Category Archives: introductions

Meet Amanda the Patchsmith

July 18th 2014

Remember the Mug Rugs from the last post? Did I mention once I started I couldn’t stop? Yep, six in a day and more since I got her newest pattern, the watermelon!!  So as promised, let’s meet the pattern designer extraordinaire behind these little goodies.


Goofed on the seeds because I was too excited to look at the pattern.

1. For those that don’t know you, tell us who you are and where you are from. (name, rank and serial number 🙂 I am Amanda and I live in a little village in the Hampshire countryside in England. 

 2. When did you start sewing? I have always sewn – from a very early age.   I remember being taught how to sew in school when I was 9 y.o.  I stitched a little shift dress with bias binding around the neck and armholes. 

3. Did you ever think your designs would be so well received? No – it was a total shock.  I designed a mug rug for my sister – Tea and Cake – and she liked it so much she suggested that I sell the pattern.  I didn’t know anything about on-line PDF downloads but I did have a few skills with MS Word.  So I created a pattern and put it on a new site that had not around for long – the site was called Craftsy.  That was at the very end of August 2012. At that time Craftsy sent out a monthly newsletter and in September 2012 my Tea and Cake pattern was featured.   That was the start of a long and happy relationship with Craftsy that continues to this day. Tea and Cake First Mug Rug Pattern

4. How/when/why did you start blogging?  I started blogging for the Zakka Sew Along (the original).  I had been very ill for a long time and by chance I came across the Zakka sew-along.  They were on week 2 so I decided I would join in.  Oh what fun we had.  I use to stitch the weekly item on a Monday morning (which became known as Zakka Monday) and then I blogged about it on-line in the afternoon.  Some of the projects worked really well – other ones not-so-much – but every one was a learning curve.  I also made some very dear friends from around the world through that sew-along.

5. Who or what inspires you?    I get my inspiration from all over the place – from the countryside around me, architectural shapes, flags and bric-a-brac.  I have so many ideas – too many for me to make so I have a difficult time choosing which design to create next. 

6. How did you & Quilting Galleries come to how “swaps?” Quilting Gallery use a lot of different designers for their swaps but I got involved when Michele asked if she could use a couple of my mug rugs in a swap at the beginning of 2013.  She chose the Two Owls and Winter Birdhouse patterns.  It was such great fun seeing all the different versions of my little patterns.  The swap was such a success that Michele asked me to design two patterns for January 2014 based around the theme of the Sochi Winter Olympics.  Russian Doll Mug Rug

7. What do you love/hate the most about the internet world?   I love the connection with people across the globe.  I don’t like that it is open 24 hours a day.  Wouldn’t it be nice if the internet shut on Sundays – like most of the shops do here in England?

8. Tell about your business values and/or mission. The Patchsmith’s values are 1. provide value for money, 2. create never replicate   3. I also try not to compete – the business ethos is competitive but within the quilting community the ethos is more on co-operation and sharing of knowledge.  I love that about quilters – they are so helpful, friendly and supportive.  So I try hard not to compete – if somebody produces a lovely mug rug pattern then I will comment and say so and will recommend that pattern to a customer/follower.  My mission is very simple – it is to create easy-to-follow, fun patterns for everybody to enjoy.  In return I have received friendship and fun in abundance – which is very lovely.

9.  Which is your favorite Mug Rug? The latest one is always my favourite so at the moment it is the Summer Watermelon mug rug. Watermelons

10. Let’s talk fabric!

  • Planned or spontaneous purchases?     Planned – there are no quilt shops near to me.  I have to plan my fabric shopping as I have to drive a distance to purchase fabric.
  • Collections or scrappy?    Mainly scrappy but I often buy charm packs – they are perfect for building my appliqué stash.  I also like layer cakes for background fabric and there is always some left over for my scrap stash.
  • Pre-cuts or yardage?  I rarely buy yardage – it is so very, very dear here in England (cheapest is $20 a yard) so I tend to stick to fat quarters and charm squares. 
  • Brick and mortar store or online shops?   Online shops due to the shortage of fabric shops in my area.
  • Favorite designer/s?  I have never come across a designer that doesn’t have something I like.  I particularly like Buggy Barn, Whimsicals for Red Rooster, Whistler Studios and Nancy Halvorsen and Bonny & Camille.  I also like Debbie Mumm’s small prints but they are very hard to find here in England.
  • Favorite sewing/craft book?  It would have to be The Quilter’s Album of Patchwork Patterns by Jinny Beyer which I return to time-and-time again.
  • “Can’t live without” sewing tool? My seam-ripper and my bobbin donut.

Even the backs look pretty!

11. Fast Track

  • Coffee, tea or soda ?(duh!)    Tea
  • Night owl or early bird ?  Both – I am at my most creative for designing in the morning and better at sewing in the evenings.  I wake early and stay up late.
  • Neat freak or “creative” order?  Creative Order
  • Sketchbook or napkin? Sketchbook – I have three sketchbooks full of mug rug patterns – most have never been made.  I index them so that I can find the patterns – does that make me a ‘neat freak’?
  • Pattern or inventive? Inventive although, when I am tired a pattern is easy.  I do follow my own patterns as I design and write a pattern before working directly from the pattern (testing) to make at least two copies.
  • Pen or pencil? Pencil.  I sketch all my designs in my sketchbook.  They are very rough sketches and are seldom to size.  I then scan them onto the computer and create a digital copy using MS Word.
  • Summer or winter?   Summer – I like to cycle so the summer is my favourite.  Although we don’t have any quilt shops in the area there are lots and lots of tea rooms and there is nothing nice than to park my bike and enjoy afternoon tea, sat outside in the sunshine.
  • Book or magazine?  Book – love books.
  • Car or plane? Car – but bicycle is my favourite mode of travel – it transports me at a leisurely pace.
  • Music or quiet when sewing?   Quiet

I love talking to people and getting to know more about them and their process and it’s no different with Amanda. I am ready to hop on a plane and share a bike ride and some tea afterwards. Maybe even swap some ideas and get a little sewing done! Thanks so much Amanda for humoring me by answering my questions and letting me introduce her to those of you didn’t know her already.  She has a plethora of wonderful patterns that are witty, whimsical and loads of fun to do. She even has compiled books of Mug Rug patterns for those of you who can’t decide which or want them all.

You’ll be addicted to them too and they are perfect for the tiniest of beloved scraps.  Check out her loot over at her Craftsy shop.

30/30 Challenge

March 3rd 2014

I spent this weekend almost wishing for Monday so I can get some quilting done, for ME! I know it sounds crazy, nobody likes Mondays.  I have been spending so much time making patterns and quilts from my patterns and reading about business matters all of which carries with it a little stress and tension, which is necessary.  But I am anxious to get started on that growing list of projects I’ve been adding to for years. You know, the list of projects from magazines, blogs and patterns that are easy and fast to do?  Yeah, I just have to sit down and get it done. Cool stuff I want to make just for fun and not as an obligation.

So while I was visiting my favorite blogs, Julie over at The Crafty Quilter mentioned this totally doable event that will also help me cross off some things on that list and hopefully create a new habit.  It’s a 30/30 sewing challenge that requires you dedicate 30 minutes a day for 30 days, to sew for yourself! Just the motivation I need!

30-30 challenge

Here is a list of some of the projects I want to do this month:

1. Make one of these for my embroidery supplies on the run. It’s called Abby’s Treasure Box from This and That patterns, pattern #067.

treasure box


2. Next I want to finally use my Marmalade fabric and make a Spools quilt!


3. And this little Cherry wall hanging with some Mary Engelbreit charm packs I have.


The 30/30 guideline is to have 4 goals. But I think 3 in pretty ambitious for me. I can always add something if I have time leftover, right?  I am excited to have something to look forward to that I get to do just for enjoyment. Plus,  I need to use up some of my fabric to make room for more!

Countdown to Valentine’s Day

January 27th 2014

I have never been much of a Valentine’s Day type of girl. They have just never been that great, too much hype!

But last year, I made the prettiest table topper with popping hearts in the most beautiful fabric. It was my first Nine Patch. Sigh….  I can’t wait to pull it out to display.

Love Note puffy hearts 2

This year, I decided to do a countdown to Valentine’s Day featuring some Valentine tutorials you can do for your honey or honeys!  After all, Valentines has always been a crafty sort of holiday with all those cards and doilies.  I know my kids get a kick out of getting something handmade, even a card with special words and pictures.  So mark your calendars!!

valentine tutorial button

There will be a new tutorial everyday from February 1st through the 7th so you have time to make them yourself. They are not complicated and really can be done in a evening, 1-2 hours at most!  If you don’t have a sewing machine for the quilted or sewing projects,  a glue gun should work fine for the other projects. And after you’ve made your project, please share it on the Flickr group!

love note 1

So I hope you can get your CRAFT or QUILT ON and make something thoughtful for someone you love!

Grow Your Blog

January 25th 2014

Hi and a warm welcome to those of you visiting from Two Bags Full . Let’s all

use this one

I am a teacher who decided to follow her heart and maximize on my creative side and do what I enjoy. (I know my regular readers are tired of hearing me say that, I guess I was trying to convince myself, or prove it to others. I think that I am ready to own it now, thank you very much.)

ms archer

I love to craft and quilt and think outside the box, my head is full of ideas that keep me up at night like making this teacher themed sign or this felt ornaments project with crab tutorial below.

felt crab

 I taught myself how to quilt and find that making quilts and designing patterns is something that I really like to do. It has a start and a finish and every project is something new!  This one below is from  the pattern “Adorn” from Simple Retro book by Camille Roskelley. Doing the projects in that book was great for honing my skills and trying new blocks and patterns.  See the star progress here and here. I also tried out free motion quiltingin a  “pebbles” design which was new for me.

Adorn 2

Here is my own pattern design using leftovers and a there’s a tutorial to go with it!

Pretty Presents

I also love to learn new techniques and methods and generally just growing as a person. And I have a fabric addiction, and I am allowed to talk about that here. ; )


Blogging has been a great way for me to connect with crafty and quilty people who also blog and with whom I share that creative flare. We just can’t help ourselves!

I started my blog as a way of being accountable to myself to really pursue the creative side that I was neglecting yet, found so fulfilling.  I love to share my new project ideas and offer tutorials so others can do it too!

photo jar lid gift tags

I am so much happier having that daily outlet and purpose whether it’s writing, quilting, scrap booking, painting, photography, reading or analyzing the WORD, which is  my word for the year.

one little word visible

I hope as you explore my pages and see what I’m about you’ll decide you like what you see and will be back again soon.  I have some great Valentine tutorials coming up in February that you won’t want to miss!

Not S.W.A.T. SWAP! and Grow Your Blog!

January 19th 2014

Woohoo! I can hardly contain myself, all of last year I was admiring these adorable, whimsical “Mug Rugs” that Amanda the Patchsmith has been making (see them here) and this year I am joining the fun! Although I have made a few of my own, this is a whole other category!


This is    I N T E R N A T I O N A L    people!!  And what a great start to celebrate peace and the Winter Olympics starting next month!  This is the 2014 Quilting Gallery (Official) Mug Rug Swap.  And even though I am not (yet) a tea drinker, that is not the point.  Please hop on over to see the beautiful designs Amanda the Patchsmith created just for this event.  Once you join, you will be added to the Facebook group where we will soon meet our “mystery” swap buddy and learn where they are from.  This is really amazing, making friends around the world? Wow!

But wait there’s more!

use this one

In just a few days I hope to be a part of GROW YOUR BLOG  a movement, a blog party to grow your (my) blog readers and it’s awesome because we meet such a variety of bloggers in so many arenas! It’a another opportunity to make more friends. I hope I am not too late!