Sunday, 25 November 2012

Craftsy, my favourite online classes!

It was almost a year ago my friend Lisa Margreet told e about Craftsy. Craftsy, the home of online crafts classes. And since then Craftsy has grown and grown. Every class I have enrolled on (and I have enrolled on quite a few!) has been of outstanding quality and has taught me loads.

How does it work I hear you ask? Well, you pay your (small) fee and it will give you access to the online video tutorials. These will never exoire so you can access them over and over again. YOu can take notes during the tutorials and store them online. You can ask your tutor and other students questions. And there are classes on EVERYTHING! Quilting, making a sexy bombshell dress, overlocking, cake decorating, you name it.

And there is a fab special offer on right now, $19.99 for each class until tomorrow night (US time)?

Friday, 16 November 2012

E17 Designers Christmas Market

Cheekyhandmades will have a stall at the E17 Designers Market on Saturday 2nd December between 2 and 6. 
Shop local, shop handmade!

Wednesday, 7 November 2012

Husqvarna Viking 875 review

I splashed out and treated myself to a new sewing machine. I really wanted a machine with a bigger throat (the area to the right of the machine) for bigger quilts, and this seemed like the ideal compromise between price (it was not £2500 like the equivalent Bernina) and features (it has one of the largest work areas of a domestic machine for example. So I sold my industrial machine and my Husqvarna Rose and ordered the Viking 875.

And boy am I glad I did! It is amazing.

Some of the features I like:
*Automatic fixing of stitches at the beginning and end of stitching. No more backtacking. Ever.
*It automatically cuts your threads, and pulls the top thread down to the bottom of the fabric. So handy when you are in the middle of a large piece of fabric, no more endlessly long bobbing threads pulled out. Also good if you don't want to move your sewing too much. Really handy.
* It adjusts the pressure on the foot automatically depending on what you are stitching. And this is not just a gimmick. I accidentally stitched some fabric with buttons which went under the presser foot, and it just went over the buttons like they weren't there. No hiccups, no stalling, no jamming. Like a tank over an ant's nest. And buttons is about the most extreme thing I would ever throw at it, and it just adjusted itself easily. Update: I stitched over hems made up of four layers of tweed and lining and it stitched it beautifully!
* The functions are mostly very intuitive. Good thing too as my machine shipped without a manual so I am having to figure it all out without one. Maybe helped by the fact that I was so familiar with the other Husqvarna's functions but it is easy peasy to find your way around.
* Two bright lights. It lights up the whole sewing area, no more shadows on your work.
* It remembers your settings. So even when you turn your machine off it will go back into the stitch tension and needle position you were using. Annoying when you were previously reverse stitching as I discovered today but otherwise amazing. On the old machine I often left it on for hours or even days so it wouldn't lose my settings. Now I can just turn it off. 
* The machine tells you when the bobbin thread is low. You can ignore it but then at least you have been warned. Really helpful!!
* When you start stitching it lowers the foot for you, when you take your foot off the pedal it raises the foot a little so you can pivot your work, and when you are finished (and have fixed and cut your threads) I will move the foot up and the needle out of your work so you can take your work out. Lowering and raising the foot is done by button at the front, no longer with a lever. Other than me automatically moving my hand to the back to do this (I am learning not to now!), it is very useful. And most of the lowering and raising is done exactly when you need it to be done so you don't really all that often have to use those buttons.
* It has so many cool stitches!! Bicycles, cars, sweeties, stars, cross stitches, letters, hearts and about 150 more.

I have for the first time in about a year shoved the Jones straight stitch only aside and this is now my new baby!

Sorry, no pictures (yet) as my photostream from iPhone to Mac takes ages to update and I want to get this posted...

Thursday, 25 October 2012

Inspired: London, a book chokka full of London handmade design

The amazing We Make London girls have done it again: they have published a who's who of London designers working in the field of handmade crafts. And a jolly fabulous book it is too. And I am not just saying that because I'm in it!

Tonight then is press night, very exciting! Must pack some business cards : )

I will post some more as soon as I have a copy of the book in my paws

Wednesday, 17 October 2012

Quilts in progress

I am having a nice gentle week with hand quilting and some machine quilting.

I have almost finished the quilt for Mazzy whose mummy writes the lovely Mommyshorts blog. I have loved making this quilt and will be sad to see it go. But go it must! This week.

And my dear friend Leo had a little girl last week. I had been collecting scraps and cut them all up into triangles a fee weeks back without a clear idea how the final quilt would look. I knew it would work itself out in the end and it did! Almost done with that one too. I have been rushing that one a little as I want it done before I meet Arriela next week so the stitching is a bit scrappy but Leo, having become a friend after meeting her at one of my classes, will forgive me for that!

Sunny days this week interspersed with torrential rain. All the cats are suddenly hanging around again as it is getting cold out. From no visible cats we are now suddenly a proper 4 cat household again. Plus we have a feral kitty living in the shed. She comes in for food but is scared of people. She is fond of our Jasper though...

Friday, 12 October 2012

New fabric

I got a lovely box today... Full on dots, stripes, stars, ginghams and plains... All the way from Holland. It looked so delicious I just wanted to dive right in!

Sunday, 7 October 2012

What I have been quilting

So... the children have been back at school a few weeks and my time is filling up rapidly. Very rapidly. From thinking I had seas of time when Max was first at school to realising 6 hours is in fact not very much at all has not taken long at all!

I have made (and am still making) some gorgeous quilts, some cool cushions, and lots of other its and bobs. I am about to start a quilt for my friend Leo who is being induced today (go girl!) and cannot wait to meet her little girl, and I am also making a playmat to cover a UGLY baby playpen for my friend Laurel's two girls who at 10 months are full of mischief and need to be contained just every now and then so mum can do stuff (but need to be in a stylish playpen as they are stylish twins born to stylish mummy and daddy! Some pics:

Mazzy's quilt in progress

Mazzy's quilt in progress

Double bed quilt I made for the art trail

Max's new patchwork quilt

Lucas' quilt

Quilt for Amanda White

New @, &, ? and ! cushion range

Monday, 17 September 2012

hello school term, goodbye art trail 2012!

Wow, what an amazing few weeks it has been! The E17 2012 art trail has just finished (yesterday was the last day) and athough the first weekend was largely dominated by the foul EDL marching through our lovely Walthamstow (we love our mixed community thank you very much, as we clearly showed you!), the last two weekends have been amazing. The weekend of 8th and 9th September was hot and I did a little art trail visiting with my lovely friend Salima, her son Haroun and my Max. We started at The Mill and the gorgeous exhibits on there, as well as the amazing Grow Your Own Theatre (website: grow your own theatre) doing some children's drama sessions which Max took part in. He made a superhero wristband and then they made a little play together. He hasn't stopped being a superhero yet!

We then visited Birdbox Avenue, local people having decorated little birdboxes which were hung all over people's front gardens, school fence and down the length of Coppermill Lane. Half the fun was spotting them!

We then visited the wonderful @fabsternation who had taken photos of local twitter friends with their favourite possessions. He had just moved into his new home which had an amazing view of the water filter beds on the edge of the marshes.

The on the Sunday we witnessed a carrot and a leek being united in holy matrimony at the Vegetable Chapel of Love, a bonkers and super fun event.

The amazing Laura and Cris who organise the art trail then held a very special event for the little people in our area. Inspired by the book How to catch a star by Oliver Jeffries they transformed their road into a magical story land with starry lanterns and the whole story acted out in different gardens along the road. It was beautiful and inspirational and something no one will ever forget! Thanks guys...
This last weekend we at Thorpe Crescent were all open again. I set up in my new pink gazebo and on Saturday had a kids party with fancy dress and facepainting, a great success, lots of fun was had by all!

I have again met lots of cool new people and talked to interesting and funny and sweet locals and not-so-locals. I love the art trail! 

At the end of it all the neighbours, both who had taen part and those who hadn't relaxed with a glass of red wine, some cupcakes (thanks Sarah) and a few precious rays of sun...

And then this morning Max (my youngest) went to school....

No more days of crafting and hanging out with friends and playdates on Tuesdays. Also no more trying to juggle work and a 4 year old. Yes I had a tear in my eye at the school gates. But here I am on a Monday morning listening to BBC Radio 6 and blogging, drinking coffee and sewing...not so bad really!

Tuesday, 28 August 2012

E17 Art Trail 1- 16 September 2012

The 2012 E17 Art Trail, a wondrous two weeks of open studios, events, art, sales, workshops, parties, and putting Awesomestow on the map, is on this year between 1st – 16th September.

This will by my third art trail, and this time I am hoping to rise to the occasion even more than in previous years! 

This year I will be making some gorgeous new quilts for the trail, inspired by traditional quilts, executed in funky bright fabrics.

I will run some beginners sewing classes at a special reduced cost, there will be kids’ crafty workshops, I will be selling my trademark goodies and also some vintage sewing machines. 

I will be open between 11 and 3 on the 1st and 2nd September, and 11 - 3 on the 15th and 16th September. For more details and bookings for classes during the art trail (and after!) please visit 

And on Saturday 15th September between 1 and 4 there will be a special party on the green (@ Thorpe Crescent outside the Cheekyhandmade house, as well as various other art trail venues). There will be music, cake, kids games, some vintage campervan fun and some stalls selling funky wares (not just cheekyhandmades goodies although of course they will be available too).

Of course there are hundreds of other venues and people taking part too. More details: There is even a really cool app which can help you plan your route and gives you opening times and information and you can see all the venues on a map. Check it out on the app store under E17 art trail 2012!

Saturday, 14 July 2012

Blog confusion pt 2

Yes I know I said I was only going to post via my website blog but you know, I miss this blog! I cannot seem to find a way to get people to subscribe properly on the other blog, so I have no real idea who is reading it, if anyone. I have a constant stream of spam comments, which I never get on this blog, and no nice proper comments, which I used to get all the time on here. So I think that little experiment may have decided that I will continue blogging on here as normal. Hope you haven't all gone away!!

Last weekend we went to visit friends near Northampton. We braved the threatening skies on the Sunday to take the kids and dog for a walk and check out some poppy fields. It was lovely and only rained for the first ten minutes. Check out these gorgeous photos