Friday, September 28, 2012

Lola In London!

Oh yes, I promised big news - and as you have most probably gathered from my post title, I am going to London to visit the Queen! Oh alright, so I may not be having tea with Liz, but I am flying over the pond to London town!

This is especially exciting as I have never been to the UK and I am looking forward to it immensely. And since I have never been, I'm counting on you - and by you I mean anyone who lives in, has been to, knows anything about London and surrounds - to tell me all about the must dos and the must sees whilst I'm there.

To be honest, I may not make the changing of the guard my first priority, but Liberty of London is at the top of the list (as I promised my mother I would pick her up a little something from there) so any crafty spots, good yet affordable places to grab a snack, places of historical importance that are not so touristy, shops in which to purchase shockingly fabulous footwear, all suggestions are welcome. I may go a bit beyond London as well. And then there's that very short hop-skip-jump over to Paris...

Hold on a minute! There is more Big News! I have a grand announcement!

I am absolutely thrilled to be hosting a workshop to celebrate the UK release of my book Simple Sewing with Lola Nova
If you are going to be in the area, I would just love it if you would join me for an evening of Sewing Whimsy!
Sunday, October 21, 2012
5 - 7 p.m.

At: Bermondsey Fayre
212 Bermondsey Street
SE1 3TQ London

In the workshop we will be dabbling in some hand sewing goodness based on projects from the book. There will also be chatting, book signing and all around good times.

Some nitty gritty details:

There are 15 spots available

The cost is £10.00 which includes supplies

You can head over to my Workshops Page and register for the London Workshop


You can press the Buy it Now button below and register that way!

I do so hope to see you there!

Monday, September 24, 2012

Serious Business

Hello Monday! Hello friends!

I have discovered a whole heap of admin type busy work that needs doing. Whilst I'm at it, I figured it was also time for a little shine and polish on my place here. So, for the next few days I am going to be nose to the grindstone, fingers to the keyboard and all that sort of serious business. If you stop by and see that things are out of place, a bit askew, and generally wonky, that's just me mucking about. Here's hoping I don't get myself in a sticky mess whilst at it.

I hope to be back by weeks end with a bit of very exciting news!

So until then, have a lovely week!

Friday, September 21, 2012

Make Bias Binding - Tutorial

Want to know what is really great? Making your own bias tape! Yes you can! It does take a little time and effort, but is well worth it. Because I work primarily with natural fiber fabrics, I find that making my own bias tape out of the same fabric type produces much better results and there is that whole “variety is the spice of life” thing. I do use packaged bias binding as well for the sheer convenience of it, but make my own whenever I can.

I thought perhaps some of you lovely folks might like to have a gander at this tutorial that didn't quite make the final squeeze into my book.

What you will need:
A good size rectangle of fabric (for this example I used about a ½ yard (1/2 meter) of cotton print, but you can use a smaller rectangle no problem)

A fabric marker, pencil, or tailors chalk

A long ruler (clear quilting type works great!)

Rotary cutter & self-healing mat or fabric shears

Bias tape maker tool (not essential, but highly recommended)


Iron & Ironing board

There are a few different methods to making bias tape, I will be showing you how I make mine, but you should explore other methods to find what suits you best.

Bias tape making tools are pretty nifty and inexpensive gadgets that come in a couple different sizes from ¼” up to 2”. The width marked on the package is for single fold bias tape, so a 1” bias maker tool will make ½” double fold, etc.
Clover makes several sizes of this great tool.

To Make: Click the pics to enlarge for detail

Lay out your rectangle of fabric wrong side up. To find the bias, simply fold the fabric so that the edges meet to form a triangle as shown. Press the fold and this line is the bias grain. Unfold fabric.

Using a long ruler, begin marking off strips along the bias by measuring equal distances from the line you pressed. Your strips should be twice the width of your completed bias tape. Since I am making 1” (2.5cm) bias tape, my strips are going to be 2” (5cm) wide. As I get close to the corner, the strips become quite small so I generally discard those as I don’t want to bother with the really little bits.

Once you have marked off your strips, use a rotary cutter, ruler and self sealing mat, or fabric shears to cut along the lines to make your strips. I then cut off the angled ends of the strips as shown.

Place two strips at 90 degree angles with the right sides together, raw edges matching and pin in place. Sew diagonally across the two strips as shown. Continue sewing the remaining strips together in the same manner to create one long strip. Sew each one the same way so that your seams are all in the same direction. Trim all of your seam allowances to a scant ¼” (6mm) and press the seams open. Trim the seam bits again.

Now that you have a nice long bias strip, let's make it into binding!

Bias Tool Method:
To insert the strip into the bias tape maker tool, fold one end into a point with the wrong side facing up, insert the strip into the wide end of the tool. You can use the tip of a seam ripper to gently guide the strip through. Make sure that your strip is centered in the tool as shown.

Gently pull the tool as you hold the end of the strip and press with the iron as you go. Continue to press the entire length of the strip. You now have a nice amount of single fold bias tape. If you would like to make it into double fold bias tape, simply fold the tape in half with the single folds on the inside and press.

So, the little Bias Maker Tool is totally worth investing a few dollars in!

You can do all of this without the handy little tool. Begin by folding your strip in half wrong sides together and press to create a center crease. Open up the strip and fold both raw edges in to meet the center crease and press for single fold bias tape. Fold in half again as shown above to create double fold bias tape.

Now wrap your sweet new bias tape around a bit of cardboard to keep it nice and neat.

How much bias tape will it make? You can first calculate the area of your fabric rectangle by multiplying the length by the width, and then divide that number by the width of your strips. This will give you a rough approximation since you may not be using the smaller corner strips of the fabric. To tell you the truth, I don't do the math, I just go with this bit:

A half yard of fabric will yield a good several yards of bias binding of most widths.

I will often make a smaller amount for a specific project that requires only a little bit of bias tape, so it's up to you how much you make at any given time.

Now, go give it a try!

Any questions? Feel free to ask and I will try to answer them in the comment section of this post.

Happy Making!

Monday, September 17, 2012

Hello Monday - Giveaway Winners!

A big thank you to everyone who entered my giveaway! I so appreciated all of the comments and the shares. I decided to go with assigning numbers to all of the entries then using a random number generator to pick the winners.

The winner of the copy of my book is Pomona of Little Cottage Comforts! Hooray!

And the winner of the Mystery Gift is Christine from The Alchymyst's Study! And the Mystery Gift is from the cover of my book, The Leaping Stag Cushion Cover! The cover will fit any standard 16" x 16" (40cm x 40cm) pillow insert.

So my dears, send me your addresses to and I will pop your prizes in the post!

Congratulations to the lucky winners! Thanks again to all of you lovely people.

Have a wonderful day!

Friday, September 14, 2012

Old School Me

Happy Friday!
Today I am playing along with Pip from Meet Me at Mike's, who has started a Friday meme photo sharing game. Just share an old school pic of yourself for all to see! Yes, the thought is enough to make one cringe and yell "No way!" Yet, here I am jumping in.

This is the 3rd grade me. Already a little 'Lola' in the works with my 1940's vintage bow holding barrette. The dress was amazing too as I recall, I loved it; long sleeved maxi length and fancy!

I still think of Miss Kerr as my favorite teacher ever! She was so encouraging and lovely. You can't see it here, but in the class pic there is a guitar in the corner and Miss Kerr would play it. She really fostered my love of reading and writing, I can still remember writing my first "epic poem" in her class. I also remember having a fairly massive crush on the little boy in the front with the embroidered western shirt.

If you wanna see some other folks Old School Me or to join in click HERE

Also, this is the last day to enter my giveaway HERE. Comments will be open until midnight Pacific Standard Time. I will announce the winners on Monday!

Have a wonderful weekend lovelies!

P.S. Thankfully I grew into my teeth :)

Wednesday, September 12, 2012


Every time she grows out of a pair I feel a little sad.

Oh, it's a clickable pic!

Blogger ate my homework, so that's all for today.

Oh! Still time to enter my giveaway HERE!

Monday, September 10, 2012

Hello Monday - A thrifty weekend

I've been seeing some lovely thrifty treasures around blogtown lately and was reminded that it has been a while since I spent a leisurely hour or two strolling the aisles of my local thrifty emporiums. So this weekend when the Engineer said to me, "Why don't you go off and do something you enjoy for a little while" I jumped at the chance.

I wasn't expecting much as the local second hand shops are all-a-halloweeny from floor to rafter, but still a little meandering amongst the castaways might do me a bit of good. In an aisle dedicated to bathroom fixtures and corroding curling irons, I spied a flash of "Vintage Blue" and there it was, a wee vintage toy iron! Oh yes, popped that in my trolley straight away! Then perusing the jumbled toy aisle looking for wild horses for Pony Girl, I found the vintage Fisher Price airplane, a wave of nostalgia washed over me and suddenly it was sitting in my basket as well.

A spot of yellow Pyrex and two decaled enamel pans still in need of some scrubbing to shine them back to their true selves, as well as a pretty flowered tablecloth.

Lastly, a sweet bed sheet and some vintage crafty books! I'm a sucker for a vintage crafty book, I don't know why. I certainly do not need more vintage crafty books, as my shelves are already spilling over. Ah well, they make me happy.

So there you have it, a thrifty weekend gone swimmingly! How was your weekend? Did you find any treasures, or spend some time doing something that you enjoy? Do tell!

P.S. I forgot one more item! A 1971 edition of the game Battleship (sorry no photo)! We had a great time playing it this weekend too! "You sunk my battleship!"

Friday, September 7, 2012

Simple Sewing with Lola Nova Book Giveaway!

Today is a day for celebrating! There is so much to celebrate; the UK release of my book Simple Sewing with Lola Nova, the bluebird sky outside my window, and a very special celebration today that marks the 9 year wedding anniversary with my sweetheart Andrew - aka The Engineer! I love you darlin'!

Since I am in a celebratory mood I thought, what better than to hold a Giveaway here on my shiny happy place?! Today I am giving away one copy of my book to one of my readers! Hip Hip Hooray!

How's about a little sneaky peek inside?

In the Vintage chapter, I show you how to create this "Little Joy Dress".

These multi-use "Pockets Full of Posies" are found in the Natural chapter.

And one of my personal favorites, The "Summer Tent" is in the Boho chapter!

The book is broken into the following sections:

So you see, there is surely a little something for everyone!

All you have to do to enter the giveaway is to leave a comment here on this post! Easy Peasy no?

But wait! Don't answer yet, there's more!

If you "Tweet", Blog, or Facebook Share about this giveaway; you will also be entered to win a Mystery Gift! Ooh, doesn't that sound exciting and yes, muy mysterioso! If I told you what it was then it wouldn't be a Mystery Gift now would it, but it could be something from the book, just maybe.

Let's break it down one last time:
1. Leave a comment for a chance to win my book. Please make sure to leave a way for me to contact you should you be the lucky winner.

2. Let me know if you have "tweeted", blogged, or shared the giveaway on facebook for a chance to win a Mystery Gift! When reading the words Mystery gift one should imagine an echo for full effect.

3. The Giveaway will be open until Friday, September 14th and the winner will be announced Monday, September 17th!

Celebrate Good Times C'mon!

Have a wonderful weekend!

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

A change in the air

The house is quiet. My girl has gone off to her first day of 2nd grade, a little nervous and a little excited... me too.

The mornings have begun to chill, a sign that Fall is on its way.

I am thinking back on this Summer spent with my family, all the special moments and adventures; such a gift.

I am looking through photos, smiling and laughing out loud.

I am amazed at what has taken place this last year, it has been such an incredible journey.

I am making lists of all the things I need/want/hope to accomplish now that I have days and time.

I am sipping my coffee slowly out on the patio to soak up the sunshine while it lasts.

I am holding on.

I am letting go.

How about you?
Are you noticing the shift in seasons?
Do you feel a change in the air?

P.S. Be sure to stop by on Friday as I feel a Give Away coming on!

Monday, September 3, 2012

A Very Big Day for Lola Nova!

I am so very giddy and a little overwhelmed to announce that my book Simple Sewing with Lola Nova by Alexandra Smith, is making it's big debut today in the UK! My book is now upon the shelves of booksellers in London and across the UK!

I would like to be one of those folks who casually mentions the release of my book as if it were a nice little bit of information and smile sweetly as if it were no big thing. The truth is it's all a bit surreal and really overwhelming to see one's work all laid out in glorious color. It is a gorgeous hardback book with those thick quality matte pages that draw you in, beautifully designed by Anita Mangan, and all around more than I could hope for!

I will tell you that I am proud of my work and I put my heart and soul into this book. It was a long and crazy journey that has taught me so much. It would not have been possible with out you my wonderful friends and readers, so thank you so very much.

Simple Sewing with Lola Nova published by Mitchell Beazley is available at various booksellers in the UK today!

Or you can order it online at:
Amazon UK
The Book Depository

The US release is in Spring 2013 and will be available in US bookstores then. You can also pre-order from

And just as soon as I receive them, I will have signed copies available through my Etsy shop, I will keep you posted!

Oh, and if you didn't know, my book is part of the Creative Makers series. Also being released today is Simple Crochet by Sara Sinaguglia, I can't wait to have a look at that too!

Again thank you my friends for being part of my big day!

Have a wonderful week!