Pot holders

Today my mother asked me to make her some pot holders, as she had just burnt hers. My  first reaction was… Oh no… So much work for just Pot holders!!…. that will get all grubby or burnt!….. Silly hey. I was over thinking the simple pot holder,  making them with HST´s or strip quilting etc. Then I looked at mine and realised they were very simple with no quilting.

I remembered seeing a simple pot holder tutorial at: http://www.marymarthamama.com/crafty-cat/easy-peasy-potholders/ Great! Made them in  no time at all 🙂 I actually enjoyed making them as it was so nice to finish a Project so quickly…. Yipeee.

I used fabric that I had once bought from a store that I wandered into, and couldn´t find anything I really liked, but was too embarrassed to walk out of without buying something (the owner kept hovering over me), I know  I know,….I have this problem, that´s why I generally try to avoid empty stores, otherwise I end up buying stuff I don´t really need because I am too embarrassed to walk out with nothing!

But anyway it´s the type of fabric my mother likes, so all is good.

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And here they are! not to shabby for my first Pot holders, and the good news is, if she burns these, I still have loads of the same fabric 🙂

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The Purple One!

A while back a friend of mine asked me for a purple quilt. I kept putting it off because purple is just not my colour! and also because my time is so scarce, and I had other projects in mind, so I couldn´t summon up the enthusiasm to make it. But then the universe conspired against my unwillingness to make this quilt.

Another very good friend from Mozambique come for a visit and brought some batiks for me, and wouldn´t you believe it, 2 of them were in purple hues! A week later when I was at our nearby seaside village São Pedro de Moel, that on Sundays has a few stalls, and when I say few I really mean few, it´s usually just the 2 that sell the same thing 🙂 identical clothes! Anyway, the one stall is owned by a Senegalese couple, and lo and behold  they had a purple and yellow batik! So I got myself some, and that’s when I knew I would have to make the quilt. I bought another 3 purple fabrics, 2 of them solids.

Here is a photo I took of São Pedro de Moel, a few years ago. It´s very pretty, the photo doesn´t do it justice.

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Anyway, I decided to make it using the scrappy trip method. So although I only had 6 different types of fabric, I went ahead with this method on the Purple One…. Shame, that’s what I called it all the time, The Purple One! in the beginning it was really not very loved, but over time it started to grow on me, and as I put it together I started to like the purple combinations more and more.

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Initially I was just going to bind the quilt without making borders, but it really would have been quite boring, so I added the two white borders and the pieced border in-between. I think the borders changed the whole look of the quilt and it turned out quite nice. I  quilted with wavy lines in a cream coloured thread.  I was going to use purple thread, but wanted the white borders to have a clean look, so I used the cream, for the back I just used a plain white fabric.

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So finally I was all finished and in love with my purple quilt, and off it went into the Washing machine, threw in some color catcher sheets, used detergent for mixed colors…… and would you BELIEVE IT! ….The quilt lines on the back were stained purple, everywhere that the Senegalese batik and the darker solid purple were. Well… thats it, I am officially back to hating purple, this quilt has taken its revenge!

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I´ve always been told not to pre-wash fabrics when quilting, but if I had, maybe this wouldn’t have happened. After this disaster I took a swatch of both fabrics, quilted them and put them in bowls of water with detergent, and this is what happened, the dark purple bled into the water, and the batik did not, however after drying, the batik had the quilt lines stained and the dark fabric not! How confusing is that!!?? I think I´ll have to take up another hobby, it´s very frustrating to spend hours and days on a project, in my case months, because I have so little time, and then this sort of thing happens. I don´t know whether to scream or cry.

Here you can see how the bowl that had the batik is clear, but how the colour bled in the plain purple quilted swatch, and yet it´s the batik that bled to the thread.

 

Has this ever happened to any of you? If anyone has any ideas please let me know.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Elephant Parade Quilt

Finished my elephant parade quilt! I came across this pattern at Sew Fresh Quilts – Lorna is an absolute genius when it comes to patterns, especially animal patterns. When I saw this pattern I just knew I had to make it, it just reminds me sooo much of home!

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For the big Ellies I used a batik fabric that I have had for over 20 years, it was bought in Mozambique, and in my younger days, when I didn’t have any money to buy Picasso, it hung on my lounge wall, actually I still don’t have money to buy Picasso 😉 somethings never change…..Anyway since I grew out of my  bohemian decorating style, the batik has been  packed away, so now I took it out and with some sadness at cutting it up, and yet… happy that it was getting a new revamped life, I went ahead and cut it up.

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I must say that I was worried, that It would be too hard to make and that I would lose heart, but Lorna´s instructions are so precise and easy to follow that I made it, Yay me!

 

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I quilted with wavy lines, and because I wanted some loft  I spaced them 5cm apart (2 inches), for the binding I used both fabrics from the Elephants, big and small.

I´m gifting this quilt to my daughter Andi, who loves animals especially elephants.

I must say that making this quilt was a wonderful challenge, I love the way it all come together, and will probably try my hand at the giraffe pattern soon.

Thank you for visiting!

African Urban Chic Quilt

I´m currently working on a quilt, that when I showed my daughter, she said it looked very African Urban Chic….. What is that exactly??…. No idea! ….but I love the sound of it, and because I actually bought the fabric with the tortoise motif, because it reminded me of  home  – Africa, I have staked my claim to name my quilt – African Urban Chic.

Well anyway it´s basically a disappearing 9 patch square. The pieces are pretty big 15cm x 15cm (6 inch) squares. img_1468

I cut the the middle squares in half

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And arranged the new blocks in the order that most pleased me. You´ll notice that I´ve pinned numbers on the blocks. I have to do this or I lose my way completely!

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Sewed the blocks into rows.

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And sewed the rows together.

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Well that what i´ve done so far, and believe you me, this quick to make top, has taken me forever, because it is soooo…. cold at the moment, that my sewing room is freezing, so I basically sewed for 5 minutes a week 🙂

Well next step will be to sew some borders to this top, ….but of course,  in this neck of the woods that I call home, I´m having trouble finding fabric that complements what I´ve done so far.  I Will have to forage further afield during the weekend, perhaps in the next village they´ll have what I´m looking for 😉

Stay tuned, and stay warm!

 

 

 

Crib Bumper

After finishing the baby quilt for my granddaughter, I made the crib bumper. I didn´t want it to be too busy, so I opted to use only 2 fabrics the white and the striped fabric that I used as one of the borders on the quilt.

For each bumper, I cut the white fabric into 3 strips of 17cm x 40cm  allowing for 1cm seams on either side, and the striped fabric into 2 strips of 9.5cm by 40cm.

So the final measurements of the bumpers will be 60 x 38cm each. Of course you can adjust the measurements to any size you want, it all depends on the size of the cot.

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Sew the strips together

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Iron the seams towards the darker fabric.

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I did a zig zag along the edges of the strips.

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Sew the top of the bumper to the batting and trim the excess batting.

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Next, make the fabric tubes  to tie the bumpers to the crib.

Cut 24 strips of 9cm x 38cm (allowing for 1 cm seams) in the white fabric. Again you can use your own measurements.

Fold the strips in half and sew along the length and the top, leaving the bottom open, so you can turn it inside out.

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Once you have them all sewn.

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Turn them inside out, I use a chopstick to push the fabric inside itself, it´s so quick and easy!

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Once they´re all turned inside out, sew along the edges on the right side, it just sort of makes it look neater and prettier.

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Attach 2 of the ties to the sides of the bumper and sew along the edge.

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When you´ve sewn the ties to the bumper it should look like this.

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Next you pin and sew the backing to the front of the bumper (right sides together).

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Leave a gap on one of the sides , about 12 to 15 cm.

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Then sew all along the edge and turn the whole thing inside out through the gap that was left open.

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In order to keep the theme of the zig zag, which I had also used on the quilt, I chose to sew a zig zag border, about 7cm from the edge.

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Ok, so here is the part where I cheated 😉

Of course the gap should be closed, by hand sewing a running stitch, but because I hate hand sewing, and the bottom of the bumper will be tucked in by the mattress and won´t be seen. I just machine sewed the gap!

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Next step. Wash, iron and attach the 3 bumpers to the sides of the cot.

And here´s how it looks on the cot.

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Well that´s it, Super easy and quick!

Hope you like it 🙂

 

 

Baby Sashed Quilt

Once I found out I´m going to be a grandmother, the burning question was… Is the baby a girl or boy? While we waited for baby to grow a bit, so we could find out during the scan, I made a few items in greens and yellows, but what I really wanted to make, was a quilt for the cot. So as soon as we found out that baby is a girl, I jumped into action and bought the material.

I got some of the fabrics from IKEA, and some beautiful Tilda fabric.

I don´t really like to make major measuring decisions, I sort of just go along and see how things evolve 🙂 and when I figure it´s big enough I stop!

So here is how I made the quilt.

Cut strips of the various fabrics into 21 cm by 7 cm, allowing for 0.5 cm seams.

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Join the strips in batches of 3, using different strips all the time, the aim is to try to get as much diversity as possible, of course this all depends on how many different varieties of fabric you have.

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Once the strips are sewn together, cut them in 2 horizontally, so you land up with 3 strips of smaller blocks.

And then mix and match these smaller strips with others and sews 3 of them together to form a new block.

Because I didn´t know which strips I was going to join together, I ironed all the seams open.

This little tool you see here, is actually a black head remover that I bought from Avon! But I find that it works brilliantly as a sewing helper in keeping the seams open during sewing. 🙂

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Cut the strips for the sashing, which in this case are 17cm x 7cm (which will allow for 1 cm seams) and squares for the corner blocks 7cm x 7cm.  sew  small squares to the white strips for the sashing between the rows, horizontal or vertical, whichever you prefer.

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I always try to chain piece as much as possible

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So you land up with a long string of sashing parts, then just cut the thread between each.img_1675

Once your blocks are sewn,  sew a strip of the white sashing to one side of the block, always add to the same side of the blocks, either the bottom or the lateral side

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Then add the  sashing  with the corner square to the block. I ironed the sashing seams to one side. Alway try to iron towards the dark side,  although sometimes  this isn´t possible.

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Here you can see the white sashing at the bottom of the blocks and on the top left corner, the sashing on the side already sewn to the block. In order to keep my blocks in the manner that I found most pleasing I pinned the number of the block to each, because I can easily get lost when I am busing sewing and ironing the seams.

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Once the blocks have the sashing,  sew them together to form rows, and then  sew the rows together.

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To the top and bottom row, sew a strip of sashing.

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Right…. So when you have the top all sewn….whew… must say, on my very basic sewing machine and sewing at night, it took me a while! But all worth it 🙂 ….Well now you know why my photos are sometimes quite dark, I mainly sew at night and also my sewing room is in an attic room with a smallish skylight window!

Cut the batting so that some of it is visible all around the top.

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And cut the backing so that is a little wider than the batting.

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Before joining the backing, I appliqued a square of fabric of Alice in Wonderland to the backing, just to make sure that baby always knows that Granny Alice made this quilt 🙂

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Then you have to make sure that the 3 layers are smooth using safety pins to pin, pin and pin, the more you pin the easier it is to keep the layers together without shifting during sewing.

I  quilted using zig zag stitching along the seams of the sashing, I love zig zag it´s so forgiving of little mistakes.

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Here is the top

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And here is the back.

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Next step is the binding, I wanted a little something extra before the final binding, so I cut  6 cm wide strips of contrasting fabric, joined the strips on the diagonal,  folded and ironed in half, just like a  binding strip.

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I sewed the strip to the front of the quilt, just like a normal binding strip, but I did not fold it to the back of the quilt. i left it loose on the right side

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I then made the binding 8 cm wide with the same fabric as the sashing squares and attached the binding to the quilt. For a great binding tutorial go to (https://www.craftsy.com/blog/2014/09/how-to-bind-quilts/ ) I left the batting around the quilt +- 4cm, so that when folding over the binding it had the fullness of the batting.

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Hand sewing is not my favorite thing,  but in this case it was the best option to sew the back of the binding to the quilt

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And there you have it. Baby quilt all done. Of course Hubby also had to do his bit, so his job was to hold up the quilt for the final photos 🙂 Now he wants all the credit!

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Well thats the quilt all done, now it just needs to be washed and placed in the cot, to wait for baby´s arrival….Cant´wait!!

Placemats

I recently decided to make placemats for my daughter Andi.

So off I went shopping. I fell in love with some bright ethnic looking fabric, and opted to pair it with just 2 other colors, purple and mustard.

Wanting the colors to really pop, I chose black for the binding.

I decided to make the back of the placemat different from the front, so I made it predominately black with strips of the printed fabric.

For the front, I cut the squares 13 x 13 cm allowing for 1 cm seams, so the finished squares were 11 x 11cm. The final length of the placemat was 55cm

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For the back I cut the following strips, allowing for 1 cm seams.

2 black 7cm x 33

1 black 5cm x 33

I black 27 cm x 33

1 Print 6 cm x 33

2 Print 7cm x 33

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So…. To make the placemats, you just sew the front squares together in whichever manner pleases you.

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To make the back, join the strips.

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Attach a layer of interfacing in between the top and bottom using safety pins to keep it all in place. I did a quick zig zag around the edges to join the 3 layers.

Then you just bind the placemats. I used black strips of 6cm to make the binding and used the machine to bind the front and back.

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At the back I pinned all around and machine sewed the inner edge of the binding in black. thread.

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And there you have it, quick and easy placemats 🙂

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Handy Handbag

Throughout the years I have bought numerous small handbags that I use on weekends. Handbags that I can use cross-body so that when I go shopping I don´t have to lug a large shoulder bag around, which is what I use during the work week.

However, I was never completely satisfied with them, too small…. too big…. too rigid…., whatever, …. so, I decided to make my own.

I opted to use a Capulana that I had been hoarding for years. What is a Capulana you might ask, well… it´s the name given to Mozambican  cotton fabric. These fabrics are used by the Mozambican ladies as a type of sarong, and for almost everything else, dresses, skirts, head coverings, wrapping babies, carrying babies……. They are beautifully ethnic and colorful, and I love them.

The Capulana I decided to use has a patchwork design, so even though it might be considered a cheat, I love the colors and it certainly took a lot less time to make, not having to sew different fabrics together, to get the final  patchwork look.

I decided to make the bag 33cm in height by 31cm wide.

So, we cut 2 x panels 35cm x 33cm allowing 1 cm on each side for seams. I say we, because I made it with the help of Manuela, a wonderful lady that helps me with my projects, below you can see her hands measuring away 🙂

We decided  that the bottom corners of the bag should have  cork corners, so we cut 2 triangles 12cm x 12cm  from a cork sheet.

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We attached the triangles to the fabric corners, and sewed them with 0.5cm seam to the fabric, and cut the excess fabric.

Below is the front and back.

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I then pinned a layer of interfacing, and quilted the panels of the bag. In the photo you  also see a panel of plain fabric which is joined to the outside panel and interfacing, just ignore that second fabric, at the time I  thought it would be better to add another layer of fabric, but that is totally unnecessary!

I basically eye-balled straight lines starting on the outside edge and rotating the panel untill I got to the center.

Here you can see the quilting lines.

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I cut out 2 panels for the bag flap 22cm in height x 33 cm wide pinned interfacing to one of the panels and did the same quilting technique as above.

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After sewing the 2 body panels of the bag together (right sides facing each other), I sewed diagonally across the corners about 3 cm in the center, to create box corners.

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Below is the lining, where you can see better what I mean, about sewing the corners together, to get the box corner.

Fold the corner so that it looks like a triangle. Measure 3 cm from the pointy edge and draw a line, then sew along the line.

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When sewing the lining together it´s important to leave a gap, because that´s where the whole bag will have to fit through when it´s finished.

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Turn the bag inside out so that  the right side is facing out and attach the flap to one side of the bag.

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To make the strap. Cut a strip of fabric approximately  11 cm wide and  the length that suits you. Because I didn’t want the strap to be to thick I used fusible fleece instead of interfacing.

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Then you just  sew along the edges right sides facing together and then turn it inside out so that the right sides are on the outside.

Sew the strap to the body of the bag.

Below you can see that I also sewed a pocket to the lining, I used the print fabric for the pocket.

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The whole bag, right sides facing out, is then slipped into the lining which has the wrong sides facing out

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Then you sew the lining top  to the body of the bag, sewing all around the edge.

Then pull the whole bag through the hole in the lining so the lining flips into the inside of the bag.

And Voila, The handy handbag 🙂

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Baby Quilt

Since I´m a newbie in this patchwork / quilting adventure, I don´t really have a stock of fabrics. Where I live, fabric choices are very limited, and not wanting to travel a 100 km, I bought 7 types of fabric. I didn´t want it to be only in shades of blue, so I also chose yellow and white, I also fell in love with a fabric that had balloons etc, not realizing that when I cut it into small squares, it mainly showed up the pink ….. oops,… oh well,… every man needs a little  pink in his life…. I went ahead with the fabric choice.

I wanted the quilt to be a postage stamp, so I cut strips of fabric 6 cm wide, this will allow me to have 0.5cm seams, and have 5cm finished squares.

After sewing the strips of fabric, I cut them up into 6 cm wide rows, thereby getting the 3 sets of squares below.

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I ironed the seems in the rows in alternate directions so that I could nest them when joining the rows.

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I find I can align the squares better when I nest the seams, rather than when I iron the seams open, that’s not to say I always manage the magic of perfect alignment, many times my squares just don´t want to line up. Sewing is my zen time, so I don´t stress too much when this happens, a wonky square here or there is not life changing.

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I always pin as close as possible to the seam line.

Below are the nested seams.

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Here is the first row of blocks.

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Here are the 2 sets of rows sewn together. You can see on the last row that 2 last squares are really very badly aligned, I actually unpicked these and redid them, these were just to wonky even for me.

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I then sewed 2 borders of white and blue of different widths, just to make it a little diferent.

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Added the batting and zig-zagged the front to the batting all around to hold it in place.

I did the backing and binding at the same time, that is,  I used the same piece of fabric for the binding. I folded the sides of the backing twice and mitred the corners to achieve the binding strip at the front.

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At the back, all you see is the sewing line from sewing the backing/binding in the front.

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Before sewing the backing I apliqued a little square of a “Alice in Wonderland fabric”, so that no-one would ever forget that it was an Alice that made this quilt 🙂

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Since I have a very basic and inexpensive sewing machine, quilting is not an option, unless it´s straight lines so I decided to leave the quilt as is. The binding looks a little ruched, but once it was washed and ironed, it looked perfectly fine, but I forgot to take a photo before giving it away.

And here is the finished product… Yipee… my first ever baby Quilt.

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Newbie

Well as anyone can see, just by looking at my blog, it is painfully obvious, that I have never blogged before! It´s taken me forever to figure out the basics of WordPress, and because my time is pretty limited, what with work, home and now the sewing thing 🙂  spending hours on the PC has been a little frustrating.

However, I will persevere and become a blogger, even as I continue to scream and pound the keyboard of my poor old PC.

Of course I´m coming pretty late to the game, after all everyone is already a blogger! little kids are bloggers!! I actually read an article the other day, stating that in the near future to apply for a job, having a blog will be an asset, so that a potential employer can see what type of person you really are…. Really…. well I think that’s pretty nuts, …. but oh well… just in case… I have decided to join up and create a blog even if I do go nuts doing it 🙂

But honestly I think blogging has done wonders for many, not only for those who blog but also for those that search blogs for info etc. and hopefully I too, will add my small contribution to the blogging world and in the process enrich myself.

Happy blogging!