I was sent a link to this tutorial by a friend and I just have to share it with you all ….

CLICK HERE for this fantastic tutorial from Cintia of “My Poppet” blog.

As you know, I love using up all my scraps in my projects, but until now I’ve always cut off the long thin bits and saved just the wider, more “useful” pieces.  Not any more!  I think this is a great idea, and will be keeping my long thin scraps in future for some wonderful present wrapping this Christmas.  

Thanks so much Cintia for sharing with us.



First of all, a great big “THANK YOU” for all your kind birthday wishes.  I did indeed have a lovely day – and an especially lovely time beforehand too, as I was away for a few days – I’ll tell you all about my special birthday trip later this week.   But it’s now time now  to announce the winner of the Fred – or Ginger – kit.  I absolutely adored all your comments and had to recount the winner three times as I kept dissolving into giggles when reading them whilst counting!

Fred & Ginger

And finally, after working the random number generator and having several recounts, I am pleased to announce that the winner is comment number 55 – that’s Gayle – well done Gayle – I’ve emailed you.  If you haven’t already you might enjoy reading the comments.  They are absolutely wonderful – thank you so much everyone and I’m only sorry I can’t send everyone a Fred or Ginger kit for Christmas.

And, thinking about Christmas, I wanted to share my Christmas tree stand cover idea with you.  This came about because, as usual I have been dreadfully disorganised.  I had planned to make a Three Kings tree skirt, but I didn’t get around to it so was faced with, once again, the problem of disguising the horrid plastic log at the bottom of my tree.  And I didn’t want to spend lots of money as I WILL make a tree skirt next year – I hope!  So …. I had a rummage around my workroom and managed to put together what I think is a rather nice cover, using only items I had to hand.  And it can be easily dis-assembled once Christmas is over and everything reused for future projects.  

Christmas Tree Tub

It looks a bit like a woolly tub I think!  If you’d like to make your own, you’ll need:

  • bendy card or plastic – sufficient to wrap around your tree stand/bucket  (I had a sheet of handbag base that I cut into half and joined with parcel tape – see pictures below)
  • Parcel tape if you need to join your plastic or card
  • an assortment of patches cut from old knitwear
  • toy stuffing
  • sewing machine

How I did it:

xmastreetub 002

 Measure around the base you want to disguise.  Cut your plastic into a strip that can be bent into a ring that will fit comfortably around your tree base – allowing for joins if necessary.  Make the cover as tall as you wish – mine was about 8″ tall.  I allowed a couple of inches for each join and stuck my plastic together  with brown parcel tape so I could easily peel it off and use the handbag base for its original purpose after Christmas.  

xmastreetub 006

Join your patchwork squares into a strip that’s about an inch less than your plastic strip in length, and half an inch taller.  I joined my squares with machine zig-zag stitch, allowing between 1/2 and 1/4″ seam allowance (I wasn’t too fussy) and pressed the seams open so that the machine stitching doesn’t show.  

xmastreetub 008

When your strip is the right length, join the two short ends so that it forms a circle and slip it over your plastic ring.  The woollens will be stretchy and as the woollen circle is very slightly smaller than the plastic one, this stretch will keep it in place without distorting its shape.

xmastreetub 010

 Place your cover in position with stand inside then assemble tree (you could also make this to cover an inelegant bucket or tree stand for a real tree).  

xmastreetub 012

 Optional step:  Untangle puppy from the decorations she has stolen while you were unpacking your tree and place the decorations out of reach.  

Image4Fill tub with toy stuffing to resemble snow.  Then decorate your tree – switch on the lights ….

Christmas Tree TubStand back and admire!  (I added my baby squirrel softies to my snowy scene – but I’m not sure how safe they’ll be with Miss Daisy on the prowl).


My new book is done!  I’m so excited!

Inside you’ll discover some help and advice on topics ranging from the right thread and fabric, hooping up, caring for your work and transferring your design.  You’ll also discover a stitch glossary with diagrams, pictures from Jacqui, and clear instructions to help you master some of the most commonly found embroidery stitches.  

Please share it as much as you want – that’s if you like it enough to want to share – I do hope you will.  I’m also planning on making it available as a “proper” book through Amazon – sadly that can’t be free – and I’ll let you know when it’s available.

You can read it online above – or just CLICK HERE to download the pdf file- it’s absolutely free with love from me to you.


Thinking about colour ….

by Helen on January 13, 2013

First of all – thank you so much everyone who left such kind and generous comments about my quilt as you go project – now christened the Countryside Quilt.  Since Christmas everyone who has visited Coombe Leigh has been taken upstairs to admire it – and without exception they have all said how much they like the colours and how they would never have thought of putting them together, although it does in fact conform very closely to colour wheel theory.  So I thought maybe I’d write down a few hints and tips on using and combining colours in case anybody might find it interesting and/or useful perhaps?  

Thinking About Colour

If you’d like it, then it’s free to download,  just CLICK HERE or on the image above for the free pdf file.  And finally … here’s a peek at the first project for the February issue of the Bustle & Sew Magazine… “Birds on a Wire”

Birds on a Wire

Lots of colour here!  And a great way to display children’s artwork, postcards, fabric samples or anything at all that can be pegged to a line!   


 If you’d like to learn more about my magazine and take advantage of my special $1 trial offer (must end soon), then please CLICK HERE.