Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Have Yourself a Merry Christmas!

I am working right up to Dec. 23, and then travelling to Cambridge the same day (to a wireless free house). So, I think I am wrapping up my blog until the new year.

Hope you all have a lovely Christmas / Hanukkah / Id / Winter Break! Blessings on you whether you travel or stay home, spend Christmas with just a few people or the entire extended family. See you soon!


Friday, December 16, 2011

This moment . . .

{this moment} - A Friday ritual. A single photo - no words - capturing a moment from the week. A simple, special, extraordinary moment. A moment I want to pause, savor and remember.

To see more, go to

Monday, December 12, 2011

So Much to say . . .

This is the best of our attempt at a cute-kids-around-the-Christmas-tree photo

Ack! Have I really not posted since Nov. 19!?!

I guess its been a while because I got a spammy email asking me if I wanted someone to write a cooking column on my craft blog . . . anything that starts with a "I really liked your last post" but then nothing about your last post is definitely spam. And seriously, when is the last time I mentioned cookery on this blog?

In any case, I have 2 yr old birthday crafting and knitting and holiday photo attempts and some (possibly excessive) stashing and Christmas preparing to show you. But not right now.

I must say that this working and parenting simultaneously thing is kicking my butt. Sorry, bloggy friends that you are the ones to suffer.

I do love this space, though. Don't give up on me yet!

Saturday, November 19, 2011

"I Have Heard The Mermaids Calling Each to Each . . . "

so goes a line from one of my favorite poems, "The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock" (in which J. Alfred never actually gets up the courage to mention love, since "there will be time, there will be time"). I love how TS Eliot layers images to create atmosphere and feeling in his poetry - I think if he'd been born 50 years later he probably would have been a film director instead of a poet. In any case, that line has always stuck with me through the making of this quilt. I wanted it to, partially, look like the mermaids were swimming through the layers of coral and bubbles and seaweed, playing a game or calling to one another as they swam.
As I sewed this together and started quilting it, I realized that the front is not really water coloured at all. But it does resemble the sunset reflecting on tide pools and sand at low tide. So I decided that the less erudite name for this quilt was the "Sand and Sea quilt". Imagine exploring tide pools on a December day when the tide is out at sunset. And then later, of course, when the tide comes in . . .
. . . all that remains is the watery surface of the ocean. Were the mermaids real or a dream? Who can tell?

Okay, done waxing poetical on you. As you may remember, if you are a regular around here, I put the front of this quilt together improvisationally. Since it had all warm colours, I decided to put cool, purple - blue tones on the back only. No red, no yellow or green -y blues allowed. This required picking up three fat quarters at the local fabric store, but otherwise the back came from my stash. A lot of these prints were ones I had been loathe to use because the patterns were so big, so I'm happy to have them displayed in all their glory on the back of the quilt. The most fun thing about this quilt is having it all wrapped around you and seeing both sides like this:
You can't really see the quilting, as I finished binding it the same day our washing machine broke, so I haven't washed it yet. (Although you can get the idea if you peek up at the photo of the back) I started by quilting it in random horizontal lines, but they ended up being really far apart. By the time I was done that I had thought of the sunset - tide pool connotations, so I decided to follow the lines like the ripples left in the sand by the waves. Hard to explain - maybe I'll show you once its washed.
It is really long and skinny, but I went by Jane Brockett's theory that sometimes a quilt is done when you run out of fabric. I thought about putting borders along the sides to make it wider, but in the end, everything I had in my stash that worked colour-wise made it look busier, so I called it done. Emma used this as her snuggle quilt on our way to Cambridge last month, so she has claimed this quilt. She calls it "boo quit" (blue quilt) which I suppose is as good a description as any.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Not a Handmade Christmas this Year . . .

I'm feeling a little bummed out this year. I'm so busy with work and family that I don't think its going to be a Handmade Holiday this year. I love to make people gifts - it is one of my favorite things to do is sew for my friends and family. But right now I'm really trying to just focus on getting enough sleep, being well prepared for my classes, and keeping my house and family sane. For the next month, Dave has papers due, so we have put the kids in daycare full time. This should, theoretically give me more time, but I have also picked up an extra class at school, so I am almost working full time. It means that when the kids are home we like to focus on spending time with them, and that they are staying up later thanks to long afternoon naps every day. So, sewing and crafting are taking a back seat to keeping us all sane. Sigh.

Ah well, I do like teaching. It brings out a different side of my personality. I can be loud and use my slightly cutting wit (much more effective on teenagers than it is on 5 year olds) and invent clever assignments for the students. But it doesn't give me time to focus on the more contemplative, reflective, artistic side of my personality. Well, I can't do everything all the time, can I?

I suppose not. Hope you're all having a fun November. We're supposed to get our first snow tonight!

Wednesday, November 02, 2011

Oh, October, how I love you.

I really do love October. Not only is there all the beauty of leaves and the fun of warm weather clothes, but there is my birthday and Halloween. This year Dave was very, very sweet and threw me a surprise party with 15 adults and about 15 kids, all crammed happily into our little house. He managed to get everyone into the house with food and convince them to clean the house in under an hour. Impressive, no?

Here is me, with my mouth open (as always - that's why you never see photos of me - I'm always talking in them) chatting with some of my friends. I didn't have anyone's permission to post photos on the internet, so I figured this was pretty unclear of everyone else.
This past weekend we went to visit the cousins in Ontario. They had a LOT of fun, and both the drives were pretty decent. Here we are at "Crossroads" - the buffet resteraunt Grandma and Grandpa love to take us to (I remember going to it when I came out to meet Dave's parents when we were newly engaged).
The other great thin about visiting the cousins is the space - Dave's brother has a big house (compared to ours) and about an acre of yard that back onto a neighbouring farmer's woodlot. He's been given permission to make paths through the woods, so its a really fun place to play. The kids could be loud, they could run around and they could have a kind of freedom we rarely get in the city. It was great.
Finally, we had Halloween. Here are the finished Jedi costumes. I decided to pick up some brown fabric and make the full Jedi gear. The underneath part is the yellow upolstery fabric I already showed you. The brown is a great basket weave brown cotton gauze that drapes really nicely.
The full costumes were a little too much for me to take on. I spent all my spare time for over a week sewing these, and the house was turned upside down by the time I was done. I've almost go it back in order now.
Emma wore the ancestral cow costume. I don't have blog photos of it, but both Andrew and Aaron have worn this costume for Halloween. Emma went to about half the amount of houses as the boys, as I had to carry her and I'm not that spry right now, but she had fun, anyway.
We went out with two of Andrew's friends - a twin boy and girl. One is in his class this year, and one was in his class last year. Our street is not much for Halloween, being mostly apartment buildings. But one street over and one block south it is Halloween central, as it is all houses and all the kids from the apartment buildings need to trick or treat somewhere. In three blocks (both sides of the street) we had lots of fun and candy for my still quite little ones. There were lots of costumes to look at (both kids and grown ups), decorations everywhere and even a haunted house set up in someone's yard. A super fun time was had by all.

The not so fun part of October has been the appliances break downs. I think I mentioned that our fridge broke down over Thanksgiving weekend? Well, last week, just as we were getting prepared to go away for the weekend, our washing machine broke down. The part Dave thinks we need is on order. Sigh. I was hoping to sew this afternoon, but instead off I go with my four baskets of laundry to hang out at the laundromat. Sigh. Have a great week!

Thursday, October 20, 2011

You Know You Haven't Been Sewing Much When . . .

your 7 year old mentions it. Yesterday, Andrew said, "You sure don't have much time to practice your hobby anymore, Mom."

Yes, its true. First trimester pregnancy plus working plus a husband with two grad school seminars in two weeks plus grabby, non-sleeping toddlers have worn me down.

Fortunately, first trimester is over and I'm starting to regain my energy, the seminars are finished (and papers not yet begun) and we've decided that non-sleeping toddlers are to be rocked to sleep by DADDY. Ah.

First on my list: finish my mermaid quilt.
Just the binding left to go. I plan to sew it on the front today and hand sew it while watching the finale of Project Runway Season 7 (have you seen that one yet, Sharon?).

Second: Jedi robes
I know, its yellow not brown. Trust me, I've heard about it already. But the brown was 19.99/m and this was 3.99/m. Doesn't Yoda have a yellow robe, and Obi Wan at some point? I'm going to finish the robes, and try to find photos of Jedi in beige robes.

Third: a Cheeky block for Kat and finish up Sarah and Molly's Free Peicing Study blocks

Fourth: Quick change trousers in cordory

Also, in case you're wondering how to study Philosophy in a house with 3 small children, here is the solution, as presented by Dave in the midst of preparing a seminar last week:
Yep, that is earplugs worn under noise dampening headphones. That's my hubby, the stylish one in our family. And yes, that is what my table usually looks like . . . sigh. Okay, off to sew before I start tidying the table instead.

Monday, October 10, 2011

5 Things To Be Thankful For

Happy Canadian Thanksgiving, all!

Here are 5 Things I was thankful for today:

5. Sunshine
4. That the Fridge broke down this week BEFORE the weekly big grocery shop.
3. A Clean, Working (knock on wood) Fridge now.
2. A Quiet Thanksgiving with our Immediate Family
1. A New Baby on the way in April.

I know, I said I was done at three . . . but how exactly the "done" was to be accomplished was an item for further discussion for just a little too long . . .

In any case, hope you had a lovely day, with no disasters of any kind.

Smock, smock, smock (and also scarf)

Sometimes it amazes me that Kris and I grew up half way across North America from each other, as we often think of the same "cultural" references. We were born within a month of each other, so that must be why. In any case, she remembered and posted the exact comic I always think of when I hear the word smock. I believe there is actually a whole week of comics about smocks and their value as a symbol of "true" artistry (how I love Calvin and Hobbes).

This is my smock. Its my version of this fantastic tunic which I have been drooling over for several years now. The base fabric is cotton something or another than I picked up at Fabricland a few years ago. It is a little stiff and linen-like, so it works well for this smock. The pockets are a hope valley print and a Free Spirit solid.

The pattern is a very modified Summer Blouse from Weekend Sewing, mashed up with the Simple Dress from simple sewing for Baby. Basically, I loved Emma's little girl on a swing dress so much that I wanted one myself. I loved the shape and the placement of the darts on the Summer Blouse pattern, but I didn't want to construct it the same way as that blouse. So I cut out the front of the Summer Blouse, then cut the back with an extra 1/2 inch on either side. I sewed up the middle, leaving about 5" at the top to make a button closure (this is how it is the same as the Simple Dress - I love the ease of this construction. I accidentally made really thick bias tape, so I decided to let it become a collar on the neck line, and use it as regular bias tape on the arm holes.

See? I was thinking of making it a dress, but I really liked it tunic length, so that's how I hemmed it.

The scarf is from one of Anna Maria Horner's project packs . She sends you the two lengths of fabric and you sew them together. Instant scarf! It was super fun and I love it. At first I thought it was ridiculously long, but actually its a pretty fun length.

So there you have it - smock and scarf. Of course, at Curriculum night I didn't have jeans and my hair was dry, so I looked a little more professional. In any case, somehow I always feel like clothes are cheating, as they come together so fast, so I don't always mention them.

Thursday, October 06, 2011

Reminder to Self: Why I Sew

So, I dont' know if you've noticed, but I've had sewers block lately. Yes, of course I've been busy, and of course I have a million other things to do, but I've also just felt stuck. Like I don't like anything I've made lately and I look at the piles of fabric I really want to use, but never seem to have time to used. Like I have so many ideas swirlng around in my head that I can't decide which one to start on. And by the time I decide, my sewing time is up. Like why should I keep sewing when I never get any comments (or very few, anyway) on Flikr and no one in Montreal ever says, "Oh wow, that's a cool bag / blouse / scarf" because everyone has cool bags / blouses / and scarves that came from one of the many cool boutiques that are everywhere. Like why am I doing this anyway?

Then I have a night like tonight. When I have to get dressed up to do "Curriculum Night" at school, and the best outfit I have is a smock that I've made myself (I love the word smock - have I showed you my smock yet?) and a scarf that I've also sewn myself (have I showed you my voile scarf either? No? Bad blogger. Bad blogger).  Did anyone comment on their awesomeness? Nope. Did I still feel great wearing them? Yes.

And then I phone my friend Barb (for whom I made the mini quilt last week) to say that I won't be at Bible study this week (as I have to talk for 5 min. at Curriculm night) and she tells me how much she loved and appreciated the tiny quilt I made for her. And how her family put it on the very first page in the birthday book they made for her.

Suddenly, Flikr comments and stranger adoration fade away into the background. And I am happy with my little corner of the internet, and my little happy sewing projects that make my home cozy and my friends feel special (not to mention me look cool and artsy on Curriculm Night).

Saturday, October 01, 2011

Tiny Mini for a friend

A friend of mine from church is turning a signifigant age (starting with a 5) soon. She didn't want a big party, but her family wanted to find a way for her friends to honour her none the less. So they sent out an email, asking people to write a few words or make a few images, less than 8X11, that they could compile into a book. I decided this would be a fun opportunity to make her a mini quilt. This is what I came up with on my afternoon off this Thursday. The blocks represent her warmth (teacup), faith (cross), love of the imperfect and whimsical (wonky heart) and hospitality (Montreal houses have flat rooves, although I think this one is a little exaggerated). I hope she likes it.

It was nice and satisfying to do a little project in an afternoon. It made me miss my mini quilt swap days, although I don't have the time to reliably swap right now.

This finished off around 7X7,a nd the backing is the same as the binding -- I simply folded it over and machine bound it, because I was in a hurry. Don't look too close or you'll see where I zig-zagged the folded over corners flat so I wouldn't break my needle.

In other news, October has decided to announce its presence. We woke up to a chilly house (we've only had to turn the heat on for two days so far this year) and a cool, grey day. Happy fall, everyone!

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Reasons Why I Hate Sending My Kids to Daycare

1. They don't sleep at night because they slept too long at nap time.
2. They don't sleep at night because they missed their toys / parents / brother and want to stay up and play.
3. They are sick at least every second month.
4. They are clingy all weekend and every evening, meaning that all my time is taken up with comforting / holding them.
5. I feel like a terrible parent because I don't know things about them anymore or understand them (mostly because they are speaking French).

But, 3 reasons I send them to daycare:
1. My husband is in school, so
2. Someone has to work and
3. Therefore, someone else has to look after my kids.

Now, perhaps if they would sleep and stop being sick and clingy, I could actually not be grumpy and not mind the whole work / daycare thing. Because I really do love my job. A lot. Sigh.

Okay, back to trying to get my sick daughter to sleep for the third hour straight.

Friday, September 23, 2011

Finally some time . . .

I know I've been working part time, but there's been a lot to catch up on (mostly sleep and tidying). I feel like I've kind of caught up, and got over feeling guilty for not doing something "productive" while the kids are at daycare and finished reading "the Amazing Maurice and his Educated Rodents" (Terry Pratchett is one of my weaknesses). Also, I finally got paid enough to buy quilt batting (oh yeah, I guess that would be the real reason). And so I came home after my half day of work today, put a border around this quilt, considered making a second border (and then didn't) and basted this baby.

I never like quilts at this stage, and I'm always uncertain if they're going to come together or not. I'm a little nervous about this one, especially since I used my entire Mendoccino stash on it. Oh well, I'm sure I can find someone to give it to if I don't like it once I'm done.

Happy Weekend.

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Two Smart Things In One Day

Ironically, today I was just emailing to Kris, telling her that I don't post over at Clever Mamas anymore because I feel like I just don't know what I'm doing as a parent. And then, I do two smart things in one day. Score. You want to hear them (of course as soon as I write them down they will never work again, but oh well).

Emma is feeling sick today (although this photo of her falling asleep at the table is from this weekend at the Smith's house). At bed time she just wanted to nurse and nurse, and since she's almost two I'm trying to wean her. I went to get her a cup of water as a substitute, and I realized that I had lemons in the fridge. What is more comforting, and gets rid of yuk quicker than honey and lemon in warm water, I thought? So I put a dab of honey, a squeeze of lemon and some warm tap water in her sippy cup instead of plain water or milk. Two sips, one cough, and she was off to sleep. Why didn't I think of that two children ago, I ask you?
Often, my children really are like this photo: they play together pretty well. Although you must know that the contents of two of those bowls were all over the couch and floor as soon as I turned my back to load the dishwasher.

But sometimes they fight, especially the older two. Often it stays at the "you're a poopy head" "You're a baby" level, which is frustrating enough, but other times it degenerates into physical fights. Right now, Andrew has a much longer reach than Aaron, so he can pin him and win almost every time. Aaron is one of those "Bad attention is better than no attention" kind of kids, so he will bug his brother just to get any attention from him when he hasn't seen him lately (like, for instance, when he's been at school all week).

Lately, because Andrew has a loose tooth and is extra grumpy, he tends to loose his temper and pound on his brother a lot. Like, several times a day a lot. Today I was tired of it, and I needed a new solution. So I decided that I would take one lego guy away every time he lost his temper with Aaron. This worked for a few times, until Aaron figured it out. Well, what is more fun than watching your brother's lego guys get taken away because of you? So Aaron started pestering Andrew.

After I took away the fourth lego guy, I got wise to the deal. So I said, "You know what, I am tired of hearing fights and insults coming from this room. You must play over here by the bed, and you must play over here by the bookshelf. You are not allowed to talk to each other until you have something nice to say. If I hear insults or threats coming from the room, I'm moving someone out of the room."

What do you think happened? Silence for a while. Two boys who really needed a little space from each other but didn't know it playing happily in their own worlds. And about 20 minutes later, their two games meshed into one and they were playing together again. And they played together happily the rest of the day.

So I guess not being able to play with your brother unless you can be nice is the most logical consequence for constant bickering. It just took me a while to work it out.

And here is a cute photo of Emma with the crown Aaron got her for her birthday last year, because he loves dress up, so he wanted her to have some dress up of her very own. He pulled it out of the bottom of her toybox and she had fun wearing it the other day. Awww.

Friday, September 09, 2011

Are you still out there?

Ah, dear readers, was it really Aug 23rd that I last posted here?

Well, yes, it probably was. As I had a job interview that week and was then terribly discouraged that I didn't get the job - it was perfect: English and Drama, 12 min. walk from my house, full time until February.

And so I was plunged into the depths of despair.

And a lot of frantic getting-ready-for-our-new-tenant work of the "Oh, we still didn't paint the bathroom? And we have to finish putting up the ceiling tiles, find a fridge, clean the insulation off the walls and floors, paint the entry way, and clean the window wells and bathroom? What? When is she coming exactly? And the children are still home for another week? Who decided this?

And of course there were 7 duotangs (one yellow, one blue, one green, one grey, one white, one puce and two red - okay, not really puce) to buy and a bunch of other stuff.

And I needed glasses and a doctor's appointment.

And my daughter's immunizations were 6 months behind (ahem).

And then after I got all that done, I got a call from the school I interviewed at. They asked if I would be interested in just teaching the drama half time. Plus supervising homework time. Plus, eventually, being in the "Planning Room" at lunch. And because it was reliable work for 5 months and the subject area I have the most experience teaching and 12 min. walk from my house I thought about it for about 10 min and then said yes. Reliable, close part time work is definitely better than another 5 months of helter-skelter all-over-the-city coming-and-going not-ever-knowing work or full time but far far away work.

And then of course I had to start the next day, because school started in two days.

And Andrew started school.

And we went to Prescott for the weekend.

And, um, other than a half-stitched elephant pocket that Aaron has forgotten he wanted, I haven't sewn all week, so not even any exciting photos to show you. Sorry.

But a job with lots of room around the corners for sewing! And another maybe work-in-progress that is still secret for a few more weeks.

Thanks for sticking with me, y'all. Hope all your back-to-schools and fall time ventures are going well (or Spring time for those of you on the other end of the globe).

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Trimming the crust off my toast . . .

The thing that I hate the most about HST is the trimming. It is super tedious, and I'm always afraid that I will trim one 1/4 inch too small by accident (in fact I think that's because I've done it before . . . )
Never the less, since my sewing machine front cover / plate wiggles and falls off at the slightest breeze, I have difficulty sewing and accurate 1/4 inch seam these days (especially since there is often a toddler on my lap trying to dismantle the machine while I sew). So, I must make these bigger and then trim them all down to size if I want a clean, relatively accurate looking quilt.

This is the "still to do" pile.
I was going to make myself trim the entire stack before I did anything else quilt-y. Then I reminded myself that this is my hobby, and that this quilt is for me, so I have no deadline for it. So I finished about 15 more and put the rest back in the ziploc bag for another day.

Instead I spent the day stitching my mermaid quilt together and I'm presently trying to back it from stash (and convince myself I really don't need to just order 3 more yards of this Innocent Crush print to back it). I'll show you it another day, as my quilt testers were busy all through the process of trying to piece the top, so it needs a good pressing before it is presentable.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Reminder to My Former Self . . .

. . . from Grade 9: I know taking Grade 11 Ancient Civilization in Grade 10 sounds like a lot of fun, but really Mr. Kowkenan is going to skip the middle ages entirely as well as all the fights. Also you'll meet this girl who will ruin your life for the next two and a half years while you think she's your really good friend. Take French instead. Trust me, you might need it some day.

. . . . . from yesterday: I know your new shoes are pretty killer and seem perfect for handing out resumes in. But when you get to all the schools downtown you're just going to want to park your car and walk between the schools. This will not be the best time to break in new shoes. Trust me, walking bare foot with blistered feet on hot pavement covered in who-knows-what in downtown Montreal is not fun. So bring comfortable shoes.

This is what happens when I try to do crafty things during the day . . .

So, there is this fun English Paper Piecing Hex-Along over at Lily's Quilts and I decided to try a few blocks - there are a lot of fun variations on the standard hexagon / star patterns. I'm not good at drawing straight lines, so I decided to just work with the templates she's found (they're listed in the QAL instructions) from the quilt that inspired the whole idea. 

Well, being lazy and, as I said, not very good at drawing straight lines, I decided to take the template sheets down to the local copy shop and have the guy there photocopy them onto card stock for me - thus alleviating the need to copy them onto index cards or cereal boxes. Inevitably when I do that I start with even sized diamonds / hexagons, and then they slowly get more and more warped until they will hardly join together.

So today I was taking a little break and cutting out my templates, when I had a little bit of company decide to do his own project with the hexagons:
 Because who wants to just watch Mom cut out hexagons when you can co-opt the scissors, cut out your own hexagons and make them into a monster (he did the big hexagons - one is ripped in half for the head - and I did the small ones and of course made the arms).
 Do you see the template labels on this side? Fun, no?

Aaron is at that age where he is brimming with ideas, but doesn't yet have the motor skills to make what he can see in his head. Its that glorious age of, "Mom, I want to draw a knight!" "Okay, draw a knight." "NO! I want YOU to draw the knight!"

So you draw the knight, and half way through the four and a half year old bursts into tears because the knight is not RIGHT. It is not precisely the knight he has pictured in his head . . . Sigh.

Apparently the hexagon monster was just right, however. So, now fun sewing to show you, but one contented little boy.

Friday, August 12, 2011

I really want to make this my new banner,.

but blogger keeps telling me that the Flikr url is not a valid address and telling me I need to add an image. Arg, arg, arg! I hate computers sometimes. Ah well, my computer is probably grumpy today because Emma pulled about 6 of the keys off with a spoon handle, so it probably just wants a rest (yes I did figure out how to put them back on).

In any case, anyone know what I'm doing wrong?

Stars and another flower (for Mel this time)

I would love to say that this catches me up on these blocks, but it doesn't. Here's my two blocks for MelSews. I thought I would take a break from the crazy yellow / orange borders on every single block for her and do a few with just simple grey. They make me itch - I want to trim them and add more colour, as I'm not a minimalist (have you noticed?). But I think they are neccesary to balance out the other blocks I sent.
I tried to make it look like there were leaves below the flower. Don't know how successful it is.
And here's my star too:
Next up are a shoofly and then some trickier ones that I've been avoiding: a girl, a gnome, a tree and a house. I don't know why I'm so intimidated by them. I guess there's just such cute-ness potential that I'd hate to make a mess of them instead of making something really great. I"ll have to take a few deep breaths and make the plunge before school starts!

Rail Fence Quilt - finished!

As I've talked about the process of making this quilt quite a lot, I'm going to mostly show you photos (of course mostly, you can't expect me to actually be quiet for a whole post, can you?)
This quilt makes me happy for a few reasons. First: its been sitting in pieces for almost two year nagging me, and I finally pulled it out and just finished it.
Second, I love the quilting I did on it. It pulls the quilt together beautifully (if I do say so myself) and its my first time free motion quilting where the back didn't get all messy.
Third, I love that I had the backing in my stash and its one of my favorite prints and I got to use it large scale.
Fourth, I had forgotten what I made this tiny-ish quilt for, and then once I was finished I remembered it was supposed to be for the stroller. Although I also like to use it to keep my legs warm when I'm sitting on the back patio.
And I love all these prints. Each of them seperately makes me happy. Together they sing me a happy song every time I see this quilt. How much better can it get than that?
Well, lastly, I love this quilt and I actually get to keep it. I mean, don't get me wrong, friends, I love all the quilts I've made for you guys. But I never get to see them or touch them or think, "Damn, I'm good" (though you all know I do just that every time I visit someone with one of my quilts). I'm just happy to have made a quilt for me!

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Spicing Up the Kitchen Swap - Received!

Sometimes, in swaps, you just get super lucky and your partner is amazing. In the Spicing Up the Kitchen swap, there were a lot of really fantastic crafters. As I watched things being made, I kept thinking, "Ooh, maybe that one's for me. Its really great.", only to see them sent to other people. I am used to this, as it usually happens in swaps. This time the swap happened in the middle of the postal strike, so by the time my package arrived, most of the packages had already found a home. As I looked through the swap packages that I knew had not yet found their way to their home, I remember thinking, "Those really awesome oven mitts that would match my kitchen perfectly still haven't landed anywhere. Wouldn't it be awesome if they were for me?"

Guess what I got in the mail when I got home from camp?
This lovely, lovely swap package! Hedigoneaussie made me not only a pair of beautiful patchwork oven mitts, but a cute apron out of one of my favorite fabrics ( I have the teacup print in white and I use tiny bit of it all the time because I love it so much) and a hot pad that contained one of my current favorite blocks - this x and + block. (Speaking of which, you should check out Heidi's photostream to see lots more of these blocks - she is making a really amazing quilt out of them). I was totally wowed by this package.

Here is the other side of the oven mitts and the hot pad. Emma was convinced for a few days that the hot pad was for her, and used it for everything from a doll quilt to a placemat. I had to put it out of sight for a good week before she forgot about it.

I made a slight modification to the oven mitts by adding some ric rac loops to them so they could adorn a little slice of blank wall (some of you may remember it from this post ) close to my oven.
And this is how I use the hot pad to brighten my day first thing in the morning (when a certain toddler hasn't confiscated it):

Isn't it lovely? Sometime the kindness of crafty strangers just bowls me over!

Sunday, August 07, 2011


Are you still there? Still waiting to find out what Jill is doing aside from her much-neglected blog?

Well, mainly I've been tidying and cleaning and straightening and visiting and getting the last hurrah of playing with the kids before summer is over and I have to start convincing principals that they need and English/ Drama / Ethics teacher JUST LIKE ME for that one empty position open at their school (schools open Aug 15, so I only have this next week, really).

Part of the way we've been keeping ourselves afloat this year is by having tenants. Yes, indeed, we are landlords. We have an upper duplex, and a basement suite as well. It just so happens that this month, all our tenants left. Which is okay, because now we can pick tenants that are hopefully more in line with our manner of living (ie - that don't come home at 9pm and listen to music / watch movies in foreign languages until 2am or bring all their buddies home after a rowdy night of clubbing at 4am so they can all swear at each other loudly while I'm trying to sleep). But a lot of work, because none of our tenants left their places very tidy, and they both left stuff, and both places need a fresh coat of paint. Also, the downstairs needs some insulation so that I don't hear our next tenant's music / movies / conversations and MOST IMPORTANTLY, they don't hear my small herd of elephants thumping around the house at 7am.

So, late night painting and cleaning have been in order, thus cutting into my precious and limited blogging time (not to mention the sleeveless tunic that needs one more seam sewn before I can wear it during the heat wave . . . ). And there have also been random people showing up at somewhat random times to look at the suites, often with interesting and slightly improbably stories to tell . . .

But all that is over. We have found two tenants who seem to be good fits (Hooray!). I only have to clean the upstairs kitchen and my list of tasks is done, as the new lady who will be living upstairs wants to do her own painting (double Hooray!). Dave, of course, still has a ceiling / floor to insulate, but he has recruited a friend to do a work exchange, so by the end of the week all the serious and intense landlord-ing should be done for a while. Whew!

Saturday, July 30, 2011

New Quilt Project . . .

I used to try to just have one project on the go at a time, but I think I have four quilts, a tunic and a dress in progress right now. This is going to be a quilt for our bed, which is a king size:
I have been hoarding this fabric since I bought it here , and adding co-ordinates as I found them. In the winter I bought the solids from Anna Maria Horner's shop in a lovely stack, and just recently I started looking for a pattern. At first I was going to just do a random-square-and-rectangle type quilt, but that didn't feel quite right. I wanted something with a little more structure to it. I like how this pattern is simple, but not too simple, will show off the big patterns in the Good Folks prints well, and allow me to play with fabric scale, colour and value.

I bought the two fabrics on the far right just the other day because I needed some more lights (I never have enough calm, neutral fabric . . . I just forget to buy it) and I wanted to pick up some at my local fabric shop. The creamy one has tone-on-tone silhouettes of kids playing and a giant cloud turtle. It is so fun to cut into these giant triangles as you can see the pictures if you look closely.

Before I cut my entire precious stash up I decided to make a test block to see if I liked it.I have only partially sewn this together, and I think I do like it, although I mis-cut the large white triangles that make up the big outer star, and it means my points are all going to be lost in this block. Ah well, it will be my vanity block:

I like how the colours are refreshing and relaxing at the same time. More updates on this quilt as I work on it. If I actually put my mind to it, I think the piecing will be very fast.

During this busy month we've been . . .

Keeping busy at home while Dad was away . . .
building cities in the sandbox after the rain

at the local awesome splash park

playing outside the new pool on the ramp
Then venturing off to Bible Camp to hang out with our friends (nothing like having a beach right there during a heat wave ) . . . .

spending our 25 cents at tuck

got my friends to take this one to show my awesome multi-tasking abilities (notice the half bound quilt on top of the stroller?)

Andrew and Aaron were especially glad to see their friends from church whose parents are volunteering at the camp for four months
oh yeah, and recovering from the stomach flu (I will spare you the gory details of two sick children in a tent - fortunately / unfortunately this was the night Dave showed up back from Italy) . . .
you might be wondering why there are no blankets or sleeping bags in this photo . . . don't ask. Really.
and, of course, setting up a Lego brain surgery lab . . .
I have a finished quilt and an amazing swap package to post about, too, but they deserve their own posts.