Much needed advice and inspiration

I have my book review hat on again today (how I wish I had an actual hat for that…). The lovely folks at Jacqui Small Publishing have sent me a copy of Giftwrapped by Jane Means to take a look at:


How enticing do those gifts on the cover look? It could be lavender scented bath cubes and a set of naff floral note cards under all that lovely paper & trim, and you would still be knocked out by the fabulous generosity of the giver…

As I get older, and don’t get quite the huge pile of Christmas presents that I used to, I really appreciate pretty wrapping that adds to the ‘special treat’ effect. I love that feeling that someone has put a real effort into making a wrapped gift look beautiful, just for you.


I am a clumsy wrapper though – I get panicky when faced with anything more complicated than a regular box to wrap – and need all the help I can get. So, what’s brilliant about this book is that, by the end of it I was convinced that wrapping gifts could actually become fun and creative, instead of just a bit of a chore.  One of my favourite little sections is all about labels:


There are so many fab ideas here – many of them fairly achievable with your standard craft kit. I would *never* have thought of the idea of punching holes in 2 sides of a gift tag and then threading ribbon through the holes and wrapping it round the present…

And I love the feature on wedding favours – it’s all so imaginative:


The photos in Giftwrapped are inspirational, with moodboards and guides to the different kinds of papers, trims and embellishments you can collect together to use for wrapping.


But there’s also loads of step-by-step, clearly photographed projects demonstrating different wrapping techniques:


Wouldn’t it be great if some sewing books were illustrated this clearly?!

I can’t recommend this book highly enough if you want to take some of the stress out of present wrapping (because lets face it, we all have to do a fair bit of it!) and even start enjoying the creativity of it all. If you fancy getting yourself a copy, there is a discount code especially for Very Berry readers, to be used as follows:

To order Giftwrapped at the discounted price of £16.00 including p&p* (RRP: £20.00), telephone 01903 828503 or email and quote the offer code APG252. *UK ONLY – Please add £2.50 if ordering from overseas.

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As well as managing, and joining in with, the Winter Sparkle ATC swap, I am also working on my mini-quilt for the Instagram Mini Quilt Swap just now. Practically every quilter I know seems to be taking part in this swap!  After dithering for a while about using hexies, in the end I decided to use my new reverse appliqué skills to do a rainbow-y dresden-y thingy. Couldn’t resist combining a bit of text with all the beautiful rainbow scraps…


The text fabrics are from Elementary by Sweetwater from Moda, and the rainbow scraps are from my stash – there are some of my top favourites in there!  It’s all ready for quilting now… but I am not at all sure what to do, I am so pleased with it so far, I don’t want to spoil it.



Then of course there is the binding! Tricky decisions ahead…. Hate this moment! Will look at it a bit more and think on…

The more I look at these circles, the more I think I would really like to make a huge version of one circle as a bed cover. Maybe one day…


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Sparkly Winter goodies!

Winter Sparkle ATC Swap mini

So, our partners have been assigned and the Winter Sparkle Artist Trading Card swap is underway – hurrah!  It’s very exciting that we have a sponsor for the first time – with huge thanks to Nicole from Cloud Craft for her generosity. Until 30 November 2014 all participants in the swap, and, even better than that, all readers of Very Berry can get 10% off at Cloud Craft with the code ATC10. So get spending!

Cloud Craft is a new stand-alone shop set up by Nicole, who already has a track record as a great Etsy seller. She sells brilliant 100% wool felt (can’t be beaten!) in 45 different colours. As well as being able to buy felt in single sheets of different sizes, Nicole has curated some beautiful, colourful, bundles too – here’s her selection for the Christmas season:

100% Wool felt sheets - 'Christmas Starts Here' Collection

 ‘Christmas Starts Here’ felt bundle

She also has a brilliant selection of all the stuff you need for modern hand stitching, including lots of lovely stitching kits to get you started:

Nancy Nicholson Birdie Stitch 3 Kit
Beautiful Nancy Nicholson Birdie Embroidery kit from Cloud Craft

As well as all this goodness, there’s all the stitching basics you need – Aida and evenweave linen, DMC and Sublime Stitching threads, embroidery hoops, buttons and trims, needles, pins, scissors and much more. If you are thinking of taking up a cosy stitching hobby for the long winter nights on the sofa, you couldn’t start in a better place.

I’ve used my discount already (don’t forget, 10% with the code ATC10 until 30.11.2014) –  and bought some linen, red floss, white felt and sweet red lace trim for my ATC.


I have a Scandi-style-plan in my head, but sadly have other stuff to finish before I can get going with some cosy hand-stitching of my own. I wonder what the other swappers are planning….?

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Liberty Giveaway Winner

I was bowled over by the response to the giveaway – thanks so much everyone! I have done the counting and the winner is:

Quilt Club giveaway winner

Comment 208 was left by Pauline G – so congratulations to her! I have already been in touch with Pauline to let her know her good luck. Thanks again everyone!

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Charming Liberty! A mega giveaway…

*********Giveaway now closed – will be announcing the winner later on this evening!**************

I’ve had a couple of quick mini-giveaways on my Very Berry Fabrics Facebook page recently, but it is definitely time to spread the Liberty Love a bit more with a blog giveaway too. And I do have a reason – it’s time to test out my new business purchases of course..

I’ve had a couple of nice paydays recently, and have invested some of that hard-earned cash in some new dies for my Sizzix Bigshot. I got a larger sized hexie die (this one is 1.5″ – I already have 1″ and 1.25″ options) and a cutter to create teeny 1.5″ (1″ finished size) squares – I am hoping to have Liberty fabric packs made using these dies available in my Folksy and Etsy shops really soon – I’ll keep you posted!


I need a bigger table!!

I’ve also invested a rather terrifying XL die to cut four 5″ (4.5″ finished size) squares all at once. I don’t think I realised when I bought it that it is about 24″ long (how I didn’t work that out, what with it being simple maths and all, I don’t really know). It was a bit of surprise when I opened the parcel! This is hopefully going to make life much easier when it comes to putting together my 5″ Liberty square quilt packs (available on Folksy and also on Etsy) and for my Liberty Quilt Club packs.

So to celebrate all these new arrivals and to give myself an excuse to play with the new gadgets, I am giving away a Liberty Quilt Club Membership.  But what *is* that exactly? Basically, what happens with the quilt club is that you receive a pack of twenty 5″ squares each month for either 7 months or 4 months, ending up with either 140 or 80 squares in total. You can use your squares to make one of these beautiful quilts which Jess (of The Elven Garden) designed especially for the packs:

…or there’s 1000’s of charm square pack ideas out there on the web, if you want to do something different – how about this fab list on Pinterest for starters.

The Rules

For the giveaway, the prize is 1 seven month membership to the Liberty Quilt Club – hurrah! – you will receive 140 Liberty squares absolutely free! The giveaway is open to anyone, anywhere, so join in and tell your friends!

  • For a first chance to win, leave a comment on this blog post, telling me what you’d do with the fabric if you won (and the answer can certainly be ‘stash it’!)
  • For a second chance to win, follow Very Berry Fabrics on Facebook and LEAVE A SECOND COMMENT on the blog post to let me know that you have clicked that all important Like button!
  • For a third chance to win, please sign up to my newsletter… and LEAVE A THIRD COMMENT on this post to let me know..

The draw will be made next Tuesday evening (11 November), and any entries made before I do the draw will be eligible. The winner will be announced on the 11th.

Good Luck!


Filed under etsy, folksy, giveaway

Winter Textile ATC Swap Starts Here!

Swap full! Thank you!

Winter Sparkle ATC Swap

Well, it doesn’t seem like 5 minutes since the last ATC swap ended, but it seems such a shame not to do a winter/Christmas themed swap, I decided to just go for it, and hope that there are enough people with similar enthusiasm!

And there’s some exciting news this time round… we have a sponsor! The lovely Nicole at Cloud Craft has given swap participants (and very kindly, Very Berry readers) a 10% discount for the duration of the swap… I will reveal the code on Monday 10 November.

Cloud Craft

Nicole sells a brilliant range of 100% pure wool felt, beautiful DMC threads in gorgeous colours, loads of lovely aida and linen for hand-stitching, and much much more… Please pop round and check out the goodies all ready for the buying to start next week!

If you don’t know by now… here’s some info about what all this is about:


1) What’s an ATC?

ATC stands for Artist’s Trading Card, and it’s basically the creative, unique and arty version of a business card.

2) OK, so what’s the point of an ATC?

It’s a way to be creative on a small scale, try out new techniques and skills in a non-threatening way. Lots of people collect these mini pieces of art, swap them, and give them as gifts.

3) Ok, I’m interested, tell me the details – What size is an ATC?

Your ATC must measure 3.5″x2.5″ (6.4cm by 8.9cm) – about the size of a business card. You can use the card in either portrait or landscape orientation. Don’t make the card too thick – no more than 1/8″ (3-4mm) please.

4) But what’s a textile ATC?

The majority of your ATC must be fabric and there must be at least a little bit of stitching involved. But otherwise, the world is your oyster. You can use any techniques that you want to try, e.g. applique, embroidery, patchwork, beading, cross-stitch, fusing fabrics, colouring fabrics, using fabric paints or ink stamps, you can even include crochet, weaving or knitting.

5) I’m really interested – where can I see some textile ATCs?

There is a Very Berry ATC swap group on Flickr, where you can see photos of cards made for previous swaps.

6) Wow – they are brilliant, I’m in, where do I sign up?

  • Hang on, read the rules first!
  • You will make 1 ATC and receive 1 ATC in return.
  • Your card must:
    1. be the right size.
    2. fit the theme.
    3. include your name and the date on reverse (you can include your web address/email and the title of your card too if you want to).
  • The theme is ‘Winter Sparkle’ – please feel free to interpret that however you like! Please only use a Christmassy theme if your partner is ok with it (I will let you know!).
  • Please sign up by leaving a comment on this post and dropping me an email at veryberryhandmade (at) gmail (dot) com by 6pm on Thursday 6th November. I will send you an email with a few questions (just a bit of basic info for the swap) by Friday 7th November and you must respond by lunchtime on Monday 10th November. Partners will be assigned by Tuesday 11th November.
  • It will be a secret swap (you will not be sending to the person you receive your card from) so please don’t let your partner know who you are!
  • Participation is open to anyone anywhere in the world (the ATCs wont be too pricey to send), so please be prepared to send overseas if you join in (but I will *try* to make exceptions if you are really stuck for cash… just let me know).
  • Cards must be posted during the week 8-13th December (or a little earlier if you are posting overseas and you can manage it). The aim is to have it with your partner for Christmas/New Year.
  • Please do not include anything else in your parcel, except a little note if you like!
  • Once you have received your ATC, you must get in touch with your partner to say thanks… (I know, I don’t need to say this…!).
  • If you blog, use FB, Twitter or Instagram, please feel free to share your ATC swap progress, and definitely share pictures of the ATC you receive from your swap partner, if you can.
  • Serious bit: Before signing up, please think for a minute whether you can put aside enough time to make something lovely and thoughtful for your swap partner, and whether you will be able to meet the deadlines.

That’s it for now – leave a comment if you are in! Oh, and here’s a little button if you want one for your blog – just copy and paste the code below.

Winter Textile ATC Swap Starts Here!
<div align="center"><a href="" title="Winter Textile ATC Swap Starts Here! "><img src="" alt="Winter Textile ATC Swap Starts Here! " style="border:none;" /></a></div>


Filed under sewing, stitching, swap

Colouring book winner & Winter ATC Swap

Just a very quick post before I go out and practice Christmas carols with my choir… The winner of the colouring book is Ann W. Congrats to her – I will be in touch.

And a heads up to all the people who are keen to join in with the next ATC swap.. sign ups will open tomorrow. The theme will be Winter/Christmas and we have a very exciting sponsor this time round!

Cloud Craft


So why not go and have a bit of a browse round there whilst you are waiting impatiently to sign up!


Filed under swap