Saturday, 21 March 2015

Betsy Travel Bag - blog hop

I know I know - I never blog at the minute...but I have to share this news, because I'm really excited about it.

My friend Kristi, who you probably know already as schnitzel and boo has designed a really cool travel bag pattern which is released by Rebel Craft Media next month (more details are below). It's bag for confident beginners and up. Once I get moved into my new house, and settled I really plan on making one myself, but I was lucky enough to have one made for me for my quilt market booth last fall by Kristi, and since then I have used it constantly. It's a geat bag for a weekend away, or for taking as carry on because it squishes - you can shove it into the space under the seat on a plane, or into the trunk/boot of your car (especially if you have a car like me that has no boot space, this is a very useful factor!)

It's big, it's roomy and has a load of pockets so you can find stuff easily too. (Just excuse my crappy phone pics, my camera lead is awol since I started packing my house up for moving. *sigh*)

The digital Betsy Bag pattern is available for pre-order now from the Rebel Craft Media shop and will be launched on 1 April - the girls at Rebel Craft will also be hosting a sew along on their blog starting on 2 April - so if you want to make a fabulous bag to take with you when you travel then now is the time to join in!

You can also get a kit with all the bag hardware from the Snuggly Monkey shop !

I have a copy of the pattern to give away - yay!! 

Just leave me a comment telling me what fabrics you would use to make the bag and I'll have Mr RNG pick a name next Friday 27 March -  make sure you leave an email if you don't have one linked to your profile !!

And follow along with the rest of the blog tour......

The  Betsy  Travel  Bag  Blog  Hop  Schedule

March  17
pattern available for pre-­sale  through  RCM  shop

Blog  Hop  Day  1  posts
Rebel  Craft  Media
Schnitzel & Boo
Snuggly  Monkey

March  19
Blog  Hop  Day  2  posts
Daisy and Jack

March  21
Blog  Hop  Day  3  posts

March  23
Blog  Hop  Day  4  posts
Stitchy Quilt Stuff

 March  25
Blog  Hop  Day  5  posts
Libby  Dibby

March  27
Blog  Hop  Day  6  post
Euphoria  Jessica

March  29
Blog  Hop  Day  7  post
Karri  of  Berries

March  31
Blog  Hop  Day  8  post
Rebel  Craft  Media
(photo  roundup)

Monday, 2 February 2015

cuckoos & elephants & handbags - oh my!

Today over on the elephant in my handbag blog I have a really simple tutorial for a cushion that uses 2 FQs and takes about 2 minutes. Stephanie and Jo at elephant in my handbag asked me to choose from fabric from the shop for my project, so I picked cuckoos calling by Bethan Janine for Dashwood.
Got to admit, I'm a little bit obsessed with this collection at the minute, I can't seem to tire of it.

Get 10% discount off your first order from elephant in my handbag using the code Monkey

Saturday, 31 January 2015

a little AWOL

So, if anyone is still paying attention, I've been more than a little absent recently. Lots going on here at Monkey Towers which I didn't really want to talk about and I wasn't feeling all that chirpy or bloggy. Honestly, I'm still not, so probably expect intermittent service for a while. Maybe indefinitely...let's see how that goes.

Anyhoo...long story short, there were 4 people in the house, there's now 3, make of that what you will, but it's ok. It will be ok, just keep swimming, right? So, whilst we all adjust to our new lives and new routines and do all of the things that have to be done when a couple become not a couple (honestly, after 16 years there is so much stuff, so much to arrange, so much paperwork - it is no wonder divorces get ugly and we are trying our absolute hardest to make this split as easy as possible with as few arguments as possible and to stay friends...if that is even a possibility. Ugh. It sucks, but it's what's happening and we have to just get on with it, right?)

Sewing is taking a back seat, sewing is hardly happening at all (there's a fair amount of gin being drunk, which impairs my sewing ability!) but I have made some stuff and just finished a little quilt for Dashwood using their Cuckoos Calling line that they can take to the trade show in Birmingham next month (keep them sweet and they will send me fabric all the time, it's a win-win).

So, excuse the crappy phone pictures, the actual quilt is at work right now so I'll get some proper photos and maybe I'll actually blog again before the year is out.

For those of you that have emailed me to check up on me, thank you. I really appreciate it. I'm still here, but mostly you'll find me on instagram because it's less wordy and therefore way easier right now!

Monday, 1 December 2014

Quilt NOW!!!!!

Issue 5 is all about scraps, making the most of small bits of fabric while producing beautiful and creative quilts, cushions and accessories. There's plenty inside to keep you entertained for the month this time around, with some inventive piecing techniques and crazy patchwork and Reene's amazing cover quilt.
Free with this issue, you'll also find 4 project cards to create fun little blocks from Patchwork 318, including a cat (obviously), tea, cake and scissors.

Issue 5 of Quilt Now is on sale now across the UK in WHSmith, Tesco, Sainsbury's, Morrisons, Asda and selected craft, fabric and quilting stores. You can also order the magazine online from For US customers head to Pink Castle Fabrics and Fat Quarter Shop for your copy

Sunday, 30 November 2014

what's new pussycats?

Sorry for the radio silence just recently - it's been a bit topsy turvy in Monkey Towers and my blog has been terribly neglected.
But hopefully I'll be back on form from now on...let's have a peek at what is new and going on in the land of fabrics.

Fat Quarter Shop have wild and free from Maureen Cracknall in store now! It's such a great line, photos don't do it justice

New in at Pink Castle Fabrics are the cloud 9 cirrus solids. These are gorgeous - an amazing handle and such great colours

At sew me a song there's this fantastic route 66/first of infinity bundle

Just in case you haven't picked it up yet, Bobbie Lou's has priory square

Hopping across to the UK, and don't forget I'll be at the Village Haberdashery on December 14th if you fancy coming down and chatting about fabric and stuff with me (just click on that link for the details)
New in are Amy Ellis's modern neutrals. Great stash building prints!

Fabric HQ have this super cute pug print in stock - might be a good one for a dog lover for Christmas?

Birch farm by Joel Dewberry is in stock at Elephant in my Handbag. I've never been the biggest fan of Joel's fabrics, but always love quilts made from them, so I'm not sure why I think I don't really like them.

This collection from Riley Blake is new in at Plush Addict and it's super super cute

I'll also be down at Plush Addict for their open day on December 6th, I'll be there in the afternoon if you want to come say hi!

Lots of new arrivals at Simply Solids this week too

including the latest kona cards

And that's it for this week! Have a lovely Sunday. I'm going to spend most of it sleeping, I think. I'm back onto the early starts for work next week, and it's been a few weeks since I got up at 5.30, so I'm not sure how easy that'll be!

Wednesday, 19 November 2014

Look! look book!

Shit (sorry) just got real, I have a look book.

When I packed up for Quilt market I left pretty much all my stuff for AGF to take back and photograph (in the sunshine of Miami, I'm not jealous) and put my look book together for Priory Square - and it's up now to look at! In all it's sunshiny goodness!

Go look (but skip past page 4 because that's my face and it's a full page so it's a bit scary if you're viewing it on anything bigger than a phone. It scared me and I see me every day in the mirror, I don't want to subject you to such horrors)

look leslie!!!!!!! It's your bag!!!!!

The AGF blog has a giveaway that closes on the 20th (tomorrow) so hurry along and enter for a chance to win a bundle of Priory Square.

Gosh. I feel all kinds of fancy, you know. All kinds of fancy.

(and in case you live under a rock and haven't heard me banging on and on about it - Priory Square is shipping now to the US and will be in the UK...and Aus and elsewhere? from the middle-ish of December). Buy it all! Make all the things! Show me all the things! Make me things! (Not really...although I do accept kind of yes really)

Tuesday, 18 November 2014

Sizzix Christmas Blog Hop - day 2

It's been a while since I did a Sizzix post, it feels like the olden days before I trekked across the Pennines to go to work (in the dark and the cold and the rain).

This year the Christmas blog hop is all about gift ideas, using the Big Shot and the Big Shot Dies. I like cushions, I like to make them and give them as gifts (my sister in law also likes cushions as gifts, so I had her and my little niece in mind with this).

I used the drunkards path arch and fan die, the drunkards path quarter circle and cuckoo's calling by Bethan Janine for Dashwood Studio for my project that I got from Fabric HQ. I'm obsessing a bit over this line at the minute, and quite a few people have mentioned it would match really nicely with Priory Square*, so I'll probably get around to mixing the two up at some point soon too. They can be best friends, hanging out in a quilt together. Awww. Bless. Actually, my map print would look pretty good as the background to this, less white (which means easier to keep clean, if you live in a house of messy people like I do).

*it'll be in UK shops middle of next month hopefully


Drunkards path = curves. I am not all that great at curves (look closely, some of my centres aren't brilliant), but at least with the die you know everything is going to match and you're not relying on your poor cutting skills with scissors and templates (maybe I mean my poor cutting skills) and I just pop a pin in the middle of the curve and use that to guide me, it works well for me, just the single pin, and taking things slowly, I'm still not perfect, but I like to think it reflects on my real life personality (that's my story and I'm sticking to it). Kerry has a great video tutorial for sewing curves without pins on her blog, I'd recommend you check it out.  She's pretty hot at curves.

This cushion finishes up pretty big. It's stuffed with a 28" pillow form, so it's a good size for everything (including a bed for a cat or a cat-dog if you happen to have one, like I do) and it doesn't take long to whip up, so you get a big gift, without much effort. I see that as an all round win. There are nine full drunkards path blocks - but I split the top and bottom row into half blocks.

I quilted my cushion with Aurifil 2024 in a 50 wt (that's white), in a simple grid. Because 1) I am rubbish at quilting and 2) I like simple grids.

You can follow along with the rest of the blog hop this week by checking out the posts....

Monday 18th November: Jo Carter

Tuesday 19th November: me!

Wednesday 19th November: Jessie Fincham 

Thursday 20st November: Angela Southey

Friday 21nd November: Trudi Wood 

Saturday 22nd November: Mercedes JimĂ©nez Campuzano  (can I just say I want to rename myself Mercedes please. From now on address me as such. Thank you.)

PLUS! There's a giveaway - click here to enter*

Off you go! Make stuff!

*giveaway terms - The competition is open to all residents of the UK and EU excluding Ellison employees. The products listed cannot be exchanged for goods, or towards the purchase of goods at any retail outlet. It cannot be exchanged for cash, or replaced if lost or stolen. An alternative prize may be given. Winners will be chosen at random on Closing date: Friday 28th November at 10am GMT. The decision of the judgement is final and no correspondence will be entered into.Your details will be processed by Ellison Europe (Creators of the Sizzix brand).