Saturday, 30 January 2016

Your New Sewing Buddy- A Hedge Hog! - Free Pin Cushion Pattern

This past weekend was my sister-in-laws birthday. In the past few months she has started sewing and I wanted to get her some of my very favourite pins. It took me years to finally treat myself to some quality pins. My favourite pins are these yellow flower head pins. They lay flat which is perfect for piecing quilt blocks together and helps maintain accuracy.

I didn't want to just give her a box of pins though, especially because she has little ones and pins are hard to keep track of. I decided to make her a pin cushion and I was definitely limited on time -- the party was in three hours and I have two kids myself to keep track of.

I did a quick google search and saw these cute hedge hog pin cushions! I knew there were some
features that were important to me in a pin cushion:
1. It needs to not roll away (why are tomato pin cushions a thing? They roll off your table!)
2. It needs to be functional (hold A LOT of pins)
3. It needs to be small enough to sit nicely in the throat of my machine
4. It needs to be soft enough for the pins to slide in without trouble. (I used corduroy once for a pin cushion... it didn't work very well)

The best part of my pin cushion? I saved my pieces and made a free pattern for you!
Open and print him out here:


Pattern Instructions and Materials 


4 small half beads (or any small plastic object for his feet)
1 small pink bead for nose (I used a small plastic pearl)
Small pieces of burlap
Small piece of brown fabric for his back
Black thread to sew on eyes
Very small amount of pink for inside of his ears
Pins of course! (They make the spikes on your hedge hog)
A handful of batting -- the fluffy kind designed to fill teddy bears)


Cut out all your fabric shapes.
      -2 burlap ear shapes, 2 pink burlap ear shapes.
      -2 burlap face triangles
      -1 burlap belly shape
      -2 fabric back pieces

To make ears - Sew (right sides together) one burlap ear shape to one pink ear shape - sew on dotted line of pattern leaving bottom open, turn right side out, repeat for two ears
To make face - Sew both triangle face shapes (right sides together) then turn right side out

To make back - take both back fabric pieces and sew along the line (right side together)  then turn right side out

The next step is to sew the face to the back - right sides together. Leave a small opening (about 1 cm) opening on either sides of the center seam. Insert the ears so that the raw edge will be contained in your seam. Then sew the head to the back again - this time it will catch the raw edges of the ears. When you flip right side out, your ears should be sew into place. The ears will need to bunch a bit to fit in the holes - this gives them a more real looking ear.

To create his body, sew the belly to the back and face - right sides together. Leave an inch opening to be able to stuff his body. Flip him right side out through the opening, then full his body (fairly full) with batting. Hand stitch to close the opening.

The last step is to embellish your little hedge hog. I added the plastic on the bottom to help him stay up without rolling away. I simply glue gunned on the four little feet where it looked appropriate. I then took some black thread and whip- stitched on some black eyes. The last piece - the little nose just got tacked on with some white thread, but you could also glue gun that little piece

And there you have it - stick your favourite pins and you have your new sewing buddy.
Why not make a family of hedge hogs and put your different pins in different cushions? If I was more organized and lived in a world where my kids got their own snacks by them self .. I would make a hedge hog family! For now, one little guy made a great birthday gift!

Thursday, 21 January 2016

Homemade Valentines - A Kindy Craft

When it comes to holidays, my oldest daughter thinks the entire house needs to be redecorated at every opportunity. Valentines is coming up and we never just send the 'fill your name in' kind. We try to use the holiday as an opportunity to sit at the table and craft together. It is these little moments I find out that my daughter misses her old school, that she loves her new gym teacher and that French is her favourite subject. I see my daughter everyday but sometimes we are so busy shuffling from one event to the next we do not really talk. Also, she is only five so sometimes the only thing she wants to talk about is eating leftover Halloween treats or negotiating more TV time. That doesn't mean homemade valentines needs to take hours or cost a lot of money.

I asked Chloe what she wanted on her Valentines this year, she declared it had to be pandas! Not just any pandas, she wanted pandas with hearts and smiles. A quick google search and I had hundreds of cartoon pandas to choose from, ready to be edited and printed out.

I really love the program "Picasa" you can download it for free here: I used this program to edit a few images of pandas that Google had supplied, imposed Chloe's name on them and made a little background. I then printed three to a sheet so that there was room to fold over the paper to make a card. Regular printer paper is just fine because the double layer will be strong enough to hold the treat we selected.

I purchased some chocolate hearts at the store, I loved the purple foil (purple is Chloe and I's favourite colour). They purple looked great with the green background on our panda cards. I bought some snack sized zip bags for less than two dollars and placed two purple hearts in each one. Then we folded the closed zip bag in half and staples our paper on top.
Chloe embellished the valentines with stickers and drew smiles on her pandas (remember she wanted them to have smiles).

This whole project took less than an hour, and cost less that five dollars. Now we get to send our homemade valentines to school and Chloe can feel proud that she put a little extra effort in for her friends!

A tip for fellow kindy parents is to not worry about putting the friends names on the valentines. If you make them all similair, put your own child's name, they can simply drop one in every friends bag without the worry that you forgot someone!

Tuesday, 19 January 2016

A Royal Baby

This baby quilt is small enough to whip up in an afternoon. It comes with a free PDF applique pattern to print, and a video showing my favourite (can't mess it up) applique method!
Finished size is 24" x 24", perfect for a tummy time blanket for any royal baby you know! Great shower gift too!
We donate this size baby quilt to the local hospital for premature babies, check your local hospital to see if they have a similar charity!

Materials (All fabrics should be cotton, if possible)
  • 24" square piece of background fabric
  • 4 - 6.5" squares of contrasting fabric for corner triangles.
  • 1 - 10" square of gold fabric for crown applique shape
  • 1 small strip/scrap of colourful fabric for circle applique shapes
  • 1 small strip/scrap of colourful fabric for the diamond applique shapes
  • 26" square of fabric for backing
  • 26" square of batting (any kind, I prefer cotton batting)
  • 2 packages of double fold bias tape for binding
Tools/other materials
  • Fabric scissors
  • Paper scissors (to cut out applique shape)
  • Printer (to print applique pattern)
  • Iron
  • Sewing machine
  • 505 Basting Spray (or any other fabric spray temporary adhesive)
  • Glue stick (regular school glue such as Elmers)
  • Hand Sewing needle
  • Thread

Preparing your Fabric

First thing to do is to iron out all your fabrics, no wrinkles or creases will ensure a better finished product.
Now you need to print out the applique shapes included with this pattern.
Click the link HERE to open up the PDF. When printing, make sure your printer does not scale the image, this will ensure the proper size for your applique.
After printing your applique, place them onto your fabric (right side up) and cut out the shapes. The 1/4" seam allowance is already on the printed shape, so you simply cut out the shape as is.
You should end up with 1 crown, 1 large circle, 2 small circles and 4 diamonds.

The Triangle Corners

We are going to be using the 'snowball' technique to create the triangle corners on our quilt.
Using a hot iron, press the 6.5" squares in half, right sides together. When you open the fabric back up, a crease line will be easily visible across the square.
Now we place the squares in the corners of our quilt. Right sides of the fabric together. You need to place them in a way so that the crease line is going diagonally across the the fabric (see picture). Pin the squares down and sew on the creased line.
Once sewn, use scissors and trim off the excess fabric (see picture). Now open up the triangle corners and press seams. Repeat for all four corners.


My applique process uses two of my favourite sewing tools, basting spray and a regular glue stick. Both products will wash out of your quilt completely the first time it is washed, so do not hesitate to use them. If you are using a lot of spray baste, you may want to be in a well ventilated area so you do not breathe it in. Having a window open was sufficient for the small amount I use on this quilt.
To start, take your shape, for example, the crown. With the wrong side of the fabric up, use your glue stick and spread glue all around the edges. Now, fold a 1/4" of the fabric over and stick it down with the glue. Keep going until all edges of your shape have a 1/4" folded in.
With your background fabric smooth and ready nearby, it is time to apply some spray baste. I like to put an old towel on my work surface to protect my table, then with my applique pieces wrong side up, I spray the basting glue onto the fabric. Then, take your applique pieces and stick them where you would like them on your background fabric. You can follow the title picture as a guide to place your pieces in the correct spot. The great thing about spray baste is that it is not permanent, feel free to peel it up and re position if you need.
When your applique pieces are in the spot you want them to be, thread your hand sewing needle and sew all around the edges to permanently attach them to your quilt. I sew a hidden stitch on my applique (basically enter your needle slightly on the back of the applique piece, and do not go through the top of your applique). You could also machine applique with your sewing machine.

Quilting this Baby Quilt

My favourite way to baste projects is to use 505 Basting Spray. You can use any temporary basting spray you like, as long as it is temporary and will wash out in the washing machine.

To start, press your backing fabric, spread it out on a clean hard surface, wrong side facing up. Now using masking tape, secure it to your surface.
Apply your spray basting glue, and lay your batting on top. Smooth out the batting so there are no wrinkles.

Take the wrong side of your quilt top and apply the spray basting glue, then flip it over and place in on top of the batting. This creates a sandwich effect of three layers, which become your quilt.
For quilting this quilt, I decided to straight line quilt around the edges. I quilted 5 lines, an inch and a half apart start from the outer edge. Then, leaving a large square in the center unquilted, I echoed the applique design. For the triangle corners, I echoed the triangle shape inside twice.

Sunday, 10 January 2016

Beginner Chunky Chevron Lap Quilt

Hey folks, this quilt tutorial will live here on the homepage but will be moving to a new "Tutorials" button within the coming weeks! (so much content, so little time).

I love this quilt -- it honestly takes less than an afternoon to put together. The colours are totally up to you, they could be contrasting, but they don't have to be. This quilt would look good I believe with any three fabrics - hey, lets be crazy make it more than three! Important part is to have fun! Make a quilt!

  • From each of your three fabrics you need to cut 10 squares.
  • Each piece should measure 10.5" square.

  • On all 10 of the white squares, and 5 of the yellow squares, you need to mark a diagonal line on the wrong side of your fabric.
  • Using a quilting ruler is a great way, and the ink can be permanent. The drawn line will be hidden in the seam allowance, it will not show in your quilt.

You need to pin your fabric with right sides together.
5 white squares to 5 yellow (unmarked) squares
5 white squares to 5 grey squares
5 marked yellow squares to 5 grey squares.

Sewing your blocks (The best part!)
Now you need to sew a 1/4" seam on either side of the line that we had drawn down the middle of our pinned squares.

Once you have sewn down either side of the line, use the drawn line as a cutting guide and split the sewn blocks in half! Press with your iron to open up the 2 squares you have created.
Sew all 15 blocks, and cut down the middle to make 30 blocks.

Now that you have sewn your blocks, start assembling them into rows.

Use the title picture of the quilt as a layout.
Sew your vertical rows, then join your rows together to finish your quilt top.
I like to use pins during this stage to keep my rows from shifting around while I sew.

Tuesday, 5 January 2016

Making Holiday Memories with Intention

Good- very cold - morning! Its a chilly -17 out today and I really wish the garbage would take itself out. We are finally winding down from all the fun events the holiday brought to our family. In the last few years we have started some family traditions of our own (our family only being 5 years old) and it got me to thinking about traditions.

Matching dresses Christmas Day

When you are little, traditional activities like Christmas cookies, cards, movies to watch and places to visit, all just happened at the holidays. It was effortless, it was magical, you could just feel it. It isn't until we are much older we realize that all those special things took effort from someone. These activities and traditions took intention - an intention to create memories, and intention to pass on ideas to the next generation. As a mom, this en devour lands on my plate.

We take our family to Parc Omega every year (a few times a year actually) but always once between Christmas and New Years. There is something about a giant Wapiti (type of large deer) sticking its slobbery nose in your car for a big carrot that makes everybody laugh. I really have a passion for nature and animals. I feel that the more children are exposed to nature and animals, the more they will make healthy choices for themselves and their planet. The more we understand nature, we understand that we are a part of nature. 

So even though this meant packing up the kids, packing food, budgeting the activity, messing up our nap schedule, it did not bother me. These are memories. This was going great -- but then my husband decided he had some intentions and traditions to create too. My lovely husband decided he would get our daughter excited for skiing this year! So I am all.... "Yay! Physical activity! Showing bravery! Being outdoors! Learning things together!!".... Unfortunately I am terrified of skiing! 

We survived our Camp Fortune ski trip!
This put me in a bit of pickle... I had to put my money where my mouth was. It is 2016 after all, it is a great time to conquer a fear, be healthier, spend time with family... all good new year type of stuff. So I am happy to report that we had an amazing time and I definitely conquered my fear! We got the little one babysat and spent a whole day with our big girl (a blessing in itself!). 

So basically I am writing today about setting a positive intention for your family - put effort into making memories, into making traditions. Your children may never thank you, but when they have families of their own, they just might keep that positive intention and actions going. I will be so sad the day the I have to drive to the reindeer park by myself and look a little crazy clapping as I usher over giant deer with my carrot!

Enjoy the new year! Lots of quilting coming up next week when I show you some awesome family projects I have started, a wool coat that is free motion quilted and a free paper piecing project with a local Ontario theme!

Coming up: