Monday, June 28, 2010

Stash Busting International Finale

I've got behind on posting about my Stash Busting Bee blocks. Fortunately I didn't get that far behind on making them! The last few blocks have been kicking my butt, but I've finished them all with only a few mishaps.

This was the April block. We were supposed to make one 12" block made of 1" finished blocks. Yes, that is 144 squares. Because of my new mommy status, I agreed to make two smaller blocks and someone else in the bee made two to match. Here's my two:

The next month was another block with lots of 1" squares. I was so worried about the strips not being big enough that I made the seam allowances scant. When you take away a 1/16th of an inch from enough squares, you end up with . . . an extra inch worth of fabric. So if you look closely you'll see that I had to cut off some of my fabrics to make the block work.

On the bright side, I love the colours I chose for this block, and I love the grey fabric and the design that Little Miss Shabby chose for this. It really is going to be a stunning quilt. I must find out where she got that grey.

For our last month of June we did the same block as in March, but we used all blues and greens. This block is pretty easy to piece, but I always find that putting all the blocks in the right place give me a bit of trouble, and some pulling apart and re-positioning is always in order. Anyway, I'm happy with the finished result.

Whew! So that's it. I'm done my Quilting Bee. This was a lovely group of ladies to sew with, and twelve really fabulous quilts are going to come out of this. I can't wait to see them all put together.

I think that's going to be it for me for Quilting Bees for a while. I really enjoy getting to know people and stretching my creativity. But I have a list as long as my arm of sewing for myself and my home that I'd like to get done, and that's not including anything I might like to make for the new house, or other personal projects I might take on. So as much as I have fun doing quilting bees, I think I'm out of that world for a while (unless of course a really fabulous offer that I can't refuse comes along . . . ).

In any case, thanks so much, Stash Busting Bee International Ladies! Its been fun.

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Revisiting Narnia

Narnia has always held a special place in my heart. Other than Winnie the Pooh and Alice in Wonderland, the Chronicles of Narnia were my first introduction to the chapter book. I have fond memories of sitting on my Dad's lap as he read them aloud to me when I was young, and more fond memories of reading them again (and in some cases, again) to myself as I grew older. Not only did they start my life long obsession with all things both medieval and fantastic, but C.S. Lewis' picture of God, as expressed in the character of Aslan, has often guided my own ideas about God. "He's not at all a tame lion, you know." While the stories of the Bible, especially of Jesus, can be strange a puzzling to a young child, what young child doesn't want to visit Mr. Tummus, have dinner with Mr. and Mrs. Beaver, and get to ride on Aslan's back and nuzzle their head in his soft mane?

You can imagine how excited I was when Andrew decided he wanted to read them, and actually had the attention span and comprehension to enjoy them! To be honest, I did bribe him a little. I promised I would let him watch the first two movies after he read the books, and that we would go and see The Voyage of the Dawn Treader together at Christmas. But once he started into the books he was hooked.

He had to find out what happened to Mr Tumnus. He wanted to know if the White Witch would die and how the children would get back to earth. As we finished the first book, he said, "How do you think they get into Narnia in the next book, Mom?". He wanted all the books pulled down off the shelf and he has been walking around with them asking me to explain every illustration in every book (I only read the Last Battle once, so I don't actually remember anything about it, except being disappointed at how little Lucy was in it). So we're already six chapters in to Prince Caspian and he's begging for more.

Funniest of all, he decided to use his Playmobil to do a Narnia set-up. About five minutes in, after Peter and Edmund and Caspian had been properly armoured, and the plastic lion had been fished out of the animal bin, he complained, "Mom, we don't have any fauns or centaurs or minotoars. How am I supposed to do a Narnia set up without fauns? And we don't have any girls. Or dwarfs . .. ".

In any case, I'm glad to say that as an adult, Lewis' writing still mesmerizes. He really was a master of creating just enough drama and suspense to keep children interested without being too scary. He often describes things carefully, but in just enough detail so that you have to fill in with your imagination. They are wonderful books, and I'm glad to be reading them again.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010


Watching my oldest boy and his best friend walk hand in hand on a school outing, and knowing they will not be together in two months.

Seeing my baby learn to crawl, and realizing that my youngest is moving away from me, slowly but surely, already.

Enjoying joking with my youth group kids at the last youth event I will do with them.

Clearing out the supplies I have gathered from four years of Art Camp, and putting them in the Sunday School closet for future teachers to use. Telling parents whose kids have attended for 4 years that, no, there is no Art Camp this year.

Sorting through baby clothes and giving away those I know I won't use.

Giving books back to friends.

Andrew's last day of Kindergarten.

Aaron's first day riding his brother's old bike.

Boys playing outside, without me, for most of the day.

Packing up, moving on, saying goodbye, planning for the future. Leaving this certain, present moment for an uncertain, uprooted future.

Breathing. Focusing on the present; on that next step forward. What must I do now? And now? And now?

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Just In Case you were Worried . .

no, I'm not in the part of Saskatchewan that has had all the flooding. Yep, we've had a lot of rain here, but I'm further North. Its not quite so flat here, so we're not as bad off.

I'm just busy, busy, busy. And also I just got Project Runway Season Six in the mail. Which Dave and I have been watching every night and has been seriously cutting into my blogging time. Quality couple time, I tell you. Really.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Little bit more Girl Sewing

I decided that Emma needed a mama made dress. For no reason other than that it made me happy to make it. I started out just wanting to make some bloomers for her to wear under some of the dresses she already has. But once I had the fabric cut, I realized I had enough to make a matching dress. Well, obviously it was all downhill from there.

This is the simple dress from Lotta Jansdotter's Simple Sewing for Baby. I shortened the pattern about 3 inches, since she's little, and started sewing. I decided that this yellow was going to be too busy and yet not busy enough by iteself, and I happened to have the pink floral sitting there for another project. I realized that it would match, sort of, and add some interest to the dress. But when I laid it on top of the fabric, I realized I needed something else to make it pop.

So I pulled out this magenta fabric, and once I had finished the applique, I decided that the magenta needed to re-appear. I decided to reverse the bias binding so that it was on the outside of the arms instead of tucked inside the arms. I had originally planned to do the same on the neck, but once I had the arms on, I thought that would be too much magenta, so I put the binding on the neck properly, and I think the bit of magenta peeking out is just right.

I think it looks adorable, Emma has had many compliments on it, and she loves it because it is so comfortable and easy to move in. So everyone is happy. And I am definitely sensing a new sewing addiction coming on . . .

Sunday, June 06, 2010

Emma's Quilt update

So, in the end I decided that the magentas were too busy and not matching enough with the front of the quilt. There is so much going on in all the lovely blocks in the front that I didn't want to take away from it. I'm sure Emma has years of magenta sewing requests ahead of her, so I'm not too worried. Instead, I opted for using big cuts of three fabrics:

The green is my favorite print from the Lantern Bloom collection, and this is the only metre I have. The purple is by one of my favorite designers, Tina Givens, and I can't remember the name of the collection. I actually ordered this piece to make a purple, tuquoise and green picnic quilt, but I loved this fabric so much I opted to keep it instead. The pink butterflies are from MoMo's Wonderland. I have a few half yard cream cuts, and this is one of my favorites. Anyway, it is still bright and colourful, but it works better.

I had a few thoughts about quilting this. First I thought I was going to follow some of the squares in each block, but so many of them are wonky (at my request) or pieced out of lots of lovely little bits, that I decided against it. Then I was going to machine quilt it in straight, narrow lines, but again, I didn't want to take away from what's already there. So I've opted to hand quilt it -- my second attempt ever. I tried it for part of this quilt way back in my early quilting days, but it took a long time to hand quilt around all those fish, so I haven't tried again since.
I chose this nice, bright blue thread. This colour looks great on Emma, and it really pops against the oranges and pinks in this quilt, which I think is fun. So far the hand quilting is half-done. I'm quilting this to Victorian-themed movies. Last night was Alice in Wonderland, tonight (or possibly tomorrow night) is The Young Victoria.

Speaking of which, why is Victorian England so cool all of a sudden? Not only those two movies, but also Sherlock Holmes this year in the movies, plus Steampunks, and all those ruffles and high necklines drifting around . . . I wonder what is resonating with people about Victorian England? A return to propriety? A fun era to make films about subverting authority and structure? Cool fingerless gloves? The last era where men looked really dapper? A flowering of arts and technology? Is Victorian England pre- or post-industrial (I can't remember)? What do you think?