Saturday, July 31, 2010

Things I Love (As witnessed by quantity during packing)

Mini Quilts hanging on my shelf after a quick, gentle wash to remove the dust and lint:

Books (in free boxes from the liquor store - every book phile knows that liquor boxes are the best for packing books). These are Dave's and mine, plus a few boxes of the boys' growing collection. I realized that all my books were doubled up on the shelves, which means we're going to need more book cases in our new place.

And of course, fabric. I don't know how I'm going to fit all this in my new, smaller sewing space. In case you can't read the labels: vintage sheets, craft books, embroidery hoops + quilt batting, patterns, clothes for re-purposing
Quilting books, magazines and scraps
My bread box (ie- holder of that little extra bit of my stash), and one of my rulers and assorted odds and ends from the basement:
Scraps: I managed to fit them all in this drawer (um, okay, plus two small boxes -- time for a scrappy quilt - any suggestions?)
And of course my collection of fat quarters, yard cuts, trim, ribbon, buttons, and one bin of clothes fabric (with my voile that I sadly didn't get a chance to sew up into anything this summer, which means I have a derth of summer clothes, because I didn't buy any becuase I was planning to make some and now I can't bear to buy any because its almost August and I hope to be much smaller by next summer, so why spend money on clothes right now?)
Oh yeah, and some big cuts of fabric, my Thread Together quilt in progress, my Dad's ties (planning to make little quilts for my mom, my siblings and me from those), home decor fabric, wool felt, and my precious remaining corduroy, plus a few more clothes to repurpose.
So, no more quilt fabric for me. With the possible exception of a few of these owls and trees -- seriously how amazing is that fabric?

Well, my basement is about an hour away from being completely packed, now I have this next week to work on the upstairs. Let the turning -upside -down - of -the - house begin!

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Starting Young

So, I'm just about finished the last quilt I will sew in this house. It is a baby quilt for a new little girl called Clare. As you can see, my little night owl decided to "help" me baste it so I could get it done on time.

I don't know what it is about girl quilts, but they always seem to be a little more unorthodox than my boy quilts. This one started out with a bunch of bright orange, green and brown fabrics. But I kept looking at it an thinking it wasn't quilt right.

So I would switch out one set of squares for another fabric that I would pull out of my stash. And I kept switching fabrics and cutting more squares, until eventually I only had two of my original fabrics left in there.

So instead of being a cute little baby quilt with giraffes and elephants and owls, I've ended up with a ridiculous quilt featuring birds and tea cups. Because, you know, every baby needs to start in on the caffeine as soon as possible.

Anyway, its still cute, and I love it, even though its not really a typical baby quilt. Actually, I love it so much I really want to keep it. Fortunately I've got enough of that tea cup fabric left to do something else (albeit scrappier) with the remainder.

Some thoughts on packing

We are moving in just over two weeks from today. Crazy, I know. I have hardly anything upstairs packed at all. We have a plan to gradually move things that are packed into the garage so that our house slowly empties, and we can clean rooms that we don't use much up earlier than the rest of the house. In other words, the basement and study and the extra bathroom that houses our recycling until I make time to bag it all up and bring it to the recycling depot (can I tell you how excited I am about curb side recycling pick up? I'm very excited). This should just leave our bedrooms, the kitchen, the living room (ie - toys) and the main bathroom to pack in the last week.

But here's the thing. We have a lot of junk. I don't beleive how much stuff we've accumulate in just 6 years living here. Many wonderful people have given us extra furniture and kids' clothes which we have used well. But we won't need the extra furniture, and we won't need a lot of the stuff I've accumulated from yard sales, and we don't need to drag around three year worth of boys' clothes that don't fit Aaron anymore, and we don't need all our baby gear anymore, and we don't need the mosquito net tent (with no poles) that was given to us, or the old couch from someone else's basement. Our wardrobes won't fit in our new house (which is ok because they're Canadian tire particle board things), so they're going to go, and the boys' drawers were $20 second hand and are falling apart, so they need to be thrown out. And we have a lot of broken cardboard boxes, deflated balls, and decimated plastic bins (thanks, rowdy boys) that we just need to throw out. So I have spent most of my time sorting. What to keep, what to throw away and what to give away? This is what has occupied my time more than how I"m going to get everything packed.

And all that stuff, it has emotional signifigance to me. The reason its still around is because on some level it is sentimental. I think, "But we got that table (with the leaf that doesn't come up anymore and that really needs refinishing and won't fit in our space) in our first apartment in Chilliwack "(never mind that we inherited it from the guy who lived there before us who had died) or "I got that for a great price at a yard sale and painted it myself". Or, "I was planning to make an awesome quilt with all those old clothes one day". Its been a big emotional job getting rid of all this stuff. I feel like I'm shedding skin or losing weight or something. It needs to go, but boy is it a hard process.

Fortunately, I'm almost done that part. I need Dave to borrow a truck so we can make a first big trip to the Salvation Army and a first big trip to the dump. Then I will be able to get down to the actual putting-things-in-boxes stage of packing. Which will be much easier and faster, I hope. Because I'm starting to run out of time.

Saturday, July 24, 2010

I think these speak for themselves . . .

What to do, what to do . . .

So, I notice that its been a year since I blogged about my hair. That would be because I was so grumpy after my last hair cut -- which I hated -- I was at an impasse. I was tired of my hair dresser, and I wanted to grow my hair out for a while. Since I'm too paranoid to see anyone else, I've just let it grow and grow for the last year. And lately I've been too busy to really take care of it (ie -- detangle it and brush it every day). I've just been putting it in braids all the time. I get time to put some detangler in it right after my shower and brush it, then it goes in a braid, so it doesn't get pulled all day. The next day, I either cover the messy top of my braid or take the one braid out and put it in two braids. Seriously, people, its come to this. My hair is becoming like an annoying pet that I can no longer care for.

Also, I'm probably going back to work in a month and a half, and I need to do interviews and such, so I need hair that actually looks professional, not crazy. This means either keeping lot of the length and getting bangs and layers (and finding someone who is not going to just give me a "Friends" haircut which is totally outdated and will not do in a bigger city) or cutting everything off and getting some version of the default haircut but slightly shorter. About this length:

This would leave my hair free to be pulled all day, but it would mean cute hats and scarves when off work, and easy wash - brush - and go styling when I was working. And it would mean I would actually have to go to the hairdressers once every two months. But I think I could probably fit that in if I really tried.

Oh hair, if only I took the time to blow dry and style you . . . life would be so much less (more?) complicated.

ps- if you're wondering, yes that is a Schoolhouse Tunic . It is a super great pattern. No, I haven't shown it to y'all here because mine turned out poofy . . . I think because I used a linen / rayon blend that had too much body. Either that or I have too much body . .. I think I shall continue to blame it on the fabric.

pps - Does anyone else think its hilarious and oh-so-Jillish that in my "default haircut" post it didn't occur to me to clean the mirror? I do make myself laugh.

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Twin Quilts

One of our oldest friends -- a friend of mine from band and ISCF in highschool -- has nobly kept in touch with us for years and years. He is in Fort McMurray now, and has a lovely wife, two older boys and recently . . . identical twin boys!
I decided that identical twins don't want identical quilts. The funny thing about twins is that they are genetically identical, but they are never the same.

I think it is because our personalities are this amazing mix between our biological make up and our soul. So, identical twin have one part the same, and one part different. With that in mind, I made these quilts sort of the same, but not.

Most of the fabric is from "On a Whim 2", along with some co-ordinates that came in a couple of baby quilt kits. I bought the dino fabric and the blue and yellow dots separately when I thought I had more time to make the quilts, and had a more complex plan. The first quilt is a little darker and possibly more expressive.

The other is a little quieter, and possibly more reflective in nature. It also has a David Walker fat quarter I had drifting around.

Two little play quilts for two little babies. The backings (as you can see above) are tone on tone birds from the On a Whim collection in two different colour ways. The darker quilt has a light beige, while the lighter quilt has a dark brown for contrast. I was in a hurry, so they are pillowcase flipped and then quilted in straight lines. Because they were already bound, this created a little bit of puckering at the bottom. Next time I think I will do what I did here and make the quilt the right size to just wrap the backing over and bind it on the front.

Anyway, they ended up at about 32" x 44", a nice little play quilt size. I think they're pretty happy and cute. I really do love this simple quilt layout -- these are my third and fourth quilt using this simple plan, and I think I'll be using it again in the future. It is such a nice way to display cute novelty prints and play with fabric.

Moments to Cherish

We got they boys new sleeping bags today. Of course, they had to try them out the instant they saw them, so they listened to their afternoon stories in the living room, in the sleeping bags. I told them "no snack in the living room", as this morning Aaron had taken strawberries into the living room and rather than putting the tops in a bowl, he had wrapped them up in a quilt (reminder to self: the next couch quilt needs to have less white). I was trying to finally get the dishes washed, and so I pretended not to notice when he snuck into the kitchen and grabbed the box of Corn Flakes. But when I peeked around the corner and saw this, I just had to take a photo:

I was taking photos of Emma making a mess of her food in typical baby fashion when Andrew asked if he could use the camera. He said, "I want to take a picture of you, Mom, because you're so beautiful".
As you can see, I'm actually rather tired and in need of a haircut, but it was sweet none the less.
We were eating chips and guacamole for an afternoon snack, and Andrew heard that Dave was on his way home to barbeque. He put together this "platter" for Dave to snack on -- a giant pile of ham (Andrew loves ham), the guacamole we had been eating earlier (Dave hates it, but I love it) and the crazy PC chips Dave brought home earlier (General Pao Chicken or some such silliness).
Emma is a late night kind of girl. She's a night owl, just like her mama. She loves to be up until midnight, and sleep until 10 or so. I love the quiet, just us time we get to have late at night. Often she's not even fussy; she just wants to play when there's no one tugging on her legs or sticking things on her head at random intervals.

It is sweet to watch her as she practices crawling, standing, sitting, cruising, sitting, crawling, sitting, grabbing, shaking, sucking, throwing, crawling . . . in that very deliberate way babies have.
Its usually cute until about 11:30. Then I start wearing thin . . .

Saturday, July 10, 2010


I have really been absent from this place lately, haven't I? I've made a few things, but I don't have the images here -- they're on my camera in Montreal. As for doing things, well, I just had to buzz out to Montreal and write an English test and check out a few things, and Dave is out there now finding us a house, and we've been trying to pack and clear stuff out a little at a time in between taking care of all the kids, plus I had my two end of the year youth group things, and a summer cold has been running through the family (Aaron's got a bad sinus infection at the moment and we're going to have to visit the doctor on Monday for some antibiotics if things don't clear up by then). Its been a couple of months where you think about something that seems like it happened forever ago and then realize it was only last week.

Anyway, yes, I am still here, but I rarely have time to type -- someone is generally on my lap or in my arms or my hands are full of things to fold, pack, cook or clean. Its just one of those stages in life, I guess. When I get free arms to type (right now I have had two out of three of the littles on my lap in rotation, and the only reason the third one hasn't taken a turn is because she's sleeping) I shall, I promise, friends.