Friday, 21 March 2014

Happy World Down Syndrome Day!

I just wanted to share with you all a couple of videos that are especially important today.

Today (21.3.14) is World Down Syndrome Day and of course we celebrate this enormously in our family to show our appreciation of our how our family has been so positively affected by Down Syndrome.

Holly our eldest has Down Syndrome.

 She attends an amazing facility called Shabang here in Huddersfield and the Up Club kids have made this awesome video explaining how Down Syndrome occurs. Please watch it's fantastic. 


A friend of mine also shared this video on my Facebook wall, its so amazing it made me sob!

We feel truly honoured to have Holly as our daughter, she is amazing and inspires me daily, without her and the obstacles we've overcome since having her I can truly say I would not be the person I am today. She makes me a better person.

If you can please support the work of the Down Syndrome Association here in the UK.

TEXT: SOCK77 £1 (or however much you want to donate!)
to 70070

Thanks so much xxxx

Monday, 17 March 2014

a little Amitie giveaway!

So you all know I'm a huge fan of bright, eclectic fabrics right? You also realise I'm not afraid of colour or pattern clashes and that I love love love unusual fabrics? Good!

Well here's one way that I indulge my fabric obsession and it helps me tick all the above boxes - woop!

It's the Amitie Textiles bi-monthly stash club! You receive 16 fabrics plus directions on how to make a different quilt block every time! The fabrics are all Fat 16th cuts and fill me with joy, Every. Single. Time.

Amitie are a super awesome fabric shop from Australia (don't worry they ship worldwide) who have the most amazing collection of fabric and patterns. I'm sure you will have seen around the interweb quilts like these:

Midnight At The Oasis - Jen Kingwell

Steam Punk - Jen Kingwell

I love them all so much don't you?

You can find Amitie on IG & Twitter with the following tag @amitie_textiles and I really urge you to go and follow them as they post the most brilliant pictures of fabric and quilts.

The lovely ladies over at Amitie have given me a stash club bundle to give away to one lucky reader so if you'd like to win the bundle pictured above just leave me a comment telling me what you'd make with it and I'll pick a winner on Friday 21st March. 

{Closing time for giveaway is noon 21.3.14. Winner picked by Random.Org}

Monday, 10 March 2014

a grand weekend!

The weather here in Yorkshire over the weekend has been like a breath of fresh air! Seriously Spring like which makes for a happy Justine, don't you find that you get lots more done when the sun shines? I know I do.

The weekend saw lots of fun occurring round these parts. Firstly I made a great start on sewing a bag pattern that I've wanted to try for ages, The 241 Tote by the lovely Anna of Noodlehead fame.

Here's where I started on Saturday morning

Fabric on bolts from my shop Simply Solids
And by Sunday afternoon here's where I was at

{requires pressing}

I've also constructed the lining complete with pocket and I'm just waiting on magnetic bag fasteners arriving before I finish this gorgeous, quick and easy bag! As ever the instructions from Anna are so easy to follow, even for a bag making novice like me!

I was only sewing in short bursts over the weekend as I was spring cleaning and wanted to hang out with the kiddos too. We took a walk around a great local park on Sunday:

The sun was out and the first ice-creams of the year enjoyed. It was lovely to see Holly & Max helping Hunter on the playground equipment and watching the little fella's growing confidence in his own abilities. He's growing up way too fast!

Finally this weekend the hubby and I watched a hair raising few hours of TV on Saturday night. A couple of good friends of ours were performing live on TV, in separate events! 

First up was Danny 'The Cheesecake Assasian' Mitchell making his UFC debut at the O2 Arena in London.

This was one of the most gut wrenching things I've ever watched and I'm no stranger to MMA!! Danny went the full 3 rounds and lost on points but what a debut!! Awesome stuff, Max was screaming instructions at the TV which was very funny!!

Second up was the gorgeous Georgia, a good friend of mine who is competing in this series of 'The Voice UK'. Thankfully she won her battle and is through to next weeks knockouts!

I hope you all had a great weekend too!

Monday, 17 February 2014


Quick! head over to Facebook and more importantly to the Love Patchwork and Quilting page where you can enter to win a FQ stack of Kona Solids from my shop Simply Solids

Go on then what are you waiting for!!!

Friday, 14 February 2014

new beginnings!

I'm so excited to tell you that my little shop Simply Solids has had a massive 

Head over there now and see what you think and feel free to use code: valentine for 15% off everything all weekend as a thank-you for your continued support!

PS: Don't forget to check out the shops new blog page for more exciting news whilst you're there!

Tuesday, 11 February 2014

Hadley's Simple Tote Tutorial

So here she is the lovely Hadley with the first Team Simply Solids tutorial! All photo's are courtesy of Hadley..........

When Justine, oh she of fab tattoos, cute kids and an awesome online fabric store, asked if I would like to be part of the Simply Solids Blogging Team, I said yes, no hesitation; do I look daft?!

So here I am, and really excited to show you what I got up to with the lovely bundle of Pearl Bracelets that Justine sent me to play with.

First up I made something that had been on my 'want to make' list for a long time, a Tallahassee block mini quilt.  The paper piecing templates are free to download from the awesome resource that is Quilter's Cache.

I supplemented the Pearl Bracelet bundle with a few more Kona solids and a little Sketch, all available from Simply Solids, and got stitching.

These have to be the easiest paper-piecing blocks in the world, and they came together so beautifully.

I used a couple more solids for the back, and Kona Ash to bind it, and I love how this little (18") mini turned out.

Now all those lovely prints cut into small pieces look great, but I also wanted to showcase a larger piece, with whole bracelets, and what better way than a simple tote bag?

Here's how I made mine...

2 x 13.5 x 6,5" Pearl Bracelets
2 x 13.5 x 5" Essex Linen - natural (a)
2 x 11" x 3.5" Essex Linen - natural (b)
2 x 13" x 2" Essex Linen - natural (c)
2 x 13" x 1" cotton webbing
2 x 13" fusible hemming web
2 x 11" x 10.5" Kona in Sprout
2 x 14" x 12" cotton batting

Make the lining by joining the linen panels (b) to the Kona Sprout, press seams to the linen and top stitch close to the seam.  Repeat.

Place the two lining pieces right side together, matching the seams at the sides; stitch 1/4" round 3 sides, leaving the top edge open, and a 4" gap in the bottom for turning.  Clip the corners.

Join the long side of a Pearl Bracelets panel to the long side of one large linen pieces (a); repeat for the other panel, but reverse the placement so the Bracelets are on the opposite side of the linen to the first panel.  Press seams to the linen side.

Place each panel onto a piece of wadding, press, it will help hold it in place.  Top stitch 1/8" and 1/2" on the linen side of the seam.

Top stitch c. 1/8" round the edge to secure in place, then trim the wadding to the same size as the panel.

To make the handles, press the linen pieces (c) in lengthwise 1/2" along both sides to the middle.  Place the hemming web between the linen and the webbing and fuse with a hot iron.  Top stitch to secure c. 1/4" along each long edge.

Pin the handles to the top edges of the bag panels, c. 4" apart; make sure to measure 2" equally from the centre of the panel, remembering the panel seam is off centre; and make sure they are aligned so the handles are both exactly the same length.  Secure with a couple of rows of stitches 1/8" from the edge.

Place the panels right sides together and join using 1/4"seam around 3 sides, leaving the top open, and then clip the corners.

Turn the lining right side out, press and then place into the bag outer so the right sides are together, side seams aligned and the handles are tucked inside.  Pin or clip in place and stitch around the top edge with a 1/2" seam.

Turn out through the gap in the lining, stitch the gap closed by your preferred method, then press the tote before finally top stitching 3/8" around the top opening.

I think these instructions took longer to write than the tote took to make, so this really is a quick make, ideal for an emergency gift or just a feel good bit of sewing.

Thank you Justine for letting me play; I am looking forward to coming back again later in the year. xxx

So if you liked this tutorial please do pop over to Hadley's blog and say hello wont you?

To celebrate this tutorial Pearl Bracelets will be 15% off at Simply Solids for 1 week only! No code required! Expires Mon 17th Feb 2014.

Sunday, 9 February 2014

Hello Blogging Team!

A new and exciting team of bloggers is set to take over my blog once a month and help me spread the word about my shop Simply Solids! You'll find tutorials and projects galore all made with goodies from the shop as well as updates on new stock and creative happenings - exciting right!

Well today I want to introduce you to the first member of 'Team Simply Solids'

Hadley Gordon

photo courtesy of Hadley
When asked for some blurb about herself Hadley said: 

'Oh blimey - making something up to say!!  Mum of 3, fabric hoarder, hexie lover and Brit Bee!  Started quilting and blogging 3 1/2 years ago, and have developed an unhealthy obsession with Denyse Schmidt and Heather Ross in that time.  Love making quilts, bags, pouches and cushions.  I blog almost daily about all my makes with a sprinkling of family life.'

You can find Hadley here: 
Instagram: mrsflyingblind
Twitter: @MrsFlyingBlind

I'll be introducing other members of the team over the next couple of weeks and watch out for Hadley's first post coming this week!

Wednesday, 5 February 2014

Stash Club Project by Made Peachy

If you're looking for a little inspiration for your stash club bundles head on over to see Laura at Made Peachy!

She's made up some great patchwork coasters for a tutorial that has gone live on the Sewing Directory this morning!

photo courtesy of Laura

If you'd like to find out more about the Simply Solids Stash Club please head over to the shop here!

Thursday, 30 January 2014

January's Stash Club

Here it is, the first stash club bundle of 2014!

January's colour is dark greens and here's the yummy selection we've chosen for you.

At the top of the photo are the four textured basics which are (L-R) Essex Linen in Kelly, Michael Miller Stitch Circle in Olive, Studio E Peppered Cotton in Begonia Leaf and Michael Miller Ta Dot in Moss.

The bottom of the photo shows the three Kona Cotton Solids (L-R) Avocado, Peridot and Holly

There's still chance to receive this bundle if you sign up to Stash Club before the 1st Feb, any sign ups made after this time will begin with Feb's bundle.

Sunday, 26 January 2014


Have you all seen this years block along? It's the Economy Block!

This time last year it was the #scrappytripalong that took the quilting world by storm and this years #economyblockalong is just as much fun!

I've decided to make 12" blocks that are so quick and easy to whip up, I'm going for a 6x6 block layout so need 36 blocks in total.

Here are the first four blocks I made

I'm going for bold and bright on this quilt can you tell!

Here are the measurements I used to make the blocks, courtesy of Katy who blogs at I'm A Ginger Monkey

courtesy of Katy Jones

Here are more of the blocks I've made so far:

If you'd like to see more of the #economyblockalong quilts been made do check out the hashtag on IG, there are blocks in a variety of sizes and instructions on how to make the blocks too!

I love the New Year for a bit of no obligation sewing don't you?

Friday, 24 January 2014

Quilt Improv Winner......

Mr helped me choose a winner out of the 66 entrants, so here goes.........

Comment number 28.

I've notified the winner and the publishers will send a copy of the book direct!

Wednesday, 15 January 2014


Way back in November last year, I launched the #scraptasticchallenge with Lu Summers kicking off the proceedings with a great tutorial for scrappy patches.

The idea was each month we'd have an idea/tutorial on the blog for using one of the Kona scrap packs sold over in my shop Simply Solids. Lu started the proceedings and then you lovely readers who wanted the chance to win a scrap pack and your tutorial to be shown on the blog, had to leave a comment telling me what you'd make and I would then choose a winner. The trouble is Christmas got in the way and I kind of forgot!! Ha!!

So my very sweet and kind best buddy of I'm A Ginger Monkey Fame has whipped together another super fast make using Kona scraps.

This is how she told me what she'd done!

That's right she text me this gorgeous selfie!

Here's a quick how to:

Hexagon Flower Applique Baby Towel

Firstly you need to grab your scraps and some Hexagon papers, whatever size you have is OK, Katy used 1" hexagons on this project.

You need the supplies for your required method of basting the hexies

You need 1 hooded baby towel


1. Looking at the following photo collages, choose how you're going to baste your 7 hexagons

The glue baste method detailed above is much easier and faster, especially for a quick project like this one. Find Sewline Glue Pens here at Simply Solids

The traditional sewn basting method is shown below

2. Once your 7 hexagons are basted you need to stitch them together in a flower shape. Use the photo guide below to help you.

3. Give your hexagon flower a good press and remove the papers either by gently pulling them out if you've glue basted or by snipping the basting stitches and basting threads if you stitched the papers in.

4. Centre your flower on the hood area of the baby towel and pin in place

5. Machine applique the hexagon flower to the towel using a scant seam allowance.

6. Stand back and admire your handiwork!

all photos courtesy of Katy Jones in this post

Thanks Katy for this cute make!!

Right then all I need to do now is pick a winner from the last post who will receive a scrap pack from me and have a month to make their make and get a tutorial featured here!!

Winner: Kelly  (quilted table mat)

If you'd like the chance to win a scrap pack please leave a comment below telling me what you'd make with one! The winner will be announced 1 month from now when the next how to is posted! Good Luck!

Monday, 13 January 2014

Quilt Improv

 I can't tell you how excited I am it's my turn to play host to Lu's blog hop!

Lu's work is something that I have admired since I began quilting about 4 years ago and I'm priviledged that she is now also a very good friend 'in real life'! Her quilts truly make my heart sing, all that colour is just beautiful.

photo from Quilt Improv

photo from Quilt Improv

I've had Lu's book since it was released over the summer and it's just beautiful. The layout, diagrams and instructions are a breeze to follow, the whole thing is a visual treat which is great if you're a visual learner like me! I love how there are no exact measurements just approximations, it allows your creativity to flow rather than being hankered following a pattern exactly. The colour, font and instruction style are like no other quilting book I've seen, I was drawn in immediately and I have honestly spent hours with this book!

photo from Quilt Improv

I took Lu's improv class at the Fat Quarterly retreat in London over the summer which was a great place to begin to learn the techniques Lu uses to create her awesome quilts. The book has been invaluable in continuing this learning and I'm having great fun practicing!

The chevron and porthole blocks are 12" square finished and when I've added 2 more blocks I'll turn them into a nice big cushion for Hunter's bedroom which like the blocks I've made, is also a mix of solids and Lu's first fabric line for Moda - Summersville.

I really urge you to check out the other posts in the blog hop, there are interviews, book reviews and lots of great projects to see as well as more giveaway opportunities! Please head on over to the stitch craft create website where you'll find all the details. Trust me there are all sorts of awesome sewers and quilters taking part!

Now for the exciting part: F&W media the fabulous publishers behind Lu's book are offering one lucky reader the chance to win a copy of this super book. Even better the giveaway is open to both UK and International readers, all you need to do is leave a comment below. Simples. I'll choose a winner via on the evening of Wednesday 15th Jan 2014.

Good Luck!

Thursday, 9 January 2014


Friends are really important aren't they? 

I have a really close knit group of sewing friends whom I would literally do anything for, they are honestly like an extention of my family unit. My kids know them and I theirs, my hubby knows them and I theirs, you get the picture right?!

The only problem with this little family of sewers is that we are far flung, not only in this country but across the pond too so getting us all in the same place at the same time takes planning, serious planning.

Well it happened in the New Year, oh yeah!

Katy, Laura and myself headed to London to meet up with the other man in our lives our bestest buddy John. Woop!

We spent a day hanging out in cafe's, bars and Winter Wonderland at Hyde Park. 

John, Laura, Patrick & Myself

Awesome rides at Winter Wonderland

This ride was soooo high!

Patrick & John

Laura & Katy
We had the best time catching up and just hanging out together, seeing these guys really gives me a renewed passion for life and sparks my creativity, my hubby says I'm like a different person when I get home, like all the stress of everyday life has just drained away, I tell him it's just the Gin hehe!

This happy happy start to 2014 has left me whirring with ideas, a 'To Do' list as long as my arm and a passion for blogging it all so keep your eyes peeled for lots of exciting things coming up on the blog soon!

Happy Friendships xxxx
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