Monday, 5 October 2015

New additions

We've had a very special addition to our family! My gorgeous sister-in-law, Jade, gave birth to another handsome little man on Friday. Meet Harrison Joshua, little brother to our gorgeous Mackinlay.
I promised Jade a handmade baby changing bag which seemed only fair when she was creating this handsome little bundle. My energy levels have been extremely low recently so it was a case of doing little bits of construction as and when I felt up to it. I revisited an old favourite pattern for the purpose. The slouchy mama bag is voluminous which is just what you need when you have lots of baby stuff to cart around. I used one layer of interfacing and two layers of batting in the exterior shell and quilted a grid pattern using Aurifil to provide a sturdy exterior in the hope that it will live up to daily use.
I pulled lots of fun prints from Tula Pink, Cotton + Steel, Rhoda Ruth and paired them with this gorgeous deep orange kona solid. I figured the prints were grown up enough to be suitable for mummy and interesting enough to entertain small boys on bus trips.
I used some of this awesome tiger print from Tula Pink's new Eden range and felt very proud of myself for sharing one of my favourites ;) It's not as selfless as I'd have you believe really, as I have yardage of this print for a dress!
I added my first (and probably last) concealed interior pocket so there would be somewhere safe to put keys/purse etc. if Jade wanted to leave here handbag at home. I can't even tell you the amount of swearing that was involved in putting this pocket in. No idea why it was such hard work as it's simple enough in theory! As is usual when I make something like this I fell in love with it but I'm sure Jade will love it too and I'll still get to see it often...

While I'm on the subject of bags, there's a free pattern designed by me on the Quilt Now blog for this simple patchwork tote bag.
I hope all is good in your corner of the world. Catch you soon x

Thursday, 24 September 2015

Red letter day

Long term readers of this blog will know that I've had some long term health issues. About 15 years ago I was "diagnosed" with an Idiopathic Brain-stem Disorder (a fancy way of saying we don't know what's wrong with your brain-stem). Following my recent neck/shoulder issues I had another MRI(I've had about 7 over the years), this time the MRI report contained an incidental finding of "low-lying cerebellar tonsils".  Me being me, I hopped on to google and came across The Ann Conroy Trust website and found a page which described pretty much the entirety of the past 16 years of my medical history. I went to my GP and requested (read: demanded!) a referral out of area, to a Neurosurgeon called Mr Flint. I'm so glad I did! Today I travelled to Birmingham to visit Mr Flint (he was lovely!), and he confirmed a suspicion that I had held since receiving the MRI report. I have a Chiari Malformation! Essentially, my brain is too big for my skull and part of the Cerebellum (the cerebellar tonsils) hangs down in to my neck. It explains why I've always been so ill after operations; my poor brain-stem and cerebellum were being squished when I was undergoing anaesthetic! Look away now if you're squeamish. The bit that the arrow is pointing to is the cerebellar tonsils. They should be neatly tucked up inside my skull not hanging down and squishing the brain-stem. Apparently the front of my neck is an issue too, the angle at the front is quite sharp, which accounts for my choking episodes, and puts more pressure on the back of my head/neck. The horrendous vertigo I suffer from is probably related to disrupted flow of the cerebro-spinal fluid!

Fortunately I don't need surgery at this point although that may be a possibility in the future. I don't fancy major brain surgery any time soon! Although nothing has actually changed, my symptoms still remain and I still require medication to get through each day, I feel so relieved to finally have a diagnosis that makes sense! It's a shame it took 16 years and a passing comment in an MRI report to get to this point. Anyway, I'm just delighted to be able to give up looking for answers to this particular problem. Mr Flint left me with a funny thought..."for all the specialists who thought it was all in my head the problem was, it wasn't all in my head, it was in my neck too!"
Catch you soon x

Friday, 11 September 2015

Month 8 - Trellis block

I'm late again with this month's installment of the Nellie's Niceties Mystery BOM. This month is a foundation pieced block that I've called Trellis for fairly obvious reasons.
Trellis is a 12" block and even though it is foundation pieced it still goes together very quickly. As usual it looks pretty in a multi-block setting.
Here's one I made earlier ;)
If you fancy having a go yourself you'll find the info sheet, colouring block and templates here.
If you decide to join in I'd love to see your versions and it would be great to be able to share some more of your work here along with our Flickr group and of course on Instagram #nelliesnicetiesmysterybom #trellisblock. Tell your friends, the more the merrier :) 
Catch you soon x 

Wednesday, 9 September 2015


I've designed another EPP block! Rosette is free to download on the Quilt Now website.
 Just so that you know, it looks pretty fab in a multi-block setting too :)
Catch you soon x

Thursday, 3 September 2015

Wow... has it been almost a month since I last blogged here? I'd like to say I've been so busy sewing that I haven't had time to blog but the truth is I've been exhausted so not a lot of anything has been going on. Fortunately I was busy earlier this year so I've still got things that I can share here until my energy levels rise again. Issue 14 of Quilt Now heralds the start of the new mystery BOM designed by yours truly. This time around I'm using Kona solids from the Emily Cier bundle for the magazine quilt. There is only one block to make each month so I'm hoping that it will be easier for some of you to quilt along with me, The first block is a simple Quarter log-cabin. Here's the solids version...
...and a mini-quilt using some prints from Gardenvale by Jen Kingwell.
I'm going to quilt along too this time so I'll have a different version of the finished quilt for myself at the end of it. Each of the blocks would look equally fabulous in multiples so I'll share a couple of ideas with you each month.

If you decide to join in I'd love you to use the hashtag #quiltnowbom on Instagram or Twitter so that Quilt Now and I can find your blocks. There are a few blocks on there already which makes me a happy bunny :) 
Hoping all is good in your corner of blogland. Catch you soon x

Thursday, 6 August 2015

Running late - Month 7 Crossroads

Time has flown past again. It appears I've missed our 5th blogiversary! I'll have to remedy that very soon with a giveaway but for now I'm belatedly sharing this month's Nellie's Niceties Mystery BOM block.
Shock, horror, it's another EPP block. I've called this one, Crossroads.  
It's a 6" block that produces a pretty secondary pattern as usual when used in mutliples.
The pieces sew together very quickly which makes it a satisfying "sewing for fun" project. Here's one I pieced last night.
I'm intending to make another 3 so I can make a 12" block out of them for my sampler. If you fancy having a go yourself you'll find the templates, info sheet and colouring sheet here.

If you decide to join in I'd love to see your versions and it would be great to be able to share some more of your work here along with our Flickr group and of course on Instagram #nelliesnicetiesmysterybom #crossroadsblock. Tell your friends, the more the merrier :) 
Catch you soon x 

Sunday, 19 July 2015

Floral Fancies and friends

Here I am to show you my final contributions to Quilt Now Issue 13. First up, Floral Fancies, a really cute EPP design that can then be appliqued to a backing.
 I used Oakshott solids for my flowers ...
and vintage sheet scraps for my backing.
I used perle thread to hand quilt the centre of each flower...
and to stitch the self-binding in place.
My final contribution this month is my Diamonds Kites and Stars pattern which was included in the free EPP project booklet.

It's another EPP and applique combination which makes it a little more time consuming than straight forward EPP but I think it's worth the extra time. 
In other news, while I'm on the subject of EPP, I've added bonus 6" templates of Hexiestar Tamed to the Mystery BOM section of our website. 
I've been having fun playing with the 6" version and thought you might like to try them out too. Catch you soon x