Saturday night craftalong

This weekend was the first in a long time that we didn't have visitors or weren't ourselves away, and it was such a luxury to be at home with nothing much to do! We had glorious weather, so we spent a lot of quality family time outside, soaking up the sun. Otherwise, I had zero plans beyond relaxing and recouping from the past few weeks of visiting and entertaining, so I was glad to have some hand sewing at the ready for a cozy evening on the sofa on Saturday. I've been following the Saturday Night Craftalong hosted by Lucy of Charm About You on Instagram for a while now but never had the chance to participate, so this seemed like the perfect time to join in with my teeny, tiny hexies. Just for fun, I started sewing them into multi-coloured daisies.

When I wound up for the evening, I had a pile of zany and colourful mini flowers.

I'm still not quite sure what I'll do with these, but it occurred to me that I might be able to use them in combination with my scrappy q…

Teeny, tiny hexies

In my dream home, I'm going to have the most beautiful sewing room, where I can have all of my fabric neatly displayed, my machine permanently set up, and an ironing board and iron ever at the ready. Until that day comes, I have to make do with the kitchen table, which means that my Pfaff and other supplies spend their days hidden away in various nooks and crannies safe from little children's prying eyes and wandering hands. They're generally liberated only at night, after the kids have gone to bed, for some post-bedtime crafting. Unfortunately, post-bedtime me doesn't always have the inclination for much more than mindless TV and a soothing cup of tea (or, depending on the day, glass of wine). This is where hand sewing comes in so... well, handy! Maybe it's the type-A personality in me, but I love to sit in front of the TV and still feel as if my time is being used productively and creatively. Multi-tasking, right?

Thanks to my furious attack on my scrapbox a coup…


Hello, hello! Welcome to my newly re-named blog (formerly Secret Ingredient: Love). I was never completely crazy about that old name, and, as hubby told me, it always suggested a cooking blog, rather than one primarily about sewing with a bit of baking thrown in. When I started thinking about how much I'd like to get back to blogging, partially for a bit of encouragement to get my sewing machine out more often, I decided I'd change things up a bit. 'Dilettante' seemed a really apt word to apply to myself as both a sewer and a blogger, as I'm an amateur and fairly casual about both hobbies, so here we are... The Sewing Dilettante! Bear with me as I transition fully into this new blog; I'll be keeping the old email address for the time being but am linking to a new, blog-specific Instagram account: thesewingdilettante.

Since my youngest little'un was born in November 2015, I've been doing the odd bit of patchwork and embroidery, but it feels as if I'm…

Taking the plunge

After the Frankenblanket episode of 2012, I wasn't sure I'd ever be able to face EPP again. With a couple of years of recovery, however, I find myself ready to take the proverbial plunge and have started a new EPP project, after remembering how much I love hand sewing when I made a fun little baby shower gift for Sarah. Like my last EPP project, this one is also a baby quilt intended for a new bambino of my own, this one due early in November. Unlike the last project, though, this one is a little less ambitious. I'm going to make several large hexie flowers to appliqué on a low volume background. This will then serve as a central panel that will be surrounded by two borders - one narrow, one wide - of complementary fabric. My inspiration comes from Pinterest:

How could it possibly go wrong? I'm smarter, more experienced, and more EPP savvy this time around, right? Time will tell, but so far I'm really enjoying cutting and basting the hexies, and I think this will be…

One Lovely Blog

Despite my recent silence here, my friend Judith (Just Jude) has kindly nominated me for the One Lovely Blog award. Thanks, Judith!

The idea behind the nomination is pretty simple. You thank the person who nominated you, providing a link to their post. Then, you share seven fun facts about yourself that your readers might not know. Finally, you nominate up to ten further blogs to share the love. So, without further ado, here are seven mildly entertaining, if not necessarily fun, facts about me...
1. My only brother and I are twins, born a mere 8 minutes apart. My mom actually didn't know she was having twins until she delivered us 7 weeks early!
2. Related to the first fun fact... My brother and I are NOT identical. This may seem obvious to most of you, but you'd be surprised how many people ask that when I tell them I have a twin brother, despite the evident gender difference.
3. Like Judith, my favourite colour is purple, though I'm also very partial to green and blue, the b…

Step by step

While I may have the New Kids on the Block's infamous single running through my brain at the moment, the reference in my title is to the very slow progress I'm making on the little chevron quilt I showed you last month. Piecing that thing together really did boggle my mind, but luckily I've got the main part of the quilt top finished now. *huge sigh of relief*

As usual, my photo doesn't do justice to the vibrancy of the fabric colours, or to the quilt itself, but I'm really pleased with the chevron effect, especially as I'd used so many different scraps. I was afraid that the pattern of dark/light wouldn't jump out enough, but I think they all came together really well in the end. I'm now thinking of a thin Kona Snow border and a thicker lime green or aqua border, but I haven't chosen any fabrics yet. Any recommendations? 
Linking in with Scraptastic Tuesday
xx Tina

Paper-Folding Exercises

When I was a kid growing up in New Hampshire, we had these standardised tests that were administered periodically throughout elementary and middle school. They were designed, I think, to rate school performance and to ensure minimum educational standards were being met. I don't remember them being particularly onerous and, in fact, actually enjoyed certain sections, like reading comprehension, but I always struggled with the section that included paper-folding exercises. Not origami, sadly, but cognitive jumping jacks in which you had to imagine folding a piece of paper with, say a black dot in the top left corner, in half twelve times. Why? In order to predict where that original black dot ended up, of course. Mind-boggling stuff, my ineptitude at which probably helps explain why I'm finding it so difficult to wrap my head around the layout of this scrappy chevron quilt. 

It may look straightforward enough, but there was something about laying the squares out on-point that ju…