Thursday, 25 May 2017

Budgies, toucans and the wonderful sound of bird chatter

If you follow my Instagram feed you'll know I bought budgies. I flew to the UK with only my youngest daughter and the day I left I bought two budgies as I thought they would be a distraction for my other two while I was away. . . my husband thought it was a dumb idea!

. . . it wasn't a dumb idea and now our house is full of their friendly chatter. OK, so sometimes we have to put them outside as they are louder then the TV and the dog still thinks we are going to give him one every time we go near the cage but they're very very pretty and it makes me happy to hear them sing.

Anyway, they inspired me to get creative . . . .

The girls called out budgies Nibs and Slightly - apparently they are names of the lost boys from Peter Pan. Slightly is small and blue and male, Nibs is big, fat and female . . . so maybe one day we might get baby budgies!!!

. . . but every good budgie needs a friend and I always think a pair of cushions look much better on a bed or sofa
 . . . this is Tootles!

If you would like to make these for yourself the pattern is called "Tweets' and is now up in my Etsy store. It is available for wholesale through Creative Abundance who ship to every corner of the world but it is also available from Checker in the US

All the fabric for these cushions came from my Cotton and Steel collection.

Happy stitching!
x x Claire

Tuesday, 16 May 2017

Pondlife fabric . . . the seed of an idea!

Pondlife has actually come to life and its a weird and wonderful thing. The journey of this fabric range started way way back in September 2016 when I bravely placed my design proposals in the hands of a fabric company. Thankfully they liked what they saw and gave me the green light to proceed.

It was quite the learning journey . . . although I have a design background, have qualifications in graphic and spatial design & I know my way around Adobe Illustrator, there was still a mountain I didn't know!

I didn't know how to successfully create seamless patterns, I didn't know that I needed to specify Pantone TCX colours (oh my word . . . trying to pic colours from a colour swatch about 1cm square!!!) and I didn't know that I could actually learn on my feet and that people could be so amazingly generous sharing their knowledge.

It took four hard weeks designing, tweaking, redesigning and doubting to finally get there. It was a challenge that let me drown in a creative wonderland and I loved it.

If I'm honest most of my design ideas start with a single moment. Last year when I was throwing concepts around in my head I already had an idea based on a painting that I absolutely adore by Becky Blair. I went to an exhibition when she was in Perth and she had done a gorgeous series of paintings of fish and ponds. Needless to say, I couldn't afford any of the paintings but they are what planted the seed of an idea.

. . . then when I was in Salt Lake city last year I came across goldfish snacks . . . hadn't seen them before but they made me giggle and the idea grew . . . 

. . . and when I was designing the fabric I kinda designed it especially for a redo of a quilt called Frogface. (my daughters nickname is froggy so this is for her!)

. . . but then there have been moments when actually I have wondered if I have just been eating too much chocolate!!

There's lots more to share in the coming days so keep an eye out and if you are at Quilt Market pop on over to the Ella blue stand, it will all be there along with all my new quilt and cushion patterns.

Looking forward to seeing what everyone will make.

Happy stitching

x Claire

Sunday, 14 May 2017

Bedtime Stories

Designing and making a new quilt is an fun journey. An idea sparks and then if the planets are aligned, the house is tidy, everyone in the family is in a good mood then it all just flows . . . this is one of those designs. 

I did a Goldilocks quilt for Homespun magazine last year and had always intended to expand on it. When my youngest daughter Heidi was a baby I had also made a Red Riding hood quilt to hang on her wall so she was always going to join the much larger scale quilt. 

Heidis quilt - no stereotypical girlies in our family . . . Red is definitely in charge of this big bad wolf!

Anyway, in discussion with my three girls we decided which of our favourite stories would make the design, I chose a colour scheme based around a beautiful floral print with lemons and lilacs & . . . ta-dah! . . . its a fairytale feast x x 

(terrible photo I know,  but it had to meet a shipment to America for Spring Market so you'll have to forgive me!)

Red Riding Hood makes her appearance . . .

. . . on her way to Grandmas!

Goldilocks and her chums are also back . . . 

. . . Heidi used to be a big Repunzel fan . . . not so much now though!

. . . and the Princess and the Pea is my favourite. Thumbelina and the Little Mermaid also feature in the design.

Hope you love it as much as we do - in fact my 14 year old has already put her name on this one!

Happy stitching!

x Claire

The pattern will be released at the up-coming International Quilt Market in St Louis and distributed through my global distributors Creative Abundance and Checker US. A PDF version for instant download from my Easy store will be available from June 1st 2017

Thursday, 11 May 2017

Pondlife Fabric

This years International Spring Market will see the release of my first fabric collection for Ella Blue Fabric. Its a collection close to my heart but also has a light side that makes me giggle . . . I will post more photos and projects I have made using it in the coming week.

Hope you love it!

Sunday, 26 February 2017

Homspun Magazine 'Going to the Zoo' month 2 - penguin tutorial.

Hopefully you have made a good start to the quilt and month ones' block is complete. To lay down the pond, rocks and mum and dad penguin follow the same principal as in month one using fusible paper and following the magazines fabric guide.

Once all the background has been done and stitched all you need to do is make three cute little penguins that can hop from one fish to another!

. . . and here is how to do that.

For the front of the penguins, iron 3 of the large black rectangles & 3 small rectangles onto some lightweight interfacing - you will need interfacing that can be fused.
Lightly press the large rectangles in half matching the two longest edges together to mark a centre line. This will help position the penguins tummy. 

Place the template plastic over the pattern template and trace the shape for the penguins body and the penguins wing and then cut along the drawn line.

To make the penguin wings, pair up the small rectangles. Each pair will have one rectangle with interfacing and one rectangle without. Place them with right sides together. Onto the interfacing side, trace around the wing template twice to make a pair of wings for each penguin.
Reduce the stitch length on your machine to 1.5 - this will ensure that the curve is nice and smooth and will not split once turned through. Machine stitch over the drawn curved line of each wing shape. Do not stitch over the straight line at the bottom of the wing!
Cut around the stitched line leaving about an 1/8in seam allowance. Turn the wing right side out. This can be tricky . . . place the end of a pencil into the tip of the wing then carefully roll the wing over the wing.
For a really nice smooth edge to the wings, roll the seam between your fingers working the seam right to the edge. Press firmly with an iron.
Repeat the process to complete 3 sets of wings.

To make the baby penguin bodies, trace the templates for the penguin tummies and beaks 3 times onto fusible web and cut them out roughly. Fuse the traced penguin tummies to the back of the white felt - make sure you use a heat mat over the felt. Fuse the beaks to the back of the orange fabric.

Cut the tummies and beak out along the drawn lines. To get a good smooth curved cut, move the shape into the scissors rather then moving the scissors around the curve. Peel the paper away from the baby penguin tummies and place onto the black fabric rectangles with the interfacing. Use the pressed line to help centre the tummies. Press in place again using the heat mat. Fuse beaks in place. Machine blanket stitch around the white felt and orange beaks with colour matched thread. For this project we matched the bobbin thread to the top thread.

Mark where the baby penguins eyes should be. Hand stitch a small cross stitch in place for each eye. Use three or four threads of standard embroidery floss to make the eye bolder or use a 12wt thread as we did.

Now that the front of the penguins have been done, turn over the fronts and on the back centre the template for the penguins body and draw around it with a biro. Make sure to centre the template over the stitch lines of the penguins tummies. Mark a 1 inch gap at the bottom of the penguin for stuffing. Cut out the shape of the penguins body along the drawn line. 

Once the three bodies have been cut out turn them over to position the wings. Line up the raw edge of the wings with the edge of the penguin as shown above making sure the wings are laying into the penguins body. Pin them in place. Its a good idea the tack them in place or if you are confident then you can leave the in pins for now. 
To the centre of the remaining 3 large rectangles which are going to be the backs of the penguins, hand stitch a hook fabric dot to complete the baby penguin backs. If you are using sticky hooks this can be a bit tricky as the glue likes to cling to the needle so it helps to use a thimble!

Place the front and back piece of the penguins with right sides together ensuring that the velcro dot is lined up with the centre of the penguins tummy.
Machine sew with 1/8in seam allowance around the shape making sure you start and stop at the marked lines at the bottom. Trim the shape. for a really smooth curve snip along the curved edge but be very careful not to clip the stitches. They actually work pretty well without snipping along the curve!

To turn the penguins right side out place your finger into the penguin and then place your thumb and finger together. Gentle fold the the penguin over your thumb. Once his head has poked through it should pull through with ease.
Run your finger along the inside against the line of stitching to push the seam out & then gently press along the seam with a warm iron. It helps the next step if you can iron in a nice fold along the gap ready for stitching.

Stuff the penguins with hobby fill and stitch up the gap at the bottom with black thread using a whip stitch.

Ta-dah! . . . three finished penguins for your little one's to play with in the penguin pool.

Next month, Jemima will be hosting a tutorial on her blog tiedwitharibbon on how to perfect the quilting should you have got a bit behind with that!

Don't forget to send us your progress pictures, tag @tiedwitharibbon and @claireturpindesign in your BOM and #homespunzoobom #homespunbom2017 in your Instagram posts.

Happy stitching
x Claire

Sunday, 19 February 2017

First Quilt ever made!

I am on a quick trip back to the UK to catch up with my family when yesterday my sister-in-law kindly uncovered the first quilt I ever made. I was grateful she still had it and hadn't chucked it away (although she was a bit vague about its where about when I asked if she still had it!!)

. . . anyway, she did still have it and I'm pretty convinced I have learnt A LOT since I made it 16 years ago!

I made it for my niece Tilly . . . seen below with her favourite Aussie auntie! ;-)
I took a traditional applique pattern and change pretty much all the blocks. I am fairly convinced had I not come across fabric by the truly amazing Jan Mullens I would never had bothered.

It hasn't quite stood the test of time and the corners of the binding are decidedly dodgy but hey, I was a beginner!

Anyway - a big shout out to my brother Matt and my best friend and super sister-in-law Amy, thanks for having Tilly as she has unintentionally led me to where I am today!

x x Claire

Tuesday, 31 January 2017


Finally the cat is out of the bag or should I say the monkey is out of the cage! . . . my big project that consumed hours of my time last year is finally out in the world! I am very proud to say I, along with my sewing bestie Jemima from Tied with a Ribbon have designed this years block of the month for Australian homespun magazine!

We had quite a clear directive from the magazine to design a kids quilt with an interactive zoo theme - from there Jemima and I brainstormed some ideas and not content with producing just a plain quilt we had the crazy idea to turn the thing into a play mat come toy bag thingy and why not make it a weird shape whilst we are at it! Thankfully it turned out brilliantly & I am pretty sure even a relative beginner will cope making it. We have incorporated an interactive element into each month so as well as perfecting your appliqué skills there will be some toy making too.

We designed the quilt as a quilt-as-you-go so hopefully by the end of the year you will a beautiful quilt ready for christmas. It was a great project from start to finish and I hope that lots of you get on board and make one for yourself. There are plenty of stores around the country that are running classes and a full list is in the february edition of the magazine.

Over the next ten months the instructions and patterns to make the quilt will be published in Homespun. Jemima and I will also be sharing some helpful tips, instructions and other surprises on our blogs so keep an eye out. 

Jemima kicks off month one with a tutorial on how to make the softie train so head over to her blog feb 1st at

If you are on Instagram please keeps us up to date with your progress by hash tagging your picture #homespunzoobom 

happy stitching

Claire x