Category Archives: Features

Friday Feature and Finishes

Our feature this week isn’t a quilt, but it’s been made with great skill and eye for detail:

Kelli of Seriously…I think it needs stitches made this lovely lil donkey using a Ric Rac pattern (designed by Jodie Carleton). Isn’t is superb? Thank you for sharing, Kelli!

And I have a couple of finishes to report:

Another drawstring bag!

Another drawstring bag – this one is the size from Jeni’s tutorial, so you can make one too. I used the eye-catching Modernology range by Pat Bravo, which was provided by Hantex Ltd. If you’re in the UK and want to buy some, there’s a list of Hantex stockists here.  If you’re in the US/Canada and want to buy Pat Bravo fabrics, Fabricworm and Fat Quarter Shop sell them. It’s a really beautiful line – silky and rich in detail and colour.

I also finished this 16″ pillow:

Pillow finish :)

It uses the same block that I used in the Je’taime Le Thames bag (below) that I designed for Fat Quarterly online magazine – the Britannia edition, with my tote bag along with a stunning array of other patterns, is still available to download.

Tomorrow I’m taking a coach trip to the Knitting and Stitching Show at Ally Pally, and I am SO excited!! I’ll share my goodies next week. What are you up to this weekend?

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© J C Excell, 2012

Posted in Feature Friday, Features, Finished Products | Tagged , | 5 Comments

Manic Monday Linky Party & Features (& Giveaway Reminder!)

Hey, if you haven’t signed up for the Abakhan fabric giveaway, get over there now!

Hello!!! Sorry for the late posting today – I got my Mirena coil out and yikes! Cramps and everything. And because I haven’t had cramps or any of the more annoying aspects of being a woman for around 9 years, I’m not dealing with it very well. Actually, all I’ve done is sit on the couch and read. Perhaps a tad bit lazy but since I’m still fighting that low feeling, it simply feels like too much effort to do anything else. Is that pathetic?

Anyway, I have a couple of features from last week’s linky party:

I Quilt For Fun made this groovy scrap quilt using scraps from her own collection and some saved up from quilty friends – I’ll let you read the journey this quilt’s got ahead of it. What a cool idea!

Dorian of Ridge Top Quilts made this lovely 4 patch quilt top, adding a bit of the sublime into the centre with that bright orange/red diamond – perfect!

Linky Party Rules:

  • You can link anything you’ve created – an etsy shop, blog or tutorial, recipe or project, whatever.
  • You can leave up to 2 links
  • Please visit at least one other link and comment!
  • I’ll be featuring a few on the blog on Feature Friday
  • You are welcome to add my party button to your blog, but you don’t have to!



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© J C Excell, 2012

Posted in craft linky party, craft linky party results, Features, Linky Party, Linky Party Results, Manic Monday, UK craft blog, UK Modern Quilt Blog, UK quilt blog, UK sewing blog | 2 Comments

Features & Fabric Deals

Hey, have you heard about the newest Quilt Along, Sew Intertwined? It’s going to be really fun! Check out the QAL here.

Our fabric deals this week are from Intrepid Thread and Skye Reve Fabrics. Have you been wanting to get your hands on a whole bunch of Tula Pink’s hot new line, The Birds and The Bees? Well, I’ve got a listing for you:

Julie at Intrepid Thread has this gorgeous half yard bundle for $126.88! That’s a brilliant deal!

And Natasha at Skye Reve Fabrics has this Amy Butler Cameo FQ Bundle for only $33! So if you want some new Cameo, but not too much, this bundle is perfect for you.

The most popular link this week was from I Quilt For Fun, who got her mojo back by making this sweet quilt top:

I’d say she did a magnificent job! :)

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© J C Excell, 2012

Posted in Feature Friday, Features, Linky Party Results, UK Modern Quilt Blog, UK quilt blog, UK sewing blog | 1 Comment

Features, Quilt Show Goodies & Fabric Love

Here’s a small sample of fabric I’m loving this week:

Holy cow, Natasha at Skye Reve Fabrics is having a birthday sale – 20% off everything with the code BIRTHDAY!! Which means you could score this Amy Butler Lark 1/2yd bundle for only $15!!!

And I’m so in love with this Patty Sloniger fat quarter pack, available from Eclectic Maker for only £15 – so adorable!

And the most popular link was:

Jennifer at Knotted Thread shared her big reveal on this Retro Flowers quilt – isn’t it gorgeous? Well done, Jennifer!

And yesterday I went to the Malvern Quilt Show – and bought entirely too much fabric. Not that I feel *that* guilty about it. But I thought I’d share my joy:

I bought more Wonder-fil thread. I LOVE their Deco-Bob for piecing and using in the bobbin while quilting. It’s polyester and so, so thin and strong. I really recommend Wonder-fil threads – if they ever want to send me samples, I’m totally willing to review all the different types ;). I don’t know if they do this in their store, but at shows, if you buy 5 you get another free – the most expensive! And those sharp, thin Clover pins are perfect for piecing.

Yep, another Summersville charm pack, some solids to go with it, and a metre for matching binding. I have the urge to make granny squares – I’m hoping to come up with a no-waste method for large blocks. If I do, I’ll do a tutorial for you. :)

A couple of random FQs and some aqua and red FQs. I’m thinking they’d look nice in a Union Jack pillow?

I haven’t decided what to do with this yet – I may give it away, or I may decide to make a Union Jack pillow for a relative with it. I’m just not sure yet… What do you think? Would it work as a Union Jack pillow?

This fabric is crying out to be made into a bag with a matching cosmetic bag, isn’t it? Ah, London. How I love thee.

Well, I’m off to do more computer faffing. I’m really hoping to get some time with the sewing machine today, especially as I’m having double knee arthroscopy on Tuesday – I don’t think I’ll be sewing for a while after that!

P.S. Because the Google Overlords want to force the entire planet into using their crazy social application, my Google Friend Connect widget has been cancelled. But you can still get me in your Google Reader (or any other reader) by clicking on the Feedburner (RSS) link below. :)

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© J C Excell, 2012

Posted in Feature Friday, Features, Linky Party Results, UK craft blog, UK quilt blog, UK sewing blog | Tagged , , | 8 Comments

Features & Bonus Boob Story ;)

Can you believe the week’s almost over? I hope you have more exciting plans than we do – cleaning up the back garden and packing. I can hardly wait. Oh hey, did you want to join PLAY, my new mini quilt competiton? Details here.

Ok, so I promised you a boob story. A couple years into puberty, my boobs grew to be ginormous. I hated them, always. I got teased, and plus they made me look fatter even at times when I really wasn’t. I always wanted to get a breast reduction, but it’s not like they’re free, are they?

Anyway, I knew they were big, but one day I went to Bradbeers (the local dept store) and got professionally fitted for a bra. Unlike most services that measure you in the bra you’re wearing (which just tells you the cup size of the bra, not whether you fit in it or not), the Bradbeers lady knew what she was doing, and I walked out of there horrified that I was a 36F. An F, people. No one wants to be an F. F stands for Fail. So I went to the GP, who sent me to the surgeon, who warned me I might get scars. Who cares? They’d be smaller! Just the chiropractor bills alone testified to the damage they were doing. So I got on the list and eventually got a date.

Back then Savi was about 4, and in the bath one night, I attempted to prepare her for Mummy’s surgery, that I’d be in hospital, that I’d be sore, blah blah blah.

Me: Honey, I’m going to go into hospital for a couple of days because I’m having surgery. The doctor is going to make my boobs smaller.

Savi (clearly scandalised): Doctors can’t do that! No one can!

Me: Yes, they can. They make it so I’m asleep and can’t feel it, then they do an operation and make my boobs smaller.

Savi: No. That’s not possible.

We went back and forth for a while, me trying to convince her it was possible, Savi adamant that I was clearly shrooming. Finally:

Me: Fine, Savannah. They can’t do it, you’re right. Whatever.

Savi (as I stand up to get out of the tub): Maybe they can do something about your butt, too.

Isn’t she sweet?

The most popular links this week were Ellyn of Ellyn’s Place giveaway (which I believe is still open today):

 And House of Pinheiro’s lovely quilt finish:

If either of you want a Featured button, they’re on the right sidebar. :)

And I’ll see you guys Monday for another Manic Monday Linky Party!

P.S. Because the Google Overlords want to force the entire planet into using their crazy social application, my Google Friend Connect widget has been cancelled. But you can still get me in your Google Reader (or any other reader) by clicking on the Feedburner (RSS) link below. :)

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© J C Excell, 2012

 

Posted in Feature Friday, Features, Linky Party Results, Random Ramblings, UK craft blog, UK quilt blog, UK sewing blog | Tagged | 18 Comments

Giveaway Update, Wristlet Tutorial, Feature & Face Peel (!)

First, have you checked out PLAY? It’s a mini quilt competition based on any card from a deck of cards – there are some AWESOME prizes and your chances of winning are fab – check it all out here.

Yesterday, I posted a Welcome Giveaway for my newest sponsor, Sanourra’s Fabric Love (which I spelled wrong yesterday because I’m a hopeless idiot.). If you haven’t signed up for it, go do so now as you could win a free Moda Puttin on the Ritz jelly roll!

Sanourras Fabric Love 
I’m also posting a guest tutorial at FairyFace Designs {Sew} Get Started series for this wristlet:

This week’s most popular link was from Swedish Scrapper about her lovely Loulouthi scarf (which is really quite gorgeous):

And I think I mentioned (but can’t remember when) that I was going to do a TCA (Trichloracetic Acid) peel on my face. I’ve had some questions about it, and since I’ve had such good results with it I’ve decided it’s not fair to keep it to myself, as one of you may be suffering the same problem as me.

You see, for a few years I battled HORRIBLE adult acne. Like HUGE, cystic acne that would bleed if I touched it. All over my face. One Thanksgiving I flew to America to see my family and my Nana asked me if I’d had an accident as I looked so bruised. That was WITH pancake makeup – yes, pancake makeup like they use on telly. I’ve been on RoAccutane twice. I’ve been on countless other regimes and medications too, but only RoAccutane fixed it. It got so bad I wouldn’t leave the house. Adult acne isn’t just unpleasant, it’s downright shaming.

After the first round of RoAccutane, I had awful scarring all over my face. I found a shop on ebay selling TCA Peel kits and I bought one. I think it was a 24% concentration. When I had a free week, I did the peel. It literally felt like someone had set my face on fire. My face crusted up like a pizza and I peeled, peeled, peeled. BUT I had lovely skin afterwards that was nearly scar free.

Image Courtesy of MUAC

Then the acne returned. I went on antibiotics but it didn’t really help, so I had another round of RoAccutane. And another face full of scars. At 36, I’m not quite as daring with my face as I was when I was 29, so this time I played it safe. I bought an 8% kit from MUAC, and my mum shipped it over to me. I bought the smallest bottle ($16.00), spent the extra money for the neutraliser ($12.75) and made the mistake of buying the ($5) fan brush (which is useless). So for $33.75 plus shipping, I got enough TCA to do about 4-5 peels. If I had a dermatologist do them, that would cost me around £1000/$1500. So yeah, it’s a good deal.

MUAC do all kinds of peels – TCA is considered a ‘medium depth’ peel, but you can do surface peels too – lactic acid and glycolic acid. And they recommend you use a glycolic acid product in the run-up to your peel to make it more productive, so I did that too. If you’re curious about the success rate, I recommend looking at their testimonial blog – the before and after pics are amazing. Personally, I have nothing but good things to say about MUAC, and I think the prices are more than fair.

I also recommend you do plenty of research before buying. I’m on my 2nd peel right now. I did the first one 2 1/2 weeks ago and the 2nd one last night. I had Mike take some ‘before’ pictures, and I promise I’ll post them along with my ‘after’ pictures when I’m done. I can already see that last night’s peel has really improved the scars I had left, but I may bump it up to a higher concentration when I’ve got time off.

I bet you want to know how much it hurt, right? Well, the 24% was horrible. The 8% was a piece of CAKE! The only thing I ever felt was a bit of warmth, not even enough to call it ‘burning’. PLUS, I reapplied after 5 mins on my ‘bad spots’ and left it on for another 5 mins – you get a 25% boost doing that. And my peeling looks like I had a bit of a sunburn, and usually moisturiser covers that up if I need to go out. I do recommend Neosporin for the first 48 hours, but I only have to use a teeny tiny amount, so my face just looks a bit shiny. No one looked at me funny in the committee meeting or the store today. Well, not any more than usual.

So I promise I’ll post before and after pics. Meanwhile, enjoy the links!

P.S. Because the Google Overlords want to force the entire planet into using their crappy social application, my Google Friend Connect has been cancelled. But you can still get me in your Google Reader (or any other reader) by clicking on the Feedburner (RSS) link below. :)

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© J C Excell, 2012

Posted in Feature Friday, Features, Linky Party Results, UK craft blog, UK quilt blog, UK sewing blog | Tagged , , , | 8 Comments

Feature Friday

Hello and Happy Good Friday! I’m not much of a Christian myself, but it’s nice to have Buzz home for a few days, especially after his horrendous journey home last night and the whirlwind business trip to Luxembourg this week. He’s tired, poor guy. Last night there were awful delays due to a train that had caught fire, and he was lucky to get home at 8pm. The passengers got dumped in Basingstoke without knowing whether they’d be getting a train or be shuffled onto buses, and had to hang around in the cold for quite a while, not knowing when or even how they’d get home. :s

As for me, I spent yesterday sewing everything except the stuff that’s on my to-do list. I look at the list and it’s really hard to get excited about it. I need to quilt my red & aqua QAL quilt, but I’m having a lot of trouble doing free motion quilting on my Janome Horizon 7700. The top thread keeps breaking and skipping stitches. I’ve bought the free motion bobbin holder and switched to topstitch needles, but it still happens. The end result is that when I think about needing to quilt, I get stressed out and do something else instead. Which is bloody ridiculous when you consider the machine cost me £1400. If anyone has any advice, I’d be very grateful for it.

It sounds like I’m a whingy witch, but actually I’m not, honest! I’m quite happy doing the other stuff, I just need to focus a bit on what I need to do instead of what I want to do!

Anyway, we’ve got a fantastic feature this week:

 Libby of Truly Myrtle made this box bag, and even has a tutorial if you’d like to make one of your own. Isn’t it sweet?

Have a happy Easter, and come say hi on Twitter!

P.S. Because the Google Overlords want to force the entire planet into using their crappy social application, my Google Friend Connect has been cancelled. But you can still get me in your Google Reader (or any other reader) by clicking on the Feedburner (RSS) link below. :)

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© J C Excell, 2012

Posted in craft linky party results, Features, Linky Party, Linky Party Results, Manic Monday, UK craft blog, UK quilt blog, UK sewing blog | 11 Comments

Feature Friday {And Are You Signed Up For My Giveaway?}

Wow! What a week! I’ve been fighting feeling low, and I think I’m starting to feel a tiny bit better. I think it helped that the sun came out for a couple of days. I really ought to get one of those SAD lights. Do any of you use one? If so, what do you think of it? Does it work?

Things might be kinda ‘bare bones’ around here next week. My lovely daughter Savi has a week off of school for half term, so I expect we’ll use a lot of that time to hang out together. She is such a good kid. I am SO lucky! I’m hoping we can go shopping, dye hair, bake, sew, maybe even knit together. Plus I’m getting A NEW SEWING MACHINE today! Oh yeah! I ordered a Janome Horizon from GUR sewing machines. AWESOME!! So I’ll be immersed in reading the manual for a few days.

And make sure you’re signed up for my sweet giveaway – there are {at least!} 3 prizes so get in on it now!

On, on with the features! This week’s most popular links were:

We were all intrigued about Patricia of Happy Days Quilting and her pile of rainbow charms. So pretty! Looks like she’s making a New York Beauty block! (I am too, but it’s taking forever.)

Dorian of Ridge Top Quilts has been making some truly lovely scrappy log cabin blocks – there’s very small at only 5″ but so cute! Go Dorian!

See you all Monday for another Manic Monday Linky Party!

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P.S. Because I write a non-Blogger blog, I am one of those unfortunates who will lose my Google Friend Connect widget soon. I really value you as a reader and follower, and I’d like to ask you to consider following me on BlogLovin’, a free service built specifically for people to follow their favourite blogs, or by Feedburner, which is an RSS feed. Thanks!! :)

© J C Excell, 2011

Posted in craft linky party results, Feature Friday, Features, Linky Party, Linky Party Results, Manic Monday, UK craft blog, UK quilt blog, UK sewing blog | 9 Comments

Features, Giveaway Reminder, and What Would You Like To See?

Thank you so much to the many people who emailed me regarding yesterday’s plea for advice about my Plantar Fasciitis in both stupid feet. What I found most interesting is that most people said that the custom orthotics really helped them, which makes me feel a lot better about the prospect of shelling out £200+ for a pair. :S

And don’t forget to enter into my Fat Quarter Shop Welcome Giveaway!

Also, and I’ve been meaning to ask you this for a while, but what would you like to see more of? QALs? More personal stuff about me to get to know me? I think I’m already at the max for tutorials, unless I hire someone…which isn’t very practical when you make less than $20 per month. But occasionally I do more than sewing and quilting, and I wondered if you’d be interested in seeing a little of that?

Our most popular feature: Celtic Thistle’s handmade buttons. She’s got directions if you’re interested in making some for yourself. Plus she’s participating in the Sew. Happy. Quilt. QAL so she got brownie points too. ;)

And Amanda from All Kinds Of Wonderful used the cardboard from a shirt purchase to make an adorable sewing album:

Thanks all! If you’ve been featured and want a button, they’re over on the right sidebar. See you next Monday for another Linky Party!

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P.S. Because I write a non-Blogger blog, I am one of those unfortunates who will lose my Google Friend Connect widget soon. I really value you as a reader and follower, and I’d like to ask you to consider following me on BlogLovin’, a free service built specifically for people to follow their favourite blogs, or by Feedburner, which is an RSS feed. Thanks!! :)

© J C Excell, 2011

Posted in Feature Friday, Features, Linky Party Results, UK craft blog | 6 Comments

Features, Random Crap and Revamped Binding Tutorial

Hello! Friday already? What do you all have planned for the weekend? Buzz and I have a photo shoot we desperately need good weather for. I’m a little concerned that we’re not going to get it.

I also wanted to direct you toward my quilt binding tutorial – the first set of pics featured fabric that didn’t really show up well, so I re-shot it and I think it’s vastly improved. But I’d love your opinion too.

And I’ve posted my first Swoonalong pics on Flickr – I only allow myself to work on it on Fridays and if everything else is done. So after I finish putting together the Cherish do. Good Stitches quilt top, I’m going to cut another Swoonalong block! Whee!

I had 3 big ‘winners’ this week for the most hits. Remember yesterday I said I’d be doing a tutorial for my friend Melissa’s Valentine’s celebration? Well I’m also doing a tutorial for my friend Sarah’s Learn to Sew Series. She has some FANTASTIC tutorials coming up – and I don’t just mean mine. (But mine’s good too. Really.)

FairyFace Designs

And Sarah’s been gearing up to participate in Mouthy Stitches Zippy Pouch swap, which I’m pretty sad I missed.

The next one comes from Tabatha at Bending Pins:

Isn’t this lovely? If she does a pdf of these beautiful appliques I’d pay for it! ;)

And finally Esther from Happy in Red made a cute shopping bag:

See you Monday for another edition of Manic Monday Linky Party!

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bloglovin
P.S. Because I write a non-Blogger blog, I am one of those unfortunates who will lose my Google Friend Connect widget soon. I really value you as a reader and follower, and I’d like to ask you to consider following me on BlogLovin’, a free service built specifically for people to follow their favourite blogs, or by Feedburner, which is an RSS feed. Thanks!! :)

© J C Excell, 2011

Posted in craft linky party results, Feature Friday, Features, Linky Party, Linky Party Results, quilt binding tutorial, UK craft blog | Tagged | 3 Comments