Tuesday, 31 December 2013

Year's end

It's been a year of ups and downs at Nellie's Niceties but we've made it through largely intact. I'm going to close the year out with this mosaic of just some of the makes I squeezed in this year.
I think it's safe to say we're looking forward to all that 2014 holds for us. We've got some exciting plans that we'll share with you in due course :) Thank you all for the continued support you've given us over the past year. We wish you all a very happy New Year. Catch you soon x

Tuesday, 24 December 2013

Merry Christmas one and all

Just popping in to wish you all a very merry Christmas or a happy holiday if you don't celebrate Christmas. Our trees are up...
... the Animal Cracker Tree skirt is under the tree and we're waiting for Santa's helpers to deliver their presents.
At this time of year it's very easy to get swept up in all the trimmings and nonsense. It's not always an easy holiday emotionally and there are many people dear to us who will be struggling this year. We'd just like to say you're all in our thoughts and prayers, and leave you with this little image...
...the reason for the season. Stay safe. Catch you soon x

Thursday, 19 December 2013

Not quite what I had planned...

...enforced bed rest!
I've spent the last few days in bed nursing a kidney infection when I should have been doing lots of last minute sewing and prepping for Christmas. Well, if it's not done now it probably won't get done at all. Thankfully I finished a really important project before succumbing to the lurgy! My version of Lynne's Tube Quilt now lives on Jess' bed :)
I can honestly say this quilt was a joy to make. At 80" finished this is my biggest quilt make to date! It's been somewhat tricky to photograph as there's nowhere big enough (or dry enough outside) to hang it.
After a false start with the quilting - major puckers requiring the seam ripper! - I attached the Dual Feed foot and just like that no more puckers :) I used a nice green Aurifil thread in "organic" straight lines, I admit it they were wonky but it's not easy to keep a straight line when you're me. 
To my delight and amazement, Jess fell in love with it! I used the ever trusty Nummer from Ikea for the backing.
 I even went to the trouble of pattern matching it! Not too shabby, even if I say so myself ;)
As you'd expect from Lynne, the pattern is slick and I'd thoroughly recommend it to anyone! Keep an eye on her blog in the New Year for the pattern release and quilt along :)

Before I go and rest again I've got to share something really exciting. It's a finish, not by me but by Robin who got in touch to show her version of my Animal Crackers Tree skirt!!! I can't tell you how giddy with excitement I was to see a pattern I designed being used by someone else.
There are a couple more pictures of it in our Flickr group. Thanks to Robin for sharing with me and allowing me to use her photo here. Now I'm off to rest again. Catch you soon x

Saturday, 14 December 2013

SMS giveaway winner!

Thank you to everyone who entered our SMS giveaway! Thanks especially to those of you who continue to follow our exploits regardless of winning or losing :)

Mr Random Number generator chose...
...unlucky for some but let's hope the winner doesn't think so ;) Congratulations Kay, I'm off to email you now.
Sorry you couldn't all win something. I'm sure it won't be too long before there's another chance to win in these parts...keep your eyes peeled in the New Year!  Catch you soon x

Monday, 9 December 2013

Sew Mama Sew giveaway day!

It's that time of year again folks, Sew Mama Sew giveaway day! Thanks to them we get to peruse lots of lovely new blogs with the bonus of the chance to win some goodies :)
This time round we're offering 2 prizes to one lucky winner.
There's a festive table set of table topper and coasters in the ever popular Mama Said Sew by Sweetwater and a festive cushion in Bliss by Bonnie and Camille.
The table topper is approximately 9.5" x 15" and the coasters are approximately 4.5" square. I think they're festive without being too holiday specific.
The holly is raw edge appliqued with red Aurifil thread and I've used a lovely red fabric from the Rendezvous line by Kristian Howell for the backing :)
Yvonne has made a gorgeous cushion/pillow (depending which side of the Atlantic you're on) cover using one of the blocks from the Farmer's Wife Quilt book.
The colours are much prettier in real life, Winter lighting is so tricky! This will be sent without the pillow form to keep our postage costs low, it's a standard size so you shouldn't have any trouble finding an insert for it :)
So....now to the best bit. All you need to do to enter is leave a comment telling us your favourite holiday movie. If you fancy a second chance at winning you can click the follow button  and leave another comment telling us that you did or that you already follow us.
The giveaway will close on December 13th at 5.00pm PST. In the UK that's around 1.00am so you can rest assured I'll be tucked up in bed asleep then so I'll draw the winner using Random Number Generator when I wake up.
We're happy to ship Internationally but we obviously can't guarantee that the goodies will be with you before the New Year as the lasting posting date for guaranteed delivery by Christmas has now passed.
Again to remind you: 1st chance to win - leave a comment telling us your favourite holiday movie
                                   2nd chance to win - leave a comment telling us you are a new or existing follower   
I will try to answer as many comments as possible but please don't think I'm rude if I don't manage to reply to everyone as these giveaways can be so popular and I have a lot of sewing to be doing :) I almost forgot, please make sure I can contact you if you win by leaving an email address with your comment if you are a no-reply blogger. If I can't get hold of you and don't hear from you the day after the draw I will draw another winner.
In the meantime I hope you all enjoy visiting the other blogs taking part in the SMS giveaway. Good luck to all who enter. Catch you soon x

Updated to add - Winner of the giveaway was:
Thanks to everyone for taking part, sorry you couldn't all win something. Catch you soon x

Wednesday, 4 December 2013

Testing 1,2,3

Our uber-talented friend, Lynne, put out a call for pattern testers last week and I was one of the lucky people that got the pleasure of road testing her Tube Quilt. I've spent the last couple of afternoons petting and chopping fabric.
I'm a third of the way through making the top and can say that it is a joy to piece! My favourite block so far is this one...
I had so much fun fussy-cutting these frog princes. I'm probably a bit slow on the uptake as I've only just noticed the fly in his belly.
The blocks go together really quickly so I should have a finished top to show you very soon.

When I fancied a change of pace this afternoon I tested out an idea that I'd been cultivating for a few days. I channeled my inner Brioni Greenberg but with a Christmassy twist. I love the little holly leaf additions :)
I free-motioned the edges with red Aurifil and it really makes the holly "pop". It's a really fast and fun project to put together. It's destined to be a coaster, allegedly a Christmas gift... if I can bear to give it away ;)
I hope your Christmas sewing is going to plan. Catch you soon x

Friday, 29 November 2013

Beehive finish

We're just back from our local Christmas fireworks and lights switch on. Most amusingly it turns out we were stood next to the green control box where the lighting engineer switches the lights on after the countdown :) It's almost like being told that there's no such thing as Santa (we all know there is!), I always thought the lights went on by magic when some random celebrity pressed the plunger, what do I know, eh?! Anyway, that has absolutely nothing to do with today's project reveal so I'll get to the point... I finished Florence's quilt :) I broke out my limited free-motion skills in the form of a loop-da-loop type pattern over the majority of the quilt.
I left a few areas un-quilted (is that even a word?), for example, around the flowers as I'd raw edge applique'd them in place. It gives the quilt a lovely texture which should be nice and tactile for little fingers.
I love the way the quilting looks on the back of the quilt too.
I can't remember what line this backing fabric is from but I thought it was perfect for this little quilt as it picked out the orange, yellow and pink from the Briar Rose on the front. I self-bound as I didn't want the extra bulk around the edge of such a small quilt. You can see my amateur free-motion "skills" in this shot, my stitch length is anything but regular! Thankfully the Aurifil thread is very forgiving and doesn't snap every two seconds :)
Here's the finished quilt in all it's glory ;) It's been really difficult to capture it properly in photo form as usual! I'm really pleased with the end result though and I'm fairly sure it will be well received. I think it might be more of a wall-hanging than a snuggle under quilt as it is quite stiff with all the quilting.
 I do love a quick project! It's so satisfying to complete a quilt in less than a week :) I hope you all have a good weekend. Catch you soon x

Wednesday, 27 November 2013

Busy Bee

I've started work on a special quilt for one of my best friend's new baby, Florence. Florence was born while I was on bed rest following my op so I had to content myself with sketching out a plan for the quilt. My sketching is awful, I am no artist! I'm not even showing you the sketch it's that bad but thankfully I am quite good with fabric ;) I bought a fat quarter stack of Briar Rose from Justine at Simply Solids earlier this year and this project was perfect for it! Hopefully you can tell that it's supposed to be a beehive, if not just humour me :) I strip pieced the beehive then appliqued it the solid.
I added some flowers that I cut with my Go!Baby...
...then got busy with some sky writing. Excuse the  dodgy quality photo, it was getting dark again. I felt most pleased with myself for the fussy cut bee and the sky writing was passable although it does look a little like the bee might have been out on the tiles before doing it ;) 
So, tomorrow I hope to finish this baby quilt in daylight so I can get some nice photos before I send it to it's new home. Catch you soon x

Monday, 25 November 2013


We've gone old school today for the giveaway and put the names in a hat :)   
 My glamorous assistant drew the winner...
 ...Jan! I'm off to email you now :)
Thanks to everyone that entered, sorry you couldn't all win. Catch you soon x

Friday, 22 November 2013

Still crackers

First things first, thank you all for the overwhelming response to the Animal Crackers Christmas tree skirt. It's been really exciting seeing so much positive reaction to it. A special thank you to Mr Aurifil for featuring it on the Aurifil Facebook page :) I've spent the last 2 days making more crackers this time in the form of a table runner. I used the basic tutorial for crackers but enlarged it to allow me to use the cards from the panel from Winter's Lane by Kate & Birdie Paper Co.
I  went for a "grown up" brown linen for the background because I love the way the red solid and Aurifil thread look with it. Also, if I'm absolutely honest, it's because it's going to be on our dining table on Christmas day and there's bound to be a gravy spillage! I was very thankful for the red thread as I managed to sew through my finger quite spectacularly whilst top-stitching and I'm sure a white thread would have been ruined. No fabric was harmed in the making of this runner!
By the time I finished the runner it was starting to get dark so it's been a bit tricky to get the colours accurately in photos.
Winter's Lane is a really gorgeous range so I'm planning on making a slightly more grown up Christmas tree skirt to match the table runner :) I seem to have started an obsession with crackers. Thank goodness Christmas doesn't last long or I'd be making them all year ;)
I have another of the Winter's Lane panels left over from the bundle I bought in July and was thinking that it might be nice to give someone else the opportunity to make a runner like this using the panel...or indeed to make something else. So, I'm having a super speedy giveaway. If you fancy the chance to win a Winter's Lane panel just leave a comment saying "yes please". I'll draw a winner at random on Sunday 24th November around 8.00pm GMT. Happy weekend to you all. catch you soon x

Wednesday, 20 November 2013

Going crackers!

OK, so we all know I went crackers years ago but I liked the title so I'm sticking with that ;) I've been busily sewing away at a project I've had in my head for a while and today it's finished so I can share it with you. Yippee!! Here's the source of my excitement....drum roll please....the Animal Crackers Christmas tree skirt! No fancy paper piecing or templates required, a super quick finished in a weekend (or less if you're on a mission) kind of tree skirt. I've used some of my precious Laurie Wisbrun stash for this version and I just love it, well who wouldn't love a llama amongst other beasties?!
It's so satisfying when an imaginary project turns out just as you had hoped it would in real life! I contemplated digging out the Christmas tree for the photographs but I'm too much of a humbug for that in November. I've set up a page link for the free pattern at the top of the blog but thought I'd give the quickest of tutorials here for the crackers as I can envisage them in all sorts of Christmas goodies like placemats and table runners. Think of it as an early Christmas present if you're so inclined ;)
For each cracker you will need: 1 focus fabric rectangle 6.5" x 3.5", 2 solid 3.5" squares and 4 background fabric 1.5" squares.
 Mark the 1.5" background squares across the diagonal and place them right sides together with the solids squares as shown above. Sew on the marked line then trim a 1/4" seam allowance and press open. Sew the edge of the solids block with the background triangles to each short end of the focus fabric, right sides together, then press open. Hey presto!
Sash and go your own sweet way or use the tree skirt pattern, either way I'd love to see your version if you choose to make something. I've even set up a flickr group just in case you're tempted...it would be very sad if mine was the only contribution to the group but hey I follow my own blog so I am sad ;) Just time for a couple more shots that show the simple quilting and the yummy chevron binding.
As usual I outline quilted and did some basic straight lines around the top and bottom in trusty Aurifil. This red chevron from Riley Blake reminded of candy canes so it seemed the perfect choice for this project :) 
So there you have it friends, the first major Christmas make of the year and undoubtedly not the last for me. Feel free to share this picture and link if you feel like spreading the tree skirt love around :)
Catch you soon x
Edited to add: There's a PDF link at the bottom of the online pattern now :)

Tuesday, 12 November 2013

Commitment issues

I have no less than 5 projects on the go at the moment. I don't know why I'm being so fickle, maybe I'm just in a rush to try all the ideas that entered my head while I was out of action :) I've recently joined Instagram so apologies to those of you that follow me there as a lot of what I'm going to show now has been aired over there in the last week or so. [Yvonne's on there too but she might be a bit quiet as they've just moved house and have no broadband]
There's been quite a bit of progress on my kites, diamonds and stars EPP project. I've decided it will be a cushion so I've only got one more set of shapes to piece :)
The lovely ladies of the HipBees have been dutifully returning their October blocks to me (I showed you 2 here) and I've been whipping them up into finished blocks as soon as they pop through the door. So much for taking my time over this one ;) It's shaping up to be another contender for my all-time favourite quilt. You can see the individual blocks here. I'll do a nice post showing the individual blocks when I do the final reveal...whenever that might be.
There has been a trial run of Christmas tree decorations using crazy scrappy patchwork. This is definitely a work in progress as I can't decide what I want the finished hearts to look like. I've got another one ready to put together which I'm going to trim with mini-pompoms.
Today I've been having much fun with some gorgeous Laurie Wisbrun prints and bright solids but I can't show you much detail of this project yet. Here's a sneaky peek for now :)
Finally, I've been crocheting in the evenings whilst watching tv so there is wool all over the place in our living room :) I've only got dodgy phone camera pictures of progress with this project so I'll have to get some better pics of that before I share it here. I'll leave you with photos of the most awesome birthday cake in the whole world ever!
 My gorgeous and talented sister-in-law made this for my 38th birthday, complete with replica Sneaky Stars quilt!
I should have taken a pic of the inside because it had multicoloured layers. Jade has some seriously excellent cake making skills! Even more amazingly, this cake was wheat and gluten-free. I'm almost looking forward to next year's birthday for another cake ;)  Catch you soon x