August 31, 2015

Roskilde Quilt Exhibition

Welcome back!

This weekend was the annual Danish quilt guilds' exhibition in Roskilde, Denmark.  I've been really looking forward to going - having a sewing machine that can actually finish projects now really motivates a person when it comes to projects.

The exhibition featured a lot of art quilts but some traditional quilts and some with modern palettes.  I snapped a variety of photos to share.

My favourites of the day include 'Fireworks' (the yellow, pink, orange, red & striped quilt) and the spectrum star above.

Check out Part II for some photos from the music challenge exhibition and the shopping goodies.

August 21, 2015

Kiva - August 2015

Hello again!  I'm excited to share that this month's Kiva loan has been 100% funded by returned investments - yeah!

Parveen (Pakistan)

A loan of $200 helps Parveen increase her tailoring business.

Parveen is 46 years old woman, she lives in Rawalpindi, Pakistan, with her 4 children. Her husband has been working in the public sector organization for many years. Parveen is also providing sewing services and earn the income to contribute with her husband to manage the household.

She is needs different kinds of goods e.g needles, threads, pieces of cloth, machine oil etc for her business purpose, but due to insufficient financial means she is unable to purchase these accessories. Therefore she has applied for Kiva loan from its field partner BRAC Pakistan. This loan will enable her to purchase these above accessories and also helpful for her to increase monthly sales and profit by providing better sewing services.

At the time of this post, Parveen's loan is 37% funded.  Kiva is also currently giving out free trials to new Kiva members, which means you get a free $25 USD sum to donate as you see fit if you join now.

August 19, 2015

WIP Wednesday

Welcome back!

Quick post today (such a busy week!)  It came to my attention that it's been some time since I last shared an update on my Nice People, Nice Things embroidery quilt.  I'm currently working on the final month's set of blocks but it's been slow going (but going).

How adorable is that little ladybird family?

Linking up to Freshly Pieced:

August 17, 2015

TpT More Love for Back to School SALE!

Hello, hello, fellow teachers!

Have you heard the news?  Teachers Pay Teachers is having a *second* back to school sale and it's this Wednesday, August 19!

I've been busy working on product re-designs of my geometry and Oxford Reading Tree worksheets.  If you've downloaded any of them in the past, you should have received notification to re-download them and if you haven't done so yet, I would highly encourage you to do so.

Here's a taste of the updates thus far.  For full previews and to download any to use in your classrooms, please check out my TpT store.

Each worksheet has been re-designed to provide clear instructions, visual examples and/or helpful tips and age-appropriate workspaces for writing, drawing and sorting.  They also all include answer sheets.  The maths worksheets use an inquiry-based approach and some may include exit tickets to check for student comprehension.

If your school uses the Oxford Reading Tree scheme, you'll also want to check out my ORT close reading worksheets.  Newly re-designed worksheets include Stage 1 Kipper's Diary and Stage 2 Naughty Children.  Again, clear instructions with a variety of language activities and age-appropriate workspaces for writing and drawing.  Again, answer sheets provided.

Clothing Word Wall Vocab Cards

Hello again!

I'm in the process of working on some new TpT products (that aren't vocab cards) but in the meantime, I realised I had this very extensive set of clothing vocab that I hadn't yet shared so here it is.


This set includes 59 word cards with attractive and colourful pictures of a wide variety of clothing and accessories using both UK & US words.  Perfect for EAL/ESL/ELA teachers and lower primary teachers from kindergarten to grade 3.  While very useful for everyday vocabulary building, these cards are also a great compliment to thematic units of study such as clothing throughout history or clothing across different cultures.

As usual, if you download and use this resource, I'd love to hear back from you - did the quality measure up to what you would expect?  Did you find them useful in the classroom?  Any tweaks or considerations to suggest?

And don't forget to follow my TpT store or follow my Pinterest TpT board.

August 14, 2015

Finished Friday


First week back at work done and a completed quilt to show off to boot - not too shabby!

Diamond Jubilee Jelly Roll Race

And here it Diamond Jubilee jelly roll race quilt.  Started in 2012 in actual race format, this poor quilt top sat folded up and unloved for nearly three years.  In just two months, the borders have been added, the quilting has been stitched and the binding rounded it off.

In the main body of the quilt, I stitched gently rolling wavy lines that intersect periodically.  I wanted to break up the harsh, vertical lines and add some sense of movement.

In the borders, I used FMQ to stitch a playful doodle of loops and hearts.  I also stitched some cursive words into each border - on the top and bottom borders, 'Diamond Jubilee' (one word per border) and then on the left and right borders, 'I love London'.  I used the tissue paper template method (more info here & video links) for all the FMQ and it worked really well.

And then my love affair with binding...

7 Week summer holiday recap:
Needless to say, I'm very pleased with my summer projects!

August 12, 2015

WIP Wednesday

Welcome back!

Well, I have officially returned to work this week and while it's always a bit sad to see the summer holidays come to a close, I will especially miss having all of this extra leisure time to sew and quilt.  There are, of course, evenings (work too late, come home far too tired) and weekends (AKA recovery & errand-running days) but it's just not the same.

So, a quick update on the statue of my Diamond Jubilee jelly roll race quilt.  Saturday morning I got up early and sewed like a banshee to get the binding on this quilt so I could take it to work on at guild.  A wee bit stressful?  Yes, yes indeed.

After guild (and a seriously much-needed nap), I spent the remainder of the afternoon out on the balcony, enjoying the good weather, listening to some Paperclipping Roundtable (nothing quite like mixing and matching your hobbies) and hand stitching that binding down.

While I do enjoy building quilt blocks and seeing a design come together, I think it's hand stitching the binding at the end that I actually love the most and look forward to during a quilt project.

And of course I had some help...

Linking up to Freshly Pieced:

August 10, 2015

Science-Themed Word Wall Vocab

Hello again!

I'm back with more new word wall vocabulary cards and this time they're science-themed (I *love* teaching science)!


Newly added to my word wall collection is this set of matter vocabulary cards.  Great for primary science teachers and teachers with a matter & materials and/or properties of matter unit.  This set contains 45 word cards (including UK and US spellings) covering the following topics: phases of matter, physical changes, physical properties and chemical properties.


Another new addition to my word wall collection is this set of chemistry and lab vocabulary cards.  Great for primary science teachers and teachers with a chemistry unit.  This set contains 22 word cards covering the following topics: introductory chemistry, experiments, lab materials and the scientific method.


Are you a primary school science teacher, cover a number of science-related units or like me, just *love* teaching science?  Then you may be interested in grabbing all of my science-related word wall sets in this convenient bundle pack.

What you get:
  • Human body & health set (25 cards)
  • Chemistry & scientific method set (22 cards)
  • Matter & properties of matter set (45 cards)
  • Weather & seasons set (30 cards)
That's 122 vocabulary cards for just $9.00 USD - you save $3.00 USD!  That's a 1/4% savings compared to buying the four collections separately.

As usual, if you download and use this resource, I'd love to hear back from you - did the quality measure up to what you would expect?  Did you find them useful in the classroom?  Any tweaks or considerations to suggest?

And don't forget to follow my TpT store or follow my Pinterest TpT board.

August 08, 2015

Word Wall Vocabulary Cards - TpT

Hello, hello!

It's back to school time here in Sweden and I've been hard at work on some new classroom supplies for my TpT store.

First of all, I've been updating all of my existing vocabulary cards for your word walls - check out the shiny prettiness:

Each word wall set typically includes at least 30 different words on a thematic topic; using a clear and easy to read font (Arial Black).  Each word is accompanied by a clip art image, typically in full colour or clear b&w line drawing.  Sets are colour coded so that you can quickly and easily tell them apart or know if a word has gotten mixed into the wrong set.  A clean and simple design makes these cards super easy to print, cut and laminate for repeated use.

These word wall cards are intended for lower primary students and they are especially useful for your EAL/ESL/ELA students who are learning English.  Keep them on the wall during thematic units or year round or use them in specific lessons for vocabulary building and writing support.

Updated Product!

My set of FREE word wall leisure activities vocabulary cards have had a slight tweak and freshening up recently.  Renamed to 'hobbies', this set is now exclusively focused on arts, crafts and pasttimes.  EAL/ESL/ELA teachers, special needs teachers, art teachers and classroom teachers will all find this resource useful, especially if you teach any units about artistic expression or hobbies & pasttimes.  This set contains 32 words cards with matching, full-colour clip art for an attractive display.

Updated Product!

My set of sports word wall vocabulary cards now has its own set and has also been freshened up recently.  This set includes 24 word cards with hip, full-colour clip art featuring both boys and girls.  Perfect for EAL/ESL/ELA teachers, special needs teachers, P.E. teachers and classroom teachers.  This resource is especially useful for thematic units focusing on sports and active living.

As usual, if you download and use this resource, I'd love to hear back from you - did the quality measure up to what you would expect?  Did you find them useful in the classroom?  Any tweaks or considerations to suggest?

And don't forget to follow my TpT store or follow my Pinterest TpT board.

August 07, 2015

FMQ - Tips From a Beginner, For Beginners

Hello and welcome back!

Recently I've been sharing my forays into free motion quilting (FMQ) and received a lot of feedback - thank you!  Some of that feedback has been questions from other beginner FMQs asking about how I got started and what resources I used to begin.  I'm happy to share, so here are my tips.
  1. Sewing Machine - In order to FMQ, there are a few things you need to check with your machine before you begin.  You will need a FMQ foot (example photo) - this is also traditionally known as a darning foot, so if you have one of those, it's the same thing.  Some machines come with them these days and for slightly older models, you may need to purchase it separately.  You will also need to ensure that your sewing machine can drop the feeddogs - check your machine's user manual to see if/how to do this.  Extremely old machines (such as my 50-year-old Elna) don't have these capabilities but newer models, at least from the last 15 years or so should.
  2. Basting - The easiest basting option for FMQ is spray basting using a good quality fabric adhesive, such as 505 Spray & Fix.  Spray basting is preferable to other basting methods (ie. hand basting, safety pinning) because it allows for free movement and you won't have to stop to remove pins or try to unpick basting thread that has been quilted over repeatedly.  Plus, it's super fast and easy to do.
  3. Quilting Gloves - These are a matter of preference to the individual quilter but many - myself included - find using some sort of gripping glove invaluable to the FMQ process, because it allows you to better grip the fabric and move it more easily and fluidly on your work surface, which leads to a more polished result.  There are brand name quilting gloves that you can buy, either from quilt shops or online resources, such as Amazon.  However, these can be costly and I would recommend nipping into your local gardening or nursery centre, which is bound to have cotton gardening gloves with rubber texturing on the palms at a much more reasonable cost - check out mine here, which cost me a whole $3.00 CAD!
  4. Stencil Paper - This is optional but eventually you will likely find that you want to make a specific design that repeats around your quilt.  Traditionally you would use quilt stencils and mark your quilt with chalk, a pencil or a marking pen with disappearing ink.  All of these options are perfectly fine and work with FMQ, too, but they are time intensive and labourous.  You can easily and quickly make your own FMQ stencils using tissue paper and save yourself the trouble.  Again, there are brand name quilting stencil papers on the market, which you can get in quilt shops or Amazon, but again, you're going to be charged extra because it's been labled as a specialist 'crafter' item.  My economical solution has been to get regular dress maker's pattern paper - my local craft store sells it in rolls of 80cm by 15m for just under $10.00 CAD!  And again, no shipping fees required.
  5. Instruction - Finally, you're going to want to learn some of the basics and what to expect before you get started.  Your local quilt shop or guild may provide beginner courses in FMQ, which are a good option, because it's always useful to have a real life person present to ask and help troubleshoot when necessary.  However, if you don't have this option available or you want to get started right away, the Internet is your oyster!  YouTube is the most amazing resource to learn anything these days - this is how I learnt to crochet last year, seriously.  I would recommend that you search for 'beginner free motion quilting' and you will be presented with a wealth of tutorials.  Here are a few that I watched and would recommend:
Beginner Free Motion Quilting - From the wonderful gals at Missouri Star Quilt Company.

Bold Beginnings Quilting Stencils and Paper - Teaches you how to use the stencil paper from point #4 above for FMQ.

Using Paper Templates for Machine Quilting - Another good tutorial on stencil papers for FMQ.

Extra Tip!
Once you get your quilt piece all sandwiched and under the machine and you're ready to start sewing, I recommend that you do your first stitch in place without moving the fabric as much as possible.  The reason for this is I have found that the very first stitch is most often when the fabric will jerk the worst, resulting in a large and unsightly stitch, which you'll want to avoid.  If you just try to hold the fabric from jerking on that first stitch and then start moving it on the second stitch, you're more likely to have a smooth stitch line.  This may, of course, vary depending on machines and the size of your work surface and how much your project may or may not be dragging on the floor, etc.  It works well enough for me, so if you find you're experiencing a similar jerky beginning, give this a go and see if it helps.

Suggestion: FMQ Sampler Booklet - One last suggestion I have is to create your own sampler booklet of different FMQ patterns that you like so you can flip through it for ideas when planning the quilting on your next project.  It also makes for a useful way to practise the stitch pattern before using it on your good project.  You may also wish to create a Pinterest board of quilting stencils and patterns - or you can follow mine here: Cindy's Quilting Stencils Pinterest Board.

There you go - my top tips from a beginner, for beginners!  Good luck and enjoy learning a new technique.

August 05, 2015

WIP Wednesday

Welcome back to WIP Wednesday.

Recently I've been working on the quilting for my Diamond Jubilee jelly roll race quilt.  After having under estimated the amount of blue thread I would need to quilt the interior lines, it got pretty nail-biting when I realised I was nearly out of red thread for the border and I still had about half of the last border to quilt - eek!  Luckily, I found a bobbin of the same thread from my Elna that I used as top thread once the spool ran out, and then I got to play the ever so fun game of divide the itty-bitty bit of thread between two bobbins to make it stretch.  I just managed to squeak out that last border but this is literally what I had remaining for thread by the end:

Crisis adverted, all of the outer borders were done using tissue paper stencils I made myself.  Then on to tearing off the paper (it wasn't that bad - much less stressful than trying to make thread last).

Now I'm in the process of burying threads, which I normal loathe doing.  However, in an attempt to make the process less awful, I did a quick search on YouTube (have I mentioned how much I love YouTube?) and found this awesome method for burying threads:

I love this method so much, since you don't need to thread the needle every time you bury a set of threads - sooo much simplier and faster!  Won't be long now and I can add the binding.

Linking up to Freshly Pieced:

August 02, 2015

Harmonic Convergence

OMG, I finally finished one of my long-overdue UFO projects!  It's amazing to see what you can get done with the right tools for the job (thanks, Janome!).

Back in 2011, some friends and I had a sewing day together and we whipped up these Ricky Tims harmonic convergence wallhanging tops:

Four years on and after a lot of bother replacing border fabric I wasn't happy with, and this project is now complete and ready to hang.

Once again, we are having terrible summer weather so my apologies for the poor lighting - lack of sun does that...  Sigh.  But it still looks great, I say.

Here's a peak at the backing fabric, which co-ordinated with the prints from the top.  You can also see the large meander quilting here.

And here is the rest of the quilting.  You can see that I did in fact brave trace quilting all of those little mugs - there were 60 of them, by the way.  And I did freakishly well going around them, too, might I add (for a beginner).  And that loopy doodle quilting line is still my absolute favourite - too cute!

I even managed to get the hanging sash on the back to look cute with all the little mugs lined up.  That was a total fluke - there just happened to be a perfect size of leftover material cut from the border print that worked out but when the quilting gods hand you something this perfect, you need to take advantage of it, I reckon.

Mmmm, binding...  I love binding.  It's possibly my favourite part of any quilt project, which I should now be able to enjoy more often, since I have a machine that will allow me to completely finish projects.  Yeah!