Paper piecing love - Animal Quilts.

I love paper piecing! I would say that it is definitely my favorite form of piecing. There is a certain precision that paper piecing gives that is hard to achieve in traditional quilt piecing. Its also a technique that I can't rush - Thats a good thing!

I have always been stalking (in a good way) the work of Juliet Van De Heijden alias @Tartankiwi and when I saw her posting some sneaky peeks of her upcoming book and in particular the Night Owl quilt I was literally freaking out and had to immediately pre order a copy! I knew that I just had to make that Owl and was counting down the days until the book release!

  Fast forward to a few weeks ago when I was contacted to make a project from her book for the Animal Quilts Blog Hop. Talk about a dream come true! 

When it came to making it I was surprised at the scale, it is large but not so large that it is challenging to work with.

My first step is always to select my color palette. I choose my fabric colors and create a swatch page for reference. I then roughly match each color with a marker and color a little swatch on each section of the main pieces. This really helps keep things on track and stops me from making mistakes when I am sewing and watching Netflix at the same time!

When it comes to sewing the sections together I will often baste major seams just to check that things are lined up well. there is nothing worse that seam ripping a seam of tiny stitches, It is so easy for things to shift when sewing that basting acts as a safeguard!

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Putting this quilt together was fairly simple and just requires patience and a good podcast and you will absolutely love the results! I used rulers and a long arm to quilt the owl body and my sewing machine to quilt the background with a kind of matchstick wave. I loved how it turned out!

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I absolutely cannot wait to get started on another  pattern from this book! You can find Animal Quilts here and pop over and take a closer look at Juliet's website,  The Tartan Kiwi.

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Don't forget to visit Chris over at Made by Chrissie D for day 3 of the Blog Hop!

Happy Piecing!

 

 

 

Mother's Day Awards

Mother's Day is all about celebrating our lovely Mums. Sometimes I think Mum's don't get all the pomp and fanfare that they deserve. I came up with the perfect way for you to celebrate your favorite lady with these easy to make award pins. You can embroider a sweet message and spread the Mother's Day love!

My New Book - and a giveaway!!

Congrats Jessica Miller!! A book is heading your way!! Thank you!

 

I am super excited to show you my newest book, We Love to Sew Gifts! This fun and easy sewing book is jam packed with easy to follow sewing projects to make gifts  for all of your favorite people (bunnies included)

I love that Hubbie, Ruby and all our pets made an appearance in this book and that my sweet friend Rebecca Ringquist wrote a super lovely lovely piece about gift giving in the front of the book!

I am so excited about it that I am giving away a signed copy. Simply leave a comment and you will be entered to win! Easy right?

I will choose one random winner on Monday March 30!

Inspired by Penelope.

At the end of last year, I finally decided to act on a dream I had for ever. The dream was to convert an old camper into a gorgeous mobile sewing studio. I spend what felt like forever looking at ads and listings for old trailers and calculating how much money and elbow grease would be required to make the inside just perfect. In the end , I can across a man who actually builds the trailers from scratch to look like those gorgeous old Shasta trailers that I had be coveting.

After much back and forth and conversations about whether this was the right thing to do, what color should it be, what should I name her, we finally decided to go ahead and in December, Penelope was delivered to my door.

We donned her with pompoms for the local Christmas parade and since then she has sat patiently in my driveway waiting for this horrid Winter to end so that we can get started transforming the inside into a lovely little sewing haven. Last week we finished painting the inside a perfectly glossy white and hubbie installed a wood laminate floor. I cannot wait to show you how she progresses over the next few weeks!

In the meantime, I was so inspired by her cool retro style and simple lines, that I designed a sweet Penelope pillow for all my students to work on in class. I was really excited with how they all turned out, all so different and unique!

A Handmade Holiday

I love this time of the year, there is this feeling in the air…a bit of excitement mixed with possibility for the year ahead.

Almost a year ago I opened my studio in it's new location, the thing that attracted me the most to the space were the big old windows and all the possibilities for window displays. I love that you can really express who you are as a business through your windows.

I knew that I wanted a handmade Holiday themed Christmas window so went for a subdued color palette (very unusual for me) and a lot of paper and texture.

As the Holidays approach, I feel so incredibly privileged to be able to have a space to teach all these amazing children and to pass on my love of Handmade to them!

Happy Holidays

Annabel xo

Arrowmont memories

You may remember last year I went to Penland School of Craft to take an embroidery class from the super talented and equally as lovely Rebecca Ringquist. It was a pretty life changing experience then and it was again last month when I took her layered embroidery class at Arrowmont School of Craft in Gatlinburg TN. My best friend Grescha flew all the way from Australia to join me for a week of pure embroidery. 

This time I approached my piece with absolutely no prior planning…I decided that if an idea popped into my head, I was going to add it to my piece instead of doing my usual thinking, stewing and second guessing of myself. It was so liberating!

Rebecca is an amazing teacher and so encouraging and at no time questioned my addition of a plane, bear and flamingo (?) I really loved to see the creativity coming out of all of the students, each work was so different and surprising.

I was so sad to see the week of creativity end, but felt totally renewed and full of great ideas to share with all of my students.

We finished off our week of heaven with a night in the sweetest little camper nestled deep in the Smokey Mountains of Tennessee. Our amazing host Rosie even lit a little fire under the outdoor bathtub so that I could have a nice hot bath at the end of a long day! Absolute Heaven!

Make sure to check out Rebecca's website for upcoming workshops.

 

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Bye Bye Summer

Seriously, where did the Summer go?

At the end of a flurry of Camps in June, it was off to The Catskills to spend a glorious month recharging. It took a little while to be OK with stopping, I am so used to always doing something, always working, making, teaching... Well I did discover jam making, thanks to my friend Maggie Brown, jam maker extraordinaire.

It started with me asking her to teach a jam making class as a birthday gift for my very special friend, Diane. It ended up with my total obsession and daily jam making habit. I travelled all over the place sourcing the sweetest local peaches and berries and enjoyed the slow process of creating sparkling bottles of yum to enjoy all year round. There was actually something pretty therapeutic about the whole process. 

My favorite had to be my Blueberry jam made from the bounty of Blueberries picked from the edge of the lake while balancing precariously on a paddle board and also from a mother load haul with my sweet friend Heather Ross, her daughter Bee and my daughter, Ruby.

From my daily hikes and mountain biking to the quiet time sitting in a chair with a good book it was just what I needed to be able to come home and jump in headfirst to the Fall. 

Classes start today and I am super excited to see all of the new girls coming through the Studio doors. With my latest book deadline in 2 weeks, many new classes and an action packed Fall ahead, I am excited to see what else the future holds!

There is something sweet about a craft party.

A lovely little group of crafty girls coming together to celebrate a birthday and to make things...what a great combination! We had a blast when my friend

Krista Salmon

and her husband Mike rented a party bus, loaded up a gang if giggling gals and made their way to the studio for an afternoon of glitter, fun and some serious crafting.. I don't  do birthday parties very often but when I do, I cannot help getting caught up in all if the crazy glitter fun! Are the photos fab? The talented Cydney from

Afton Photography

did an amazing job capturing the entire afternoon of fun!

My second book and a giveaway!

  Yay, Yasemin Mosby, you are the winner of a copy of my new book!!

Last week was a great week! The mailman delivered my stack of We Love to Sew Bedrooms! I have been so excited for the release of my second book and was thrilled to be able to have a really good look at the finished product.

This book was a labor of love for me and I enjoyed every minute of putting together a book for girls to be able to create their own spaces. With Pinterest and all the great online magazines out there, tweens and teens are becoming really interested in creating their own sense of style, not only in how they dress, but also how their space looks. I tried really hard to create projects to inspire them in this!

I also feel so fortunate to have had the lovely Denyse Schmidt write such a sweet message to all those creative kids out there! Her story of growing up with clever, crafty and resourceful parents will be sure to make you smile. I love how she calls my book a "book of ideas- a starting point for your own individual style" That is exactly what it is...It is meant to inspire kids to be who they want to be...and that is a great thing!

I have a signed copy to give away! All you need to do is leave a comment and I will select a winner on April 1!

Time to get Creative!!





As most of you know, last year I filmed 5 crafty video workshops with Creativebug! It was so much fun, Ruby and I loved every minute. Well here is the exciting thing about Creativebug, now you can subscribe to the website and watch as many videos as you like for one price of $9.95 per month. That is like 2 lattes and a people magazine!

I will be giving them as gifts this year for all my crafty friends...you should too!

I am especially excited to take Lisa Congdon's line drawing class this March...I am such a fan!


                      





                                  Creative Video Workshops on Creativebug.com

Palm Springs Crafting.....Kids edition


I am just back from a wonderful week (and a bit) in dreamy Palm Springs. I was so lucky to be teaching at both the Heather Ross Mother daughter craft/sewing weekend but also the craft/sewing weekend for the grown ups!

What can  say about the Mother daughter weekend....it was just fantastic!
9 sweet girls and their mothers arrived at the Ace Hotel to craft and sew away the weekend with the lovely Jodie Levine, Heather and I. Janome were kind enough to provide us with the most amazing sewing machines ever! The memory craft 8900 was unbelieveable. And don't get me started on the Cameo Silhouette machine that we were lucky enough to work with!

We worked on cross body bags and cut paper chandeliers, embroidered pets and felt flower ponchos....I was able to teach with some of my favorite people and watch these girls jump into every project with excitement!

 My favorite part had to be that after every project, they would wear whatever they had made. At the end of the weekend, these girls were wearing EVERYTHING all at the same time..so proud of their handiwork!

Can't wait until next year!

















The year in a nutshell.





2013 was quite a year for Little Pincushion Studio and my little sewing classes. In the space of 12 months, my first book was released; I finished work on my second and am now halfway through my third. Now that I type it I cannot quite believe it is true (no wonder I am exhausted!)

I filmed some fun sewing classes with Creativebug…something I had wanted to do for the longest time! The videos they make are so beautiful and I am so excited to be involved with them!

 I went home for a long overdue visit with family and the best friends a girl could ask for.

My kids grew…….a lot!!

My hubbie became the best chef, laundry manager and all around house-husband (on top of his full time job) to help me get it all done. 

I have made some amazing new friends whose emails, kind words, sweet gestures and choc chip cookies have brightened my days. All in all, it was an amazing year!

2014 is already shaping up to be a great one! Many, many new kids are coming through the studio doors and I truly love every minute of teaching them every day.

My new year’s resolution is to enjoy every single day and appreciate every little opportunity. Oh and also to blog a little more frequently!


Happy 2014 friends!









It's a fantastic Creativebug Giveaway!!





I am so excited to share the Creativebug love with you all this holiday season. So thanks to the awesome folks at Creativebug, I am offering this amazing giveaway of a free 3 month subscription to Creativebug. Thats right! You get 3 full months of full access to all of Creativebug's awesome crafty classes. Knitting, they have it. Sewing, yep, they have that too. From crafts to quilting and embroidery, there is something for everyone! I think it is perfect for a cozy crafting break over the holidays!
Ok, so if this isn't enough..I can sweeten the deal with another free 3 month subscription for you to give to your Bestie! Yay!




All you need to do is leave a comment here on my blog and pop over and like my facebook page. On Christmas eve I will randomly choose a winner and you will find your 3 month membership in your inbox on Christmas day!





Give the gift of handmade and buy a subscription for a friend (you can even customize the subscription start date). Or, buy one for yourself if you’re sticking to handmade gifts this year and want to beef up your own sewing/knitting/quilting skills.
 Snap up these great prices:
3-month subscription for $30
6-month subscription for $60
12-month subscription for $99
 Subscribers get access to video workshops that cover everything from embroidery, to upholstery, to flower arranging. If you’ve ever wanted to nudge your friend in the direction of an amazing hobby, this is where to push them.





Festive Antler Headband



We are slowly creeping our way into the holiday season and this time of year always means crafty get togethers! This year I got together with Alessandra Gutierrez  of Tribal Times and we came up with a sweet little craft for you! A festive antler headband, perfect for those holiday pictures! This is a simple craft to do with the kiddos while sipping hot chocolate and listening to holiday tunes
Materials List:
-Martha Stewart crafter’s clay
-headband
-glitter
-hot glue gun
-tacky glue
Step 1:
Roll the clay in your hands till it becomes malleable and shape it into an antler shape. It is easy to make three little rolls and attach them all together to make the shape.  Let them air dry overnight. 
Step 2: 
Using your tacky glue, apply a small amount where you would like the glitter to be. If you prefer a more natural look just leave them the original clay color. Hot glue into place on the headband. That's it!
Enjoy! 

My week at Penland...


Maximalist Embroidery with Rebecca Ringquist at Penland School of Craft.....a week in North Carolina and newly inspired! Being surrounded by such a wonderful group of creative people was just the retreat that I needed.
Not only is Rebecca jaw dropping talented...she is also one of the sweetest gals around. If you are in Virginia, run! don't walk to her exhibition at James Madison University. Check out her blog and take a look at her amazing work.




Rebecca's amazing samplers

color!!

The beginning of something..

working from sketches

each so very different!

progression

heaven in the mountains!


stunning!



finished work

the amazing vicki!

work by Maureen Kathleen Iverson!

The amazing Rebecca!

Galen and Maureen

Vicki

Halloween Fun Free Printables..



Don't you love a fun free Printable? I love these cute Fox and Panda mask ideas that Oliver (my 14 year old son) and I came up with! Just print em out, cut some eye holes and get ready for a super cute Halloween!
Want to make a costume to go with them? Scroll down and check out my Halloween Costume ideas on Fox 5 with Holly Morris! The hardest part will be deciding which one to make!


Download here

download here

I am also a bit of a sucker for a cute silhouette! Print these ones up and use them as a template to make some cute silhouette art.

download here

download here

download here

Here are some videos with all the instructions you need to make some super fun, home/kid made instructions and supplies!
DC News FOX 5 DC WTTG DC News FOX 5 DC WTTG DC News FOX 5 DC WTTG


Imperfection is beautiful...



Photo by Kristen Gardner Photography


Imperfection is Beautiful: How to teach Kids to embrace flaws in a perfect world

You know the drill; kids get home from school, rush to finish their homework and then run to sports practice on time. Maybe they even have after-school music class or tutoring, too. Sound familiar? It is probably the crazy weekly routine that you have with your children. In sports, our kids are taught to win, win, win, while in school they are taught to get straight A’s. In music class there is nothing pleasant about hitting the wrong notes.  These are just some of the reasons that the encouragement of creativity in a non-pressured, perfection-optional world is so necessary.
Call it therapy if you like, I certainly sometimes think of it that way. Giving children the space where they can sew, create and talk (or in our case sing a little) can change the child’s stress level enormously.
Each week we come up with fun projects that challenge each child whilst also giving them the opportunity to experiment with fabric, color and design thus giving them the fabulous feeling of autonomy and pride. The best part, never do the children feel the pressure to be perfect!
Never was I ever told as a child that imperfections were beautiful little bits of my personality and so sadly, I felt the pressure to constantly perform well in things at which I was honestly not very good. I think that feeling can linger around until adulthood. It is so important that we do not do the same thing to our kids!
That dropped stitch is a cute reminder of when you were paying more attention to the words of a Taylor Swift song than your knitting, the wonky stitched line is a reminder of the hilarious laughing fit you had when your sewing buddy told a funny joke and maybe that crazy fabric combo will always be a reminder of you and your crazy, individual personality.  And so it goes, imperfection IS a beautiful thing.



photo by Kristen Gardner Photography


Mood Boards.



I am a big believer in using mood/inspiration boards when I am working on a project. I love the process of collecting things that speak to me, whether it is a scrap of fabric or a photograph that evokes a feeling ! I am loving the idea of encouraging kids to use mood boards. Let's face it, kids are pretty picky when it comes to choosing things for their room and play spaces, especially as our kids move into teenager-dom. Ruby has a paint swatch on her wall and is obsessively discussing what shade of mint we should paint her room!
I thought that creating a workshop to make mood boards may be a fun idea and I think my students agreed. I gave the girls total freedom to explore all of my baskets of trim, pompoms, fabric scraps, magazines (just not the old Domino's, blueprints or cookies) Lets just say, it looked like a fabric/paper/paint bomb went off that day.....but I loved every minute of the controlled chaos!

They are pretty gorgeous don't you think?


























Sweet little hair ties...


Last week, Ruby decided that she needed to make head bands....lots of them...one for every outfit! The bands were gorgeous and very sweet and made me think of a tutorial for something similar but a little easier for little kids to make! This little hair elastic is quick to make and oh so sweet! The perfect stash buster and the perfect size for giving as gifts to all of her BFFs




Cut a piece of fabric approx 3.5 inches x 8 inches

Fold it in half with right sides together and give it a good press.


Roughly draw a line from the top corner of the folded edge to the raw edge. Don't worry, it doesn't have to be perfect! Do the same at the other end.

Also mark a 2 inch line about halfway down the strip, this will be for turning out!

Time to start sewing! Sew on the angled line then sew with a 1/4 inch seam allowance all the way down to  the bottom angled line. Start and finish with a backstitch.

Dont forget to leave that hole!

Snip off the corners but be careful not to snip the stitching.

Carefully push the fabric right way out. I use a chopstick but you could use a pencil!

Spray with a little starch and iron nice and flat.

Sew up the hole nice and close to the edge.