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All together now: “YAY!”

May 7, 2013

Wow! It’s been only 3 weeks since the idea for  “to Boston with Love” idea began, and it has gone wild! (For more on how it got started read my previous blog post here.) At this point we have over 45 Modern Quilt Guilds and 70 individual makers (that we know of) participating. We’ve already received over 100 flags, and we have had emails with more promised from flag making enthusiasts all over the world including Ireland, England, Germany, France, Holland, South Africa, USA and of course, Canada. IT IS AMAZING!!


Flags makers from top left to bottom right: First 3 Berene, Georgia Campbell, Rita Hodge, Berene, Krista Hennebury, Berene, Dani Prem, Alison Sawers.

What really makes me so happy about this outpouring of love and enthusiasm, is the way people have come together as an international community. On the day of the bombings, as I watched the news, I listened to the media postulate on who could be responsible. They talked about right wing supremists, muslim extremists, people with mental health issues and other potential “groups” that may have wanted to take revenge. I was struck by how separated we’ve become as a society. And by we, I mean human beings. We’re all so focused on our own agendas – political, social, religious, and economical agendas. Everyone is categorized and put in a box. We fight for those in our own boxes and feel threatened by those in others. Yet I’m sure that if we actually sat down and spent time with people that we view as “different” to us,  we’d realize that we all have way more in common than we think. We seem to have lost site of the fact that we are all just fellow human beings sharing the same planet. We have forgotten to be kind to each other. 

This project was about Boston, and bringing love from others to comfort those affected by this senseless violence. But it was also about something bigger: It was also about people looking after people. Fellow human beings across the globe, coming together to feel more connected. And that to me is quite something. Thank you to everyone who has made those connections through the project. You are all amazing. This is not something that any one person can do alone. It is a group effort. And just as we will be tying the flags together for the exhibit, so too will we be tying you together to each other. I hope that that feeling of connectedness catches on a little, especially to those who may feel left out, ostracized, or just disconnected from society. From humanity. Because I believe that no person who feels connected to their fellow human beings, could do something as evil as what happened in Boston. Or what happens around the world on a daily basis in places of war and dissension.

With that thought in mind I finished this flag today. This one os for Martin.

This one is for you, Martin!

This one is for you, Martin!

And continuing on the theme of inclusion, I made this braille one that reads: “WITH LOVE”. Not sure why I’ve never thought to embroider braille before, it feels great to touch and looks pretty cool too.

Braille embroidery flag

And here is a of my wonderful mom and her students in Cape Town, who made 42 flags out of African shweshwe fabric. As well as a pic of my step-dad at the machine stitching away at his contribution.

Rosemary Sellars and her fabulous students, with their flags for Boston.

Rosemary Sellars and her fabulous students, with their flags for Boston.

Sean Sellars stitching up a storm!

Sean Sellars stitching up a storm!

Today it was announced that the exhibition will be hung at the prestigious Boston Museum of Fine Art, in the Shapiro Family Courtyard. Amy Friend is responsible for securing this location. Amy has been a huge factor in the project’s success. When I contacted her to be my Boston liaison person, I had no idea that she used to work as a curator in museums. In addition she, as many of you may know, is a quilty rock star. Amy has been an awesome partner, not only because of her large blog following and experience working in museums, but also because she is also a lot calmer than I am (!) so we make a good team, I think. I come up with the crazy nut-job ideas, and she calmly talks me out of the too crazy bits, and systematically helps with the execution. Having said that, she was the one who went big and contacted the MFA. That was pretty bold!!

MFA is Boston Strong, Huntington Avenue Entrance

And the exciting news for me is that I will now be attending the event. I have never been to Boston before, so am really looking forward to it. If you are in Boston over Memorial Day weekend, be sure to come to the exhibition. There is no entrance fee for the whole weekend, as they are instead accepting donations for the One Fund. Track me down and say hello!

And if you haven’t made a flag yet but would still like to, there is still a bit of time to squeak one in before the deadline. Deets over here.


April 28, 2013

Happy Sew Lucky PEACE pattern

Here is my revised Peace sign pattern, designed for the “to Boston with Love” project.

First thing first, let’s take care of business: Please note that you are welcome to link to this pattern, however you may NOT offer this pattern for download on your, or any other website – free or otherwise. You may print it out for charity sew-ins, however you may NOT print it out for a paid class. You may sew as many of these as you wish for personal or charity purposes. If you would like to use the pattern for business use, or resale-able items, please contact me to buy a license. You may NOT print, copy or reblog the pattern, instructions or tutorial, for sale as a pattern, or distribute it in any way other than stated above. Thank you!

Great, OK let’s get started.

All seams = 1/4″

The sizes in this pattern are designed to make a 6: x 8″ sized flag for bunting.


a) Download and print HSL.PeaceFlagpattern.Template. Check the size of your print is 100% with the 1″ size check.

b) Trace the red hexie outline on a piece of tracing paper and save for step 3 (a).

c) Cut the following pieces: (use the template as reference for fabric choices)

AC & DF:  2  1/4″ x 4  1/4″  (cut 2)

B & E:  1″ x 4  1/4″  (cut 2)

G:  1″ x 4  1/4″  (cut 1)

H:  1″ x 3  3/4″  (cut 6)

J:  2  1/4″ x 3  1/4″  (cut 2)

K:  2  1/4″ x 5″ (cut 2)

L:  2  1/2″ x 7″  (cut 2)


a) Cut pieces AC and DF at a 45ø angle at the bottom, as shown.


b) Stitch B to A, with right sides together. Press seam towards B. Stitch E to D with right sides together. Press seam towards E.



c) Line up C with the top tip of B as shown. Stitch C to B with right sides together. Press seam towards B. Line up F with the top tip of E. Stitch F to E with right sides together. Press seam towards E.


d) Trim the edges as shown.


e) Stitch ABC to G with right sides together. Press seam towards G. StitchDEF to G with right sides together. Press seam towards G.



a) Place the traced hexie shape on top your block, and cut along the lines.



b) Place the first H piece centred along the bottom of your hexie with right sides together. Stitch.


Then place the neck H piece on the next edge of the hexie and stitch. Work you way around until you’ve done all side sides. Press the seams towards the H pieces.




a) Stitch J pieces to H2 and H6, with right sides together.


b) Stitch K pieces to H3 and H5, with right sides together.


c) Stitch L pieces centred along top and bottom of the block.


d) If you would like to add running stitch around the border then do so before trimming. If you are making this for a “to Boston with Love” flag then trim to 6 1/2″ x 8 1/4″ for bunting flag. Then go to the tutorial on how to make the flag on the Vancouver Modern Quilt Guild website to make the flag.


“All you need is love” (a story about the good guys)

April 26, 2013

John Lennon wrote many brilliant lyrics, but in my opinion, this simple line is the most profound. It’s so obvious, and yet we often need a reminder. When the news of the Boston bombings broke I, like many, was shocked and saddened. Such a happy and historic event marred by a couple of extremists. How could a person be so incredibly cruel to his fellow human beings?  As I watched the news, I saw the photo of little Martin Richard holding the poster that he’d made that read: “NO MORE HURTING PEOPLE” It gave me that feeling of burning hurt in my stomach. 8 year olds should be climbing trees, riding their bikes in the park and standing on the beach watching the waves wash over their wriggly toes. They should NOT have to worry about being grabbed by weirdos, shot with assault rifles in their schools, or Heaven forbid, being bombed! The fact that this dear, sweet boy was concerned about these things, and then  hurt in the worst possible way,  just gutted me.

That night I had a dream: I dreamed about a park with trees filled with bright bunting flags flapping in the sunshine. The flags had hearts, and messages of love and hope. People were sitting on benches and on the grass below the flags, looking peaceful and happy, comforted by the energy of the love flying above them. It was a beautiful dream. I was inspired. I had an idea! In the morning I texted my friend Krista: “Do you know anyone in Boston?”

Peace & Love flags made by Krista Hennebury and myself.

Peace & Love flags made by Krista Hennebury and myself.

That was the beginning of what has, in less than a week, become something incredible: Krista connected me with Amy Friend, who despite having a crazy work deadline, and barely knowing me aside from a bit of online banter, amazingly agreed to be my Boston cohort (no small task!). Then my trusty friends at the Vancouver Modern Quilt Guild joined the posse. We got Boston MQG on board, and now over 30 modern quilt guilds are participating, as well as a number of individuals, from all over the world. This project is shaping up to be quite something. And I think Boston will be truly touched by it. The quilting and craft community is really  special. Living proof that for every bad guy (or two) out there, there are thousands of good guys. And they have a lot of love to give!

Here’s what we’re up to:flags for boston

If you’d like to participate you can, you will just need to get going as the deadline is tight. PLEASE NOTE: There is a revised deadline for this project. They are now needed in Boston by May 21, 2013. More info can be found on Amy’s blog here.

Here is the project info plus a tutorial on how to make your flag. Here are a couple of free downloadable patterns I designed for the project, as well as a list of other tutorials and some inspiration.

Lastly, I’d just like to say thanks to everyone who has embraced this project so far. I truly value the quilting community out there, and especially the lovely peeps in my home guild, the Vancouver Modern Quilt Guild. Thanks for being so supportive and well, just awesome.

Rest in peace little Martin. You’ve inspired so many out there to be better people.

And the winner is…

December 13, 2012
improv fabric giveaway

Ruby the Random Number Generator hard at work.

Ruby has picked a winner: Congrats to Katy of Lethargic Lass for having (apparently) the tastiest name. Her adjective was “crooked” and her colour was lime. I’m really looking forward to designing this Improv fabric. Thanks so much to all of you for the numerous, serendipitous, awesome, choice, mischievous, fabulous, creative, ingenious, impetuous, spirited, yodel-worthy(!), quirky, humorous, auspicious and plentiful contributions.  (There were so many good ones, too many to list)  Katy, I will work on the design in the next week or so and then a yard of Improv Adjective fabric is yours!


IMPROV fabric design GIVEAWAY

December 4, 2012


So I had this weird yet intriguing idea in the night, an idea that was (I hoped) a virginly new one, an idea that might get peeps excited and buzzing about a novel and exciting thing to participate in. I think you’ll find it intriguing too. It involves winning a yard of texty fabric. But better yet, it involves your input!


STEP 1: You think of your favourite adjective/s. It can be in any language but it must be an adjective, and it can’t be obscene.  Make sure no one has already picked the same word/s. Then you leave a comment on this post with this fabulous, deadly, amazing, flowery, dashing, grotesque, original, cheeky, hairy (or smooth), large yet tiny, ambitious and intrepid adjective. Along with your favourite colour. (Or a colour that you’d like a yard of fabric in.) And don’t forget a link or email address so that I can find you if you win.

STEP 2: Then we will bring in Ruby, our living, eating, breathing, hot-blooded and talented Random Number Generator, to pick a winner. Remember Ruby? Check out the link if you don’t. And although you may think that using adjectives like “carroty” or “green” may serve you well with this Random Number Generator, good luck with that. He’s not that bright. (Yes, Ruby is a “he” – but that’s another long story)

STEP 3: I design a fabric using  ALL the adjectives sent in, and using the winner’s colour choice.

STEP 4: The lucky winner receives a yard of Kona printed with the hot-off-the-press, texty fabric design.

You in? Great. You know what to do. Only ONE entry per person please.

DEADLINE: Enter by midnight (PST) on Wednesday December 12.

Doodle Memory Game

December 4, 2012

home made toys games

This is a tutorial for a Memory Game which I designed for my five year old niece. It makes 56 super cute pairs of “cards”– 112 in total – with plaid or dotted colours. You will need one yard of my “Doodle Memory Game” fabric to make the cards, and if you want a matching pouch to keep them in you will need a fat quarter of the “Doodle Owl Rainbow” fabric. You can of course make the pouch out of any fabric. The Game name type is on the Game fabric so you can still put the name on your pouch. You could also make the memory card game with any picture fabric – as long as you have two of each picture, and some backing fabric. You don’t have to have 56, in fact 56 is quite a lot! For littlees even 20 or 30 will do. But I got carried away while drawing these and couldn’t decide which to nix, so I threw the lot in there.

Home School craft projects

This is what one yard looks like.

Hand drawn fabric design

Save the text at the bottom for your zipper pouch when cutting.


Fabric mentioned above

36″ x 20″ Iron-on Medium weight Fuseable Interfacing

White cotton thread

Scissors, Iron and the usual sewing supplies.

If you are making the zipper pouch you will also need:

12″ zipper

7″ x 1″ piece of Heat ‘n Bond (or similar fuse material)

14″ x 13″ of solid fabric for the pouch lining.


Seam allowance = 1/4″ (6mm)

Double stitch at start and end of all seams.


A) Press your fabric. Cut it in two, one piece with the section with the square picture cards and the other with the owl backing fabric. Iron interfacing onto the back of the piece with the squares on it. If you use Pellon like I did you will see that it is exactly the same width for your convenience.

Pellon 911FF Interfacing

B) Cut 2 1/2″ strips of the Owl fabric backing piece and then cut them into 2 1/2″squares – you will need 112 squares. Cut up all the squares along all the thin black lines.

Happy Sew Lucky Fabric


A) With right sides together place a picture square with a backing square. Stitch all around leaving a 1″ gap on the side that is the bottom of the picture. Repeat for all 56 squares.Trim the corners.

Memory game B) Use a fat straw and pokey stick to turn them right side out.

fabric turning tools

If you have a minion take full advantage of them, as this can be fun for them but tedious for us. Besides you’re making dinner later, right?  :-)

kid helper

2 C) Turn in the seam allowances at the openings at the bottoms.

Bird House

2D) Press.

Fabric Memory Game

2 E) Stitch the openings at the bottoms closed.

Memory Game fabric Pear

Well your game cards are done! Now if you’d like to make a pouch for them follow this tutorial on how to make a flat zippy pouch. Or if you prefer a gusseted zipper pouch like the one shown in my pic above, I will be posting a gusseted zipper pouch tutorial soon. You could also Google “Gusseted Zipper pouch tutorial” There are lots out there. You will need to cut your rectangles 12″ wide x 7 1/2″ high. When you fold the corners to sew across for the gusset you should sew a 2 1/2″ seam across the corners at 90 degrees to your side seam. Drop me a comment me if you are stuck. I appliquéd the Game name panel on with Heat ‘n Bond and then stitched around the edges.

Here is my schweetie niece playing her memory game. I’m told that the undies are the faves – no surprises there – and because I’m the one who made the game, they are “Beenie’s undies”! Awesome. My fave, of course, is the Converse sneakers. Let me know which are your little ones faves if you decide to make one. Have fun playing.


Extra! Extra! Zip-Up Zombie spills his guts!

October 8, 2012

Look what just crawled out from under a bush! Well, firstly me, after working in blog-absentia for months. (Shocking!) Secondly my latest design for a Zip-Up Zombie, which is up for voting on in this week’s Spoonflower Zombie plush toys contest. You unzip him down his middle to reveal his innards. Ew! Check him out, and vote for him if you’re lovin’ his maggot infested brain and his guts-oozing style. He’s feeling a little sad because  for some unknown reason the Spoonflower website turned his image into a little blue box on the voting page for a few days = most annoying! They’ve fixed it now but he’s lost some votes, so help him out will ya?! (You have until Wednesday to vote.)

Happy Sew Lucky Plush zombie

And for once I’m ahead of the game with the tutorial, and just in time for Halloween preparation. So let’s get stuck right into the instructions!

This tutorial requires a fat quarter of Zip-Up Zombie fabric on either Kona or the linen-cotton blend. The finished sewn-up Zombie is about 11″ (27cm) tall.


10“ (25 cm) Zipper

2 x 1/2” Buttons



Seam allowance = 1/4″ (6mm)

Double stitch at start and end of all seams.


A) Press your fabric. Cut out all your pieces along the black lines. Place EXTERIOR FRONT right side up, then place TOP INSIDE LINING right side up (with printed side upwards) on top.

zombie plush

B) Stitch all around black dotted stitch guidelines. Carefully cut along purple cutting lines, snipping close into corners without cutting the stitching.

zombie zipper


C) Push TOP INSIDE LINING through the cut hole, flatten to form the lining and press.

zombie plush pattern

D) Place an 10” zipper in place under the rectangular hole, with the metal tips at least 1/4″ (6mm) past the end of the rectangular opening. Topstitch all around it to secure it in place. Trim the excess zipper ends on the back side as shown.

Zombie zipper pouch

happy sew lucky zombie

zombie zipper pouch


A) Make a sandwich with BOTTOM INSIDE LINING right side up at the bottom, then TOP INSIDE LINING, then EXTERIOR FRONT right side up, and finally EXTERIOR BACK right side down. Pin and mark a 3” (75mm) wide gap at the feet.

Cut and sew pattern

B) Stitch all around the edge leaving the 3” (75mm) wide gap open at the bottom open for turning. (Remember to back stitch at start and finish to prevent unravelling.) Trim outer corners and snip inner corners.

pouch seams

C) Turn right side out. Turn seam allowance inwards at opening and press.

D) Stuff with stuffing between the BOTTOM INSIDE LINING and the EXTERIOR BACK. (So that you have three fabric layers on top and one below. Make sense?) Then top-stich or whipstitch the opening closed.


A) Place ARMS right sides together, matching RIGHT with RIGHT, and LEFT with LEFT. Stitch all around leaving open between dots. Notch around curves and turn right side out. Turn the seam allowance at the openings inwards and press. (For tips on turning see the third pic down in this tutorial.)

plush arms

B) Stitch a button hole the size of your button at the shoulder of each arm as shown. Stuff the arms and whipstitch the openings closed.

detachable arms

C) Stitch a button onto each shoulder of the EXTERIOR at the sides. Button your arms in place.

plush arms

That’s it, you’re all done!

If you’re a Halloween keener check out my Skellie pattern from last year, as well as my Glow-in-the-dark Ghosties craft tutorial.

And I promise to try and be a better bloggie friend from now on. Have a great Halloween.


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