Thursday, 26 September 2013

Art Gallery Fabric Love

I just had to share these stunning new collections from Art Gallery Fabrics, they just around about 30 mins ago and I am smitten.  I am having to fight the temptation to just sit there and stroke them for the rest of the afternoon.  They are premium cotton fabrics with a high thread count which makes them all the more strokable...

The collections are, from left to right,

Squared Elements - A new blender print which mixes very nicely with their other collections.

Bijoux by Bari J - A colourful range with burgandy, ochre and brown in a series of bold prints.  I love the inspirational montage for this collection pictured below.

Reminisce by Bonnie Christine - A subtler colour palette of sugar coloured hues reminiscent of the summer days.

Nordika by Jeni Baker - My personal favourite a rich colour palette and Scandinavian style prints I can see working well for bags, gadget cases or quilting.
Nordika from Art Gallery Fabrics
These fabrics came from Hantex who are the UK distributors of Art Gallery Fabrics in the UK.  They have full details of all the Art Gallery Ranges on their site as well as a funky swatch tool which allows you to create your own bundle combos.

You can find Art Gallery Fabric at The Village Haberdashery, Backstitch, JuberryFrumble and Patchwork Dreamer.

We've been using Art Gallery Fabrics for a series of projects for beginners on our site called So Sew Simple written by the talented Helen Rhiannon from All Sewn Up.   The peg bag one in particular, pictured below, is proving immensely popular.  Have you got anyone who would like a peg bag for Christmas?

Which is your favourite Art Gallery Fabrics collection?

Tuesday, 24 September 2013

Win the Liberty Book of Simple Sewing

I have to admit I have fallen in love with this book.  So many beautiful projects that I want to make, and all pretty quick and easy too.  My favourite is the sewing tidy pictured below, luckily the publishers Quadrille Craft kindly let me put this project on my site so you can find it here if you'd like to make it too.

I can't bear to part with my review copy so I asked Quadrille if I could have some copies to giveaway and luckily they said yes!  I have got 3 copies to giveaway so I have decided to give one way through Facebook, one through Twitter and one through Instagram

Just click on the links to visit those platforms and enter, you can enter on all 3 if you want to increase your chances.  The giveaways all end midnight on Thursday (26th) and the winners will be announced on Friday.

Good luck everyone.

Monday, 16 September 2013

Exeter Sewing Meet up

I've just the last few days in a beautiful cottage in Devon whilst hosting a sewing meet up in Exeter.  This is the second one we have held there and it was as successful as the first, there will definitely be more in the future.

We used the same hall as we did last time but decided to split people down into tables or around 8 people so they could speak to more people than when we had everyone sitting in a horseshoe shape.  It felt a little less like school too!   We had tables around the outside with supplies and sewing machines on.  Plus the lovely Rhiannon from The Sewing Boutique was selling fabric there.

Rhiannon from The Sewing Boutique
The very knowledgeable Kerry from Very Kerry Berry taught us all several different applique techniques so we could decorate bags for Making For Charity.  Not only did she take us through the techniques when we started but she then spent time on each table demonstrating them further and answering any queries.

Kerry demonstrating needle turn applique

We had a very brave male amongst the room full of women, Will Abakhan from Abakhan Fabrics. Abakhan Fabrics very kindly provided most the supplies for the applique.  Will has only sewn once before when I gave him a quick hand sewing lesson (blogged about here).  But he joined in and not only appliqued a bag for charity but Jenna from Sew Happy Geek who was one of my super useful helpers taught him how to make an appliqued wash bag too. 

One of my favourite bits of the day was when we told everyone that they could help themseves to the fabrics on the fabric table to take home once the bags were finished and there was a mad scrum!  As you can see from the pictures their hands were moving so fast they were just blurs!

The finished bags at the end of the day were stunning, it was brilliant to see how people who had the same tuition, same templates and same supplies to choose from ended up with such different designs.
All in all it was a brilliant day, even though we had around double the time compared to the last meet up it still went by way too fast! 

Thank you to everyone who attended and a big thank you to Kerry (and her husband), Jenna, Will, My mum, Savvi and my sister Ruth for all their help.

Sunday, 1 September 2013

Starting writing

It seems crazy that I've spent over 6 months planning the book, pitching it to publishers, finalising what will be in it and even thinking about how to promote it yet until a few weeks ago hadn't actually started writing it.  My husband has been teasing me saying I can't consider myself an author because I haven't actually written the book yet.

Unfortunately with my planning meeting being so close to the summer holidays I couldn't make a start on the book straight away.  Most of June and July is taken up with pre-summer preparations, writing lots of content for the site, scheduling social media updates, getting magazine deadlines out the way etc.

So finally at end of July I managed to arrange a child free week so I got onto the actual writing.  I'm used to writing articles for magazines which are around 1,500-2,000 words however this book will be around 90,000!  So I decided to best way to go about it is to view the book as being similar to a series of magazine articles.

The book was already split into 6 sections so I have broken the sections down into smaller subjects of around 2,000-4,000 words.  I know I can easily write 2 magazine articles in a day so writing up to 4,000 words of the book in a day was a manageable amount. Luckily each of the sections naturally break down into smaller sub topics so tackling one or two of those per day is a lot easier than trying to cover several at once.

It also made me take regular breaks, write 2,000 words in the morning and then stopping for a proper lunch break and think about something else for a bit before coming back to a new sub topic in the afternoon.  When I was writing the draft chapters over Christmas I would sit and write for 6-8 hours straight which probably isn't healthy!

I finished the first section of the book in that week at the end of July so I have sent that over to the publishers and I am waiting to get their feedback.  Being as I don't normally have an entire week free to write I am trying a new writing habit for this month.   I've signed up to the 30 day product creation challenge here.  It is aimed at helping you write an e-book in a month but I am going to use to get another section or so of my book done.

You commit to spending 10-30 minutes a day writing in September with the aim of establishing a regular writing habit which will hopefully continue beyond the 30 days.  I've decided that I will write every evening around 7-8pm as my son is bed then so I get some quiet time.

I did my first session this evening and managed to write 1,000 words on product safety so it was a good start. Looking forward to seeing how much I achieve by the end of the month.

Blogging tips