Make & Review – Spelling Bee by Lori Holt

Make & Review – Spelling Bee by Lori Holt


I bought Lori Holt’s beautiful book last year as an early Christmas gift to myself.  It is a bit pricey, but has masses of patterns and I think it’s worth every penny.

The book is split into patterns for upper and lower case alphabets, punctuation blocks and picture blocks.  Each pattern has instructions for 6.5″ and 12.5″ blocks.  At the end of the book are layouts for 6 quilts and 6 mini quilts using the blocks.

As soon as I saw the 100% CUTE mini I knew I had to make it for Hetty.  Though one of her Insta-friends did point out she is 110% cute – sweet talker!


The instructions are very clear and the letters were easy and quick to make.  The percentage sign took a little longer, but it wasn’t difficult and all the pieces fit together beautifully.

The back was inspired by the quilt my friend Kathryn made for her son.  Lots of colourful squares.


I also made Hetty a Christmas stocking/sack using the dog picture block.

IMG_1178 (1)

There are lots of tiny pieces in this block and it took me ages!  I am fairly new to this kind of piecing, so I took my time and made it over a couple of days.

One of the most time consuming parts was keeping track of all the pieces.  I found it easier to cut  and assemble each section, rather than cut everything at the beginning.

My seam roller very useful and saved on trips to the ironing board.

I loved making these patterns and look forward to using the book again – maybe for a human next time!

Hetty loves her quilt and has been sleeping peacefully on it as I type.  Shhh…


Make & Review – Sew Now magazine

Make & Review – Sew Now magazine

Have you seen the new sewing magazine Sew Now? I’m not a huge reader of sewing magazines – I tend to only buy them if I want the free pattern – but I really like this one.
I counted four projects that I’d like to make straight away, and the first was this Spiderman wallet for my smallest nephew. Perfect to give him with his birthday voucher, and he loved that his present was in a present!
I love all the details – the zip pocket is so cute.
Though I must admit I went for a simpler pocket inside. The instructions are for two side pockets and a card holder.
The next project I want to make is this gorgeous back pack.
My beach bag ‘died’ this summer after 12 years (!) so I’m going to replace it with a backpack using these fabrics.
So what else is in the magazine?
Although I’m more interested in the accessories patterns in this issue, the focus is on fashion sewing. Patterns include the Simple Sew Zoe dress and top pattern, a child’s dress, pencil skirt, knickers, refashioning a dress, and a dress/blouse pattern (and several more).
There are some very interesting articles about sewing businesses – Madalynne, Baboosh Designs and Kirsty Hartly (Wild Things to Make).
I also enjoyed the pages highlighting current fashion trends with some lovely pattern and fabric recommendations to go with them.
And there are masses of projects in the accessories supplement.
I was very impressed with this magazine. I’ve subscribed, and look forward to the next issue.
There is a ‘3 issue for £6’ offer at
I was given a review copy of Sew Now via Fiona at The Sewing Directory. All opinions are my own.
Make & Review – Sewing Happiness

Make & Review – Sewing Happiness


I’ve been making a few projects from Sewing Happiness by Sanae Ishida this month.  A while ago, I volunteered as a pattern tester and Sanae very kindly sent me a copy when it was published.

As well as a book of projects, Sewing Happiness is part memoir, and account of how Sanae came to sewing.  Like Sanae, I’m a huge fan of enjoying ‘the practice’ and doing something regularly to get better at it.  Without pressure, but also wanting to improve.

Last year I took part in the 100 Day Project.  Every day for 100 days I cooked a new (to me) recipe. And guess what – I got better at cooking.  I’m more confident, more able to substitute ingredients, more willing to give a new technique a go.  Some days were more successful than others, but it was always edible!  Sanae’s experience of sewing sounds very similar.

I also like her take on using social media “There is an overarching sense of terror about creating something that didn’t exist befoe and putting it out into the world for judgment, but when you do it repeatedly, the confidence muscle strengthens”.

I’ve made four of the projects from the book so far.

The fabric origimi butterfly above is for a tooth fairy pillow.  There is a little pocket formed by the wing folds.  It took me a little while to get the folds right, but I’m delighted with the result.  It is so pretty and delicate.

Then I made a fabric bucket to hold bottles in the bathroom.

The blue triangle bag was my tester pattern and is another project that uses origami folds.  I especially like the strip of contrasting fabric used as the handle.  The infinity scarf is made from double gauze – melissa makes made me one as a gift, and I’ve since made several for friends inspired by her use of contrasting fabrics.

It’s unusual for me to try so many ideas from one book.  The projects are straightforward, but have some interesting and unusual techniques too, and they are perfect for showing off special fabric.

Is still want to make some aprons, a dopp kit and try some sashiko.  And surely  there is room for a floral crown in my life?!

If you want to make beautiful presents which don’t take forever, it is a wonderful book to have.

Make + Review – Pamper your Pooch by Rachelle Blondel

Make + Review – Pamper your Pooch by Rachelle Blondel


If you’re a dog lover, this book is probably worth buying for the cute pictures alone!  There are also some really great ideas to make for your dog, or as gifts.

I sewed a travelling dog bed for Hetty.  It’s made from brushed cotton and backed with  waxed cotton.  I filled it with two layers of wadding (the pattern says one, but I suppose it depends on the wadding you are using) then quilted by hand tying in a grid.

Pamper Your Pooch travelling dog bed

I’m keeping this on the back seat of the car – it stays put and doesn’t get rucked up like the blanket I was using.  She could also use it when visiting or under the table in a pub to keep her comfortable and happy.

Pamper Your Pooch travelling dog bed

I also made her some of the carrot and oat biscuits.  She loves these!  I hadn’t thought of making dog treats before and will certainly keep making them.  They only keep for a week and the recipe makes quite a few.  I don’t want a podgy pooch so I froze some of the dough to use later – which worked perfectly.

Pamper Your Pooch dog biscuitsThe downside of the book for me is that Hetty is very rough with her toys, so I wouldn’t make her any of the stuffed toys, or anything which might be damaged by chewing.

However, there is plenty for the feisty terrier. I’m going to try the plaited jute toy and the sweet potato chew strips.  I also love the towel with built in hand pockets for bath time.

I highly recommend Pamper Your Pooch.  There are so many patterns and recipes, most dog owners will find something they want to make.  Though if you’re making things as gifts, check they are suitable for that dog, and I would attach an ingredients label to the food items.

You can find some of the patterns and recipes, including the dog biscuits, here.

I’ll leave you with some more cute doggy pics.

Pamper your Pooch review