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“Pop it in your purse, Honey!” (New pattern and fabric design)

July 15, 2015

A couple of years ago I designed a little needle book for a swap that the Vancouver Modern Quilt Guild did with the London (England) MQG. I thought it’d be neat to have a little pocket to keep a little stash of embroidery thread or a few emergency sewing kit buttons in. Here’s what I came up with:

Purse needlebook pattern

It turned out really sweetly and I was sad to give it up, but that’s a good thing when you’re making for someone else. The recipient loved it, so it was well received. A few people asked me if the pattern was available. I said that I was working on it. Well, here I am two years later announcing my new pattern: “Pop it in your purse, Honey” now available in my Etsy shop. Better late than never, right?!

There are a few novel features to this design: Firstly it has a 3D flap on the purse, which is unusual for foundation piecing patterns. And there are 4 design options for the flap, so that you can make a whole collection of purses if you are a purse fanatic.

"Pop it in your purse, Honey" pattern available onEtsy at  HappySewLuckyShop.

“Pop it in your purse, Honey” pattern available on Etsy at HappySewLuckyShop.

My favourite thing about it is that the main part of the bag has a functioning pocket. Yes, you read that right, you can stash something cute in this purse even though it’s paper-pieced! I guess that was the packaging designer in me coming out. I love containers that you can keep treasures in. And this little purse does not disappoint in that department! Embroidery floss for the road or emergency sewing kit supplies such as a few buttons and carded thread, or a sweet note if you’re giving it as a gift.

Purse Pattern pocket

I designed the paper piecing pattern for the purse in two sizes. The larger size is 6″ and is great for a mini quilt or a little girl’s quilt. A friend suggested that it would make a cute little tooth fairy pillow with a pocket for the tooth. I love this idea!

The smaller size is 4″ which is ideal for a needle book.

As you can see this pattern is awesome for fussy cutting.

As you can see this pattern is awesome for fussy cutting.

The pattern also includes instructions to make this needle book, which has a sneaky hidden scissor pocket at the back. (It’s slightly tweaked from the original one I made for the swap.)

Purse Needlebook Scissor Pocket

See the scissors hiding in there. Pretty sneaky, eh?


So with emergency sewing supplies in the pocket, it’s really it’s more like a mini sewing kit than a needle book, which is super handy. (To see some examples that others have made of this block check Instagram: #Popitinyourpursehoney)


Since I was on a roll with all things purse related, I decided to design some fabric with the same theme. I am crazy about fabric that I can fussy cut for zakka projects, and this fabric is designed with that in mind. It would also make a fabulous lining for a purse or bag, given that it lists pretty much anything and everything that we stash in our purses and handbags. It’s called Purse Paraphernalia and is available in six colours here in my TEXT FABRICS collection section of my Spoonflower shop.

"Purse Paraphernalia" available in 6 colours in my Spoonflower shop.

“Purse Paraphernalia” available in 6 colours in my Spoonflower shop.


PICK UP STICKS quilt block tutorial.

May 10, 2015

The contents of this post has been removed for the following reason:


I had written this tutorial as a block lotto for the Toronto MQG. I had seen a few pick up sticks quilts, had heard people chat about them, and thought it’d be a fun block lotto project. I tried to find an online tutorial that I could link to for our guild. I couldn’t find one so I wrote one, not realizing that the original was a pattern published in a book twenty years ago. I totally, inadvertently,  knocked it off. My bad! I felt quite ill when I received an email from the very lovely Bill Kerr, who very politely and respectfully explained the situation, and requested that I remove the post. Clearly I had not done my homework thoroughly enough. Having had some of my designs ripped off over the years, I have “a thing” about copying, and try to do original work or credit designers when using their patterns.

Here’s the scoop on the original:

The designer of this quilt was Weeks Ringle, and it was published and copyrighted in 2002 in Color Harmony for Quilts by Weeks Ringle and Bill Kerr of Modern Quilt Studio. It was shown at the ICFF international design show in New York city, as well as featured that same year in Oprah’s magazine and other publications. If you like Pickup Sticks, have a look at their hundreds of other patterns in their books and magazines at

If anyone has used my tutorial to make one of these quilts, please credit “Modern Quilt Studio” when showing your quilt either online or in person.

I would like to apologize to Weeks and Bill, and also thank them for being so respectful in the way they dealt with this matter. Really much appreciated.

And lastly, I hope that others may learn a lesson along with me, as I have to say this has been a humbling experience.

“Make It, Take It” winner.

April 14, 2015

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The lucky winner of the digital copy of “Make It, Take It” is Sandie of Crazy’boutquilts. Congrats, Sandie. Martingale will be emailing you soon! Hopefully next time you go on retreat your bed doesn’t collapse on you! ;D

Thanks everyone else for entering the draw, and for all your lovely comments.

“Make It, Take it” book review & GIVEAWAY

April 6, 2015

Well peeps, I haven’t blogged in two years, as I seem to have contracted a spot of “Blogophobia”. And I’ll tell you that if you ever catch this bug, the sure cure is getting a pattern published  in a book, as then you’re forced to do a review of said book, thus overcoming your ailment. So here I am! (Apologies for the neglect.)

"Make It, Take It" by Krista Hennebury.

“Make It, Take It” by Krista Hennebury.

The book is called “Make It, Take It – 16 cute and clever projects to sew with friends” published by Martingale, and authored by the fabulous Krista Hennebury of Poppyprint fame. She is a dear friend and the person who is pretty much entirely responsible for getting me hooked on quilting. She is also an amazing quilter and organizer of some very in-demand quilt retreats in Vancouver. (Seriously, you have to get on “the list” to get a spot!) Krista put together  a circle of lovely quilty rock star contributors from Canada, USA, England and Japan for this book.  The theme is retreats – patterns for getting your gear to retreats, as well as projects to make at retreats.

The first half of the book has projects to sew to organize and carry all your retreat gear.

The first half of the book has projects to sew to organize and carry all your retreat gear.

I enjoyed reading everyone’s stories on what retreats mean to them. For me it’s all about hanging out with the lovely community that quilters are. Everyone rolling around in fabric chatting about their projects and giving feedback. It makes me so happy. I always come home feeling chipper!

The second half has fun projects to work on at retreat, including a group round robin project.

The second half has fun projects to work on at retreat, including a group round robin project.

The pattern I designed for “Make It, Take It” is called the “Ultimate Equipment Tote”. It is a large, quilted tote bag that holds an 18” x 24” cutting mat and all the rulers your little heart desires, plus lots of pockets for extra gadgets.


The first one of these I designed was rather cumbersome and cavernous, as you had to dig in the big gaping bag to find what you were looking for.  And I have a lot of rulers! That’s why I went back to the drawing board and finally came up with the idea for a pull-out “easy access” portfolio for the rulers. You just pull it out and open it up to display all your customized ruler pockets, making life SO much easier! I was pretty excited when I came up with the design.  The best way to explain how it works is to show you, so here is a video that does that job for me:

There are many other great patterns in this book. I made one of Ayumi Takahashi’s Big Patchwork Tote’s, and even used Ayumi’s new fabric line called Lighthearted. The bag has a nice wide bottom so comfortably fit’s bulky items such as quilts or knitting. I love it!


"Big Patchwork Tote" by Ayumi Takahashi.

“Big Patchwork Tote” by Ayumi Takahashi.

I definitely will be making  a few of the other patterns when I get the time. Be sure to follow the blog hop to see more details from each of these quilty rock star contributors:



Friday, April 3 Blog hop kick-off: “”

Monday, April 6: Berene at “”

and Amy at “”

Tuesday, April 7: Leanne at “”

and Felicity at <a href=“”

Wednesday, April 8: Martingale Inc. at “” (check out their Rainbow Round the Cabin staff party!)

Thursday, April 9: Krista at “”

and Krista at “”

Friday, April 10: Lynne at “”

and Cindy at “”

Saturday, April 11: Ayumi at Pink Penguin “”

and Krista at “”

Sunday, April 12: Kristie at “”

and Christina at “”


And now for the GIVEAWAY deets:

One lucky reader will win a digital copy of “Make It, Take It” by email. All you have to do to win is leave a comment telling me what you love about retreats, your fave retreat memory or if you’ve never been on a retreat, what your dream retreat might look like. Comments are now closed. Thanks!

I will pick a winner on lucky Monday April 13, 2015!

Note: Comments need approval on my blog (my anti-spam device) so just send once and it’ll be up soon. And don’t forget to leave your email address so I can find you if you are the winner!

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.