Sunday, March 27, 2011

Trying to sew a spring blouse . . .

and you would not beleive how complicated this is.
I want to use a pattern I already have, something simple and quick. So I decided to use the summer blouse pattern from Weekend Sewing. So I copied the pattern off the pattern sheet and made a few adjustments.

Well, everyone, including Heather Ross, the designer, says you need to make a muslin of this baby and alter it before you make it out of nice fabric. So I did (see the beige fabric? that's my muslin). So I made a muslin, which went quite quickly because I didn't finish everything. Then I adjusted my traced pattern accordingly and put it away on my shelf.

Last night I thought I had time to cut out my fabric. So I ironed my fabric and lay it out on the floor only to discover that my traced pattern pieces had gone missing.
By the time I searched the living room and looked behind all my stacks of fabric and discovered it was missing and decided I was going to have to deconstruct my muslin to re-trace the pattern alterations I had made, the boys were out of the bathtub and running across my fabric, the baby was waking up from her usual late night nap and my sewing time was over.

And that is the way it goes around here these days, and this is the state of my spring blouse.


Saturday, March 26, 2011

Emma got her first set of barrettes the other day. Aaron was kind enough to open the ENTIRE package for her, so she then insisted on putting every. single. barrette. in her hair. She was a little butterfly head.

Some days I wonder if this girly girl is really my child.
But she's cute, so I think I"ll keep her.
I finished my sewing machine cover, finally. I had thoughts of doing some fancy-smancy quilting around different sections of the cover, but I'm feeling  a little burnt out, so I just straight line quilted it instead, then machine stitched the binding on to make it go fast.
I think it looks cute anyhow. It makes me happy to have it done and on the sewing machine.
Aaron tried to pull it off and use it for something, and said, "Hey, how come this thing doesn't come off?" Um, so you can't mess with my sewing machine anymore, son.
These are some new fabrics I picked up from to be part of Emma's big girl quilt. But then I decided that I need to make these into a little drag-around quilt for Emma instead. I saved out some yellow / orange ones to go in her big girl quilt, and pulled a few from my stash to co-ordinate with these purple / red / pink fabrics. These are so sweet. The pixies are lovely and whimsical, and both the mushroom and dandilion prints are so detailed and subtly coloured. I really love this collection.
  When I first got them out of the wash and was folding them, I was trying to distract Emma while I did something else, so I gave her the stack and told her they were "Emma's fabric". She had so much fun unfolding them and laying them out. Then she would lie her head down on the pile she had made, put her head up again, pick them all up and then lay them out in a different order. I think she might have seen Mom play with fabric a time or two . . .

And just to be fair to all my children, here is Andrew. He is definitely moving into the "real boy" stage now. Silly humour, expansive energy, and random teeth coming in and out of his mouth are all signs of a new stage in life. Then again, the energy is nothing new, is it?

Thursday, March 24, 2011

So Much to think about . . .

Hello, friends. Sorry I haven't been in this space much lately. There are several reasons for that:

1. My brain still hurts from making my doll quilt. I put so much time and energy and care into that thing, and so my crafty batteries need to be recharged a bit before I can produce anything else ( a laptop cover, red cordoroy messenger bag and a couple of voile blouses are stewing next).

2. We've all been sick. Again / still. I think I need to start carrying hand sanitizer when I substitute and make the kids wash their hands whenever we get home from anywhere. I have never been this sick this often in a winter. It must the kids in daycare / me substitute teaching in all different schools (mostly for people who are, you guessed it, sick) catching up with me.

3. I have been getting work. I have actually had to turn down jobs because, well, we've all been sick. And for some reason Andrew's school has about a hundred pedagogical days in March, and I've chosen to take those to spend with him. But they're different than the days at the school board where I'm working, so I keep getting called in on those days.

4. I am still / again trying to sort out my feelings and the practicalities of this whole work / day care / Dave's school balance. I hate the fact that my baby didn't go to daycare today because she was sick and she had a tantrum because she didn't want to be with me. I hate that my 4 year old understands what she's saying beter than I do and that she refuses to eat any solid food for me right now, because she just wants to nurse when I'm around. I hate that our household rhythm is always in disarray because my work is so irregular and that we forgot to discuss who was picking my son up from the bus and he spend an hour at the neighbour's house last week because neither of us showed up at the bus stop.

5. I am trying to spend less time on the computer and more time with my kids when I have it, because I have less time with them.

6. I keep forgetting to bring my camera / running out of batteries / having a full memory card lately. The Hetkes were here and we wandered around Old Montreal and I forgot my camera. What is the world coming to?

7. I am considering how this blog is going to change, and if it is going to continue, and if it does what the content is going to be as I go through this life change that is moving to Montreal and going back to work and changing what we all do and how we do it.

Please bear with me. Later this week I should have some doll quilt photos and also I'm almost finished my sewing machine cover, which is pretty colourful and crazy, but I love it.

Also, I must say, I loved this conversation with my husband the other day:

Me: What do you think of a red corduroy messenger bag? Is that to crazy?

Dave: Who are you making it for?

Me: Me.

Dave: Oh, in that case, nothing is too crazy.

I love how my husband has grown to love my creativity over the years.

Friday, March 11, 2011

This moment

16 months and she already stands like me. This is what terrifies me about having a girl . . .

For more moments, head on over to soulemama .

Wednesday, March 09, 2011

First Montreal Thrift Find!

So, I went to the Renaisance Thrift store just down from my neighborhood. There was a lot of general thrift store randomness, but also this pretty pillowcase and these two mugs.
I am in love with this one.
The bottoms says "Handpainted Silkscreen". What a fun little painting.
This little cup winged its way from Norway. I wish I knew the story behind it. In any case, it is lovely, and I shall enjoy it until such time as it is tragically smashed to pieces on my tile floor. I wish I could say making it a "mommy only" cup would lengthen its lifespan, but I'm just as bad as the kids.

Saturday, March 05, 2011

Doll Quilt Sqap 10 update

Well, I am soldiering away on my Doll Quilt. I realized that I haven't showed you all what I've been up to in a while, I've just been posting over on Flikr. So, I have now pieced it into three strips -- the bottom, and two rows of cups. The next bit is to decide what colour to make the shelves:

I thought grey or black, but I've tried both, and they are too dark. They cut up the top of the composition too much, and stop your eye from moving around the quilt. So this is my new idea: Yellow.
I realize that in Jill land there can never be too much yellow or orange or brown, and that this is not the case in most people's worlds, but in this case I think its legitimate. It makes the "shelves" visible, but not the center of attention.

In any case, I figure that anyone with whitewashed walls like that, and such an ecclectic selection of mugs is probably decorating in a Skandinavian style, and so they want the white walls with light pine wood effect. Right?

I'm probably going to stitch it together (for the third time) with the top yellow for the shelves, and then start working on the cat.

Friday, March 04, 2011

Giant Battle Buddies

You know the guys we were working on earlier? Well, Andrew and I went to Fabricville (the French Canadian version of Fabricland, but with much better selection and fabric) and bought a giant bag of stuffing so we could finish them up. Here they are, all stuffed and stitched. Aaron picked his fabric and helped stuff the arms of his, while Andrew cut out his guy and ran the arms and the body through the sewing machine.
These are, of course, for snuggling with and hugging. At least, that's what we like to pretend.
We all know that they're real purpose is to be a substitute for beating on your brother. Here's a few action shots of what these battle buddies will really be used for:

After giving the Battle Buddy a test drive, it was time to sew a face on. Aaron is at daycare, so Andrew and I just did his. Andrew cut out the felt for the face, and threaded one of his trusty needles:
Here are the other three. The one Andrew is threading is Larry. These three are Moe, Bob and Unicorn. Since the needles each get tired after about 6 stitches, they are in heavy rotation.

And here is the finished guy. You can see that Andrew also got tired after stitching the bottom right corner of the face. He was going for a clone soldier face, although I think it looks kind of like a primitive mask of some kind.With classic 6-year-old-boy humour, this guy's name is Power Blood Man. And yes, he does have an arrow sticking through his head.
Unlike most kids, who are bored by this point on Spring Break, Andrew has just got going. At present he's doing science experiments, mixing common household items together to find out which ones explode . . . , all the while muttering little phrases to himself in French. Classic, I tell you.

Thursday, March 03, 2011

When things get stressful and busy I find that I need something creative to keep me grounded. Last night, I decided that I should squeeze in a little sewing, even though it was really late. I made my next two blocks for sarah and molly's free peicing study.

Since it was February, sarah decided to show us how to make hearts. Here's mine:

And here's the one for my partner:
I am having so much fun with these. Every time I make one of these blocks they just make my heart sing. I really find the end products satisfying, and I"m so happy to be working with these colours. They gray, yellow and oranges for Mel are fun to play with, and the really saturated blues, purples and pinks with splashes of green just cheer and soothe me at the same time. I can't wait to finish these so I can get this quilt together. If you pop over to the flikr group you can see all the other fun blocks, including Mel's amazing blocks for me.

Wednesday, March 02, 2011

Hi there!

Just wanted to give a big shout out to my new followers. Hi! Nice to meet you all. Thanks for tagging along for the ride, and for all the comments and little notes you've dropped me. You guys are great (as are my old Followers, of course).
Hello!In any case, Hi!

Spring Break!

Sorry to be so absent lately! We were all sick, then I actually got a few days of teaching work last week, and now we're on Spring Break.

My oldest son, Andrew, is the most extroverted of all my kids. He likes to get out and about and do things every day, so having him home for a week is a full time job.

On Saturday we went skating. We're really excited because Andrew has started skating by himself as of a week or so ago:

We got him new skates, which means Aaron inherited the old skates. Saturday was his first day, so he was mostly trying to learn to balance:
We have also been making giant softies. They're inspired by the giant creatures Lotta Jansdotter makes in Simple Sewing for Baby. We got the arms sewn and stuffed, but then ran out of stuffing:
On Monday it snowed again and it was wet, heavy snow. Andrew was keen to go out and start to build a snow wall:
Emma and Aaron had "enforced outside fun" because I thought they needed the fresh air. You can see Emma was thrilled:
Aaron was also super excited to be there. He cheered up when I came out and helped him build a snowman, but other than that he was pretty grumpy.
Yesterday we went over to visit some friends from church. They live upstairs in a smallish space (considering there are four girls and their dad's art studio in their appartment), so there was a lot of shushing. Other than that it was a lot of fun.

Today Aaron and Emma were at daycare, so Andrew and I went for an adventure on the Metro. I wish I had brought my camera, but as usual I forgot. The thing about the Montreal metro is that it connects a bunch of other underground tunnels that run throughout the downtown core. Mostly the link up malls and office buildings, but we found a cool glass enclosed square, and we were also lucky to be wandering around during a giant art exibit. All through the tunnels and in the buildings they lead to, there are art installations set up right now. Everything from huge photographs, to video installations on big flat screens, to plants hanging in the middle of a subway tunnel (it will be interesting to find out what happens to those by the end of the two weeks), to giant woven sculptural tapestries attatched to the wall. It was really fun, because there are orange signs all over the floor with arrows pointing to the next exibit. Andrew wore out after about an hour, so we didn't get through all 6 km of tunnels, but what we saw was really interesting.