Temperature Quilt: sew along for more fun

The idea

So I’ve had an idea for a year long project (a crazy foolhardy ambitious plan) for 2017 that I posted a little teaser about on Instagram and Facebook last week. I’m going to do a Temperature Quilt. Temperature blankets are all the rage at the moment but as I can’t knit or crochet for toffee, I thought I’d translate the idea into quilting. I’m hoping this will be a project that people can follow along with; if you have a decent-ish stash of fabric it shouldn’t be too hard to find some bits each week to match the temperature and one block doesn’t take too long to cut out and sew.

The methodtemperaturequilt-setup

A block every day would mean 365 quilting blocks and that might be bordering on insane so instead I’ll be doing a block a week; 52 blocks in total. At the end of every week I will work out the average temperature it has been here in Harrogate and then make a quilt block in the corresponding colour from my “Fabric Thermometer”. I’ll be using Tula Pink’s “City Sampler Quilts: 100 Modern Quilt Blocks” book for all my block designs. I’ll post a photo each week on Instagram and Facebook featuring my weekly block (look for the #coffeeandmakingtemperaturequilt hashtag so you don’t miss any) and will also do a monthly update here on the blog showing all the blocks so far.

Obviously you can use any book, website, magazine or other inspiration for you quilt blocks. Have them all random (like me…that’s just how I roll) or all the same, it really is up to you. I have split my “Fabric Thermometer” into 10 sections because I wanted to try and increase the spectrum of colours I might be able to use over the year but you could adapt yours to be a greater or smaller range, again it really is up to you. I would recommend getting your fabric together before you start so you don’t have to go rummaging each week to find the right colour. It will also help you to identifying any gaps in your stash too. This is how I have divided up my colours:

35° and above: dark reds
30° to 34°: bright reds
25° to 29°: oranges
20° to 24°: yellows
15° to 19°: bright greens
10° to 14°: greens
5° to 9°: turquoises
0° to 4°: royal blues
-5° to -1°: lavenders
-6° and below: greys and whites

The supplies

I’ve tried to put together in my main photo all the “stuff” (technical quilters term) I’ll be using for this project. In a nut shell you will need: fabric in a variety of colours, cutting mat, cutting ruler, roller cut, or scissors if you prefer, thread, pins, seam ripper (let’s just be honest up front…we all need a seam ripper), book or other inspiration for blocks, sewing machine, and a strong coffee. There will be extra bits like batting, binding etc but we are all at least 52 weeks away from needing those so I’ll post about finishing off the project towards the end.

If you are lacking in some, or any, of these supplies then fear not. I have teamed up with some lovely online fabric and haberdashery shops who are waiting in the wings to provide anything you might need.

Little T’s Haberdashery have everything from roller cutters to pins and have a lovely discount code to use too: Coffee&Make10 for 10% off.

Caboodle Textiles can cater for all your fabric needs. If you join their Facebook group there is a 10% discount code in there.

The finished project

The Tula Pink blocks are all a 6” finish size (yours may be different) but here are a few project ideas for what you could do with 52 6” quilt blocks.

– Bed runner, my project; 13 rows of 4 blocks makes about a 24” x 78” (plus bindings etc) finished piece which is perfect for the width of a king size bed with extra to hang over the edges
– Monthly cushions; scattered them around the house using 4 blocks per cushion
– Cotbed quilt; a slight twist on the year-long project but 40 blocks (so 40 weeks/9 months…do you see my thinking?!) creates a quilt that is a great size for a cotbed
– Larger quilt; of course they is nothing to say you can’t do more blocks, two a week if you are feeling very enthusiastic would make a much larger quilt. Or use the 52 as a central feature with simple borders around to create a larger sized finished piece

If you subscribe to the blog you will get a notification of all the monthly update posts, and don’t forget to check Instagram or Facebook for each weekly block so you can sew along with me. And please share your blocks with #coffeeandmakingtemperaturequilt so everyone can see everyone else’s creations.


WAHMs are for life, not just for Christmas

As the dust settles on another Christmas, my thoughts have turned to handmade businesses and more specifically the small, work-at-home-mum (WAHM) run businesses. Having previously been one myself and still happily feeling a part of this crazy rainbow obsessed lovely community I find I often think of these wonderful and talented people and how, fantastic as it is to be able to run a business from home whilst being with your children, it is also rife with difficulties and complications.

Why support WAHMs year round

A quick read of my Caboodle Kids review shows what I feel are the huge benefits to buyer handmade/WAHM clothes and most of that is true of other types of small businesses too but I want to have a look at why its so important to support WAHMs every month of the year rather than just over the festive period. Firstly to have your annual income relatively evenly spaced over an entire year does make life easier (running the business, budget planning, supporting your family and the various expensive that goes with that) and to have a high percentage alchristmas-jumpersl come in the space of a month or two must be difficult to manage. I know what I would be like…December “ooooo extra money for more cake, buy all the cake”….. June *searches house for cake crumbs*! Going hand-in-hand with that is balance of workload. Of course, the last couple of months of the year will always be busiest as so many customers are all buying for the same deadline, but I bet a little bit more of an even spread would be so helpful to many WAHMs. There are plus points for the customer too. I’m all for supporting WAHMs but as a customer I want some benefits for me as well, I’m not that selfless! Buying year-round you will mean you have the opportunity to buy season specific items and designs; a Valentines Day outfit with a difference, or birthday brownies in your favourite flavour (stop mentioning cake Amy!). Unlike most high street stores who only stock items relevant to the current or upcoming season, smaller handmade businesses often stock all seasonal options all year. Have you ever tried to buy shorts for a holiday in December on the high street, its virtually impossible. And don’t get me started about the argument I once had with someone in a very well known high street store about garden furniture I wanted to buy in June and was told it was “no longer the summer season in store”. Never fear, WAHMs to the rescue again.

My Christmas WAHMs

Christmas 2016 in the Coffee Rings and Making Things household featured a small but perfectly formed selection of WAHMs:

todyefor-socksWinter hoodie from Caboodle Kids
Christmas stocking undies from Sew Over The Rainbow (formerly Mummy Made)
Elfie iron-on vinyl from Margles & C Bear
Wax melt advent calendar from Butterfly Scents
Christmas Eve box matching socks from To Dye For
Festive jersey knit fabric from Second Star Fabric
Christmas outfits for Fletcher made from Made By Jack’s Mum patterns

Just think of it this way; if you don’t continue to support our beloved WAHM and handmade businesses during 2017 there is a chance they won’t be here next Christmas to make you a new batch of goodies and that would be so sad. Valentines Day, birthdays, anniversaries, a treat because you deserve it…think WAHM.

Don’t forget…WAHMs are for life, not just for Christmas.


The whole kid at Caboodle

Caboodle Kids’ motto is “comfy kids, colourful kids, happy kids” and they really do keep to it. Their range is full of comfortable yet stylish designs for babies and children, all with a varied selection of eye catching fabrics. With an easy to navigate website, you can browse their in stock items or head to the custom made area where you can choose exactly what you want. Mel, founder of Caboodle Kids, says “I pride myself on offering a hand made clothing range which is loved by kids for its bright joyful prints and loved by parents for its originality, comfort and ease of use.” and this is exactly what you get when ordering; bright colours, originality and comfort…what more could you ask for when dressing your babies and children.

I think small businesses like Mel’s walk a fine line between wanting to come across as sleek and professional whilst still maintaining that personal and handmade vibe that people who buy handmade love. I’ve already mentioned Caboodle’s website which certainly offers that sleek and professional side of things. Very clearly set out with striking photos that show off the clothing range beautifully, its easy to find what you are looking for and all the available options.

What to choose

I’m the kind of person that likes a lot of choice, I never pick the first thing I see (well, thats not exactly true, sometimes I do pick the first thing I have seen but not before I’ve look at hundreds of other options) . This makes the Custom Made Shop section perfect for me. Once you have chosen the item you want to order you can then select your patterned fabric and any coordinating elements too. One feature I particular love is the “Caboodle’s Choice” which means that Mel will choose the contrast plain fabric or popper colours for you. This is great because it means you’ll get a fab match for your favourite print; let’s face it, Mel is the one sitting in her studio stroking this beautiful fabric all day so she’s going to know exactly which options will perfectly enhance your garment. And you get the fun of a little surprise when your parcel arrives. If, on the other hand, you’d prefer a lot of choices to be dealt with on your behalf then head for the In Stock Shop. All you need to choose is the size you want to order and then just find something gorgeous. And you get the added bonus of your clothes being sent within a couple of days so your happy post comes nice and quickly. Of course, the custom made loveliness is totally worth a few weeks wait for Mel to work her magic.

So why should you buy handmade?

What are the real benefits? Being totally honest, buying handmade is more expensive than a lot of high street shops so you must be getting something a bit “more” for your money. First off handmade is often better quality. This is certainly the case with the items I received from Caboodle Kids; perfection personified. As a maker myself I always look closely at anything I buy (whether it be handmade or high street bought…yes i buy from the high street too!), checking the stitching and how neat everything is inside the garment. Everything from Mel was spot on, exactly how I would have made it and that is a massive compliment to Mel’s skills because I am super picky. Another benefit to buying handmade is you are more likely to get something unique, or at the least a design far more original than the high street selection. When it comes to Caboodle Kids, this is true because they hold such a great and varied selection of fabric (the majority being gender neutral too, which I love and I know is a massive bug bear for many buying from high street stores) and you can customise your choice to your preference by matching prints with loads of wonderful plain colours.

Handmade to last

Handmade makers often like to design to last your child too. They grow so quickly, its always such a shame when a much-loved pair of trousers are suddenly too short. Fear not, Caboodle Kids have this in hand too (have they thought of everything?! I think maybe yes) becbluedragons-hoodedteeause their baggy harem trousers are designed with a long waistband and ankle cuffs which means you can start with them folded up then as your little one grows you simple fold back down adding inches to the overall length. One feature I especially love about Caboodle Kids’ trousers is the ability to customise the waist-size. One of the options when ordering trousers is “Do you have a tall slim child that requires and size down on waistband?”. The truth is, no I don’t have a tall slim child but I do have a short child with a tiny waist so its kind of the same thing. Any time I make trousers or pants for Fletcher I always have to size down the waistband to get a good fit so to have it as an option from a handmade business I am buying from is fantastic.

Fletcher’s choices

I was never sure if it was a good thing to be a handmade clothing brand rep having previously been the owner of a similar business myself. In reality this just shows the faith that Mel has in her product, and rightly so because they are fabulous. But with all this glorious choice, what did Fletcher and I choose? Yes, I am one of those annoying parents that lets their child choose things but, to be honest, when I asked him to choose his favourite fabrics for his new clothes I knew he couldn’t fail because they are all lovely.

Ranger Hoodie; red monster with grey contrast and black edging [http://www.caboodlekids.co.uk/product/handmade-ranger-hoodie-2/]

Party and Play Trousers; cobalt and navy blues (I wanted them to coordinating with lots of Fletcher’s tops so went for two-tone but rather than patterned and plain) [http://www.caboodlekids.co.uk/product/party-and-play-trousers-2/]

Party and Play Tee; orange dines with black contrast [http://www.caboodlekids.co.uk/product/custom-handmade-party-and-play-tee/]

fallleaves-partyplaytrousersRound neck Tee; monochrome clouds with grey contrast [http://www.caboodlekids.co.uk/product/custom-handmade-t-shirt-2/]

Party and Play Trousers; fall leaves with orange contrast [http://www.caboodlekids.co.uk/product/party-and-play-trousers-2/]

Hooded Tee; blue dragons with black contrast [http://www.caboodlekids.co.uk/product/handmade-custom-hooded-cowl-tee-2/]

Every item came professional packaged and in the time I expected (a couple of days for in stock and 3 weeks for custom made) with email updates throughout the process. Fletcher loves them all, and he can be pretty tough critic at times, drawn to them by the striking and colourful fabric but choosing to wear them again and again because of the comfort and freedom of movement they offer. He’s worn them everywhere; exploring the garden, in a muddy playground, for a cosy day at home.

So what are you waiting for? Get your order in with Caboodle Kids. You won’t be disappointed, I promise.