top bow units were made pretty fast. I pressed all the seams towards the bow.

I was a little confused when sewing with the streamers units. I overlooked the template on the next page since I was too eager to start sewing. So it took me some time to figure out how to trim the streamers. I printed out the template, cut and glued it on a rather thick cardboard before cutting it out again for easier rotary cutting.

Well, when I got everything sorted out, the rest of the sewing came together so quickly that I could hardly stop. I just sew and sew till the block was completed! I'm really so thankful to learn new techniques with rotary cutting and fabric assembly to make the streamers since handsewing is a whole lot different. It was an eye opener and so much fun seriously!


How I pressed the seams for the whole bow block.

And so, this is my version of the block versus Elea's one in the book. This book is truly wonderful. I think I'm going to make every block to learn something new each time. 

Thank you Fat Quarter Shop for asking me to join this quilt along. Every week there will be a blogger to share her block. Here's the list of fabulous bloggers participating in this Pretty Playtime Quilt Along:

Week 2 - Erin from Why Not Sew?
Week 3 - Wynn from Zakka Art

Week 4 - Anorian from Samelia's Mum

Week 5 - Amy from Diary of a Quilter

Week 6 - Renee from Sewn with Grace

Week 7 - Jemima from Tied with a Ribbon

Week 8 - Amanda from Jedi Craft Girl
Week 9 - Debbie from Happy Little Cottage
Week 10 - Tina from Emily Ann's Kloset
Week 11 - Erica from Kitchen Table Quilting
Week 12 - Kristyne from Pretty by Hand
Week 13 - Heidi from Fabric Mutt
Week 14 - Brigitte from The Family Hearth
Week 15 - Lorrie from Sew Mod Designs
Week 16 - Kristin from They Grow Up Too Fast

You can get the Pretty Playtime Quilts book here. Come, sew together with us! xx

A Spoonful Of Sugar Blog Tour

When Lisa sent me a mail about her new book, I was very excited and happy at the same time. The cover was beautifully designed with a catchy word "zakka" right in the middle. It must be a book for me I thought. And indeed, this book is filled with beautiful pictures and amazing projects that you will find it hard to resist making one or more stuff.

A Spoonful of Sugar (same as Lisa's nick in instagram) consists of 20 simple sewing projects that are even suitable for handsewing! In fact, I realised ALL projects in this book are great for completely handsewing if you wish to try.

I had wanted to make the Zakka Dilly Bag with the pretty crochet bottom so I can put yarns in while on road trip but I changed my mind after seeing the cute little panda pouch.

And thankfully, I brought along one pack of purse flex frames with me after moving here. It was such a lucky find! These flex frames can be bought from Daiso with various lengths.

And, here's my version of Pretty Panda Snap Purse! Doesn't it look adorable? I used a different color instead of black and white for panda. I was thinking: "How cute is a purple panda!" But when I finished my last stitch, I was surprised to see that my pouch looks like a little puppy rather than Lisa's version of a panda. I had to laugh out really loud. Is it because of the color? or the mouth? or the floppy ears? I'm not so sure. When I showed my kids and asked what animal do they see, they all answered "PANDA!" And then, I heaved a sigh of relief!

For this pouch, I did "lazy handsewing" as I term my own sewing method. It means it doesn't follow the traditional Japanese way of handsewing since it will take a much longer time and patience which I lack in both. So here's what I always do, for example the ears (or fabrics without added interfacing):

1. Cut out the paper template and glue it on a recycled cardboard. Cut again so you get a rather sturdy hard template.
2. Choose your fabric and place them right sides together. Draw the template on just one side. Then, pin both fabrics together and start stitching on the drawn line. Trim to 1/4" seam allowance (I usually "eye-ball" the allowance  instead of measuring. It's so much faster).

Lisa suggested using spray starch and iron for the eyes and ears. I have never used her method but I think it's a quick and efficient way. I sew the traditional way of continuous stitching and pulling the thread to gather the fabric. Just like sewing yo-yos.

For the ears, I did a little stuffing to make the ears soft and squashy. 

I even added a fabric tag at the back of the purse. Because it's so much love!

The inside of the purse is spacious enough for a lippy, money, keys or other small daily necessities. Very useful and functional. 

This face is so adorable and irresistible, isn't it? I heart his innocent eyes and gentle smile.

All in all, I really love this Pretty Panda Snap Purse pattern. The instructions are straightforward and easy to follow. I handsew it entirely and it only took me four hours from start to finish. Simple yet very satisfying. Well, I'm ready to make another one very soon! xxx