Sunday, March 1, 2009


Since I still consider myself a relative newbie to sewing I hadn't tried out a swap of any kind yet. That is until this last month. I joined two swaps in February: one hosted by Darci over at Stitches and Scissors where we swapped fat quarters that made us feel like spring, and the other was hosted by Sew Mama Sew for their Fat Quarter month where we were put into groups with four others and swapped some more FQ's. I had the hardest time figuring out which fabric to send since I didn't want to send anything I wouldn't love to get but didn't want to part with so much of my stash. After about 2 weeks of agonizing over my choices I finally decided on a nice selection to send out. It includes some vintage Amy Butler, Cake Rock Beach and a few other gems I picked up in Toronto over Christmas. I can only hope that the ladies that receive them are as excited about them as I am. I already received one of my fat quarters and it's a great swatch of Alexander Henry, so that was very exciting! I can't wait to see what else I'll get!

Monday, February 23, 2009

a quick and easy clutch

This weekend I decided to whip up a little clutch for a friends birthday. It's the Artsy Clutch pattern from Bend the Rules Sewing by Amy Karol. The instructions were clear and easy to follow and I still managed to screw it up about 4 times before I got it right! Note to self: don't sew when tired and feeling rushed.

I love the end result though. I used Heather Bailey's Zag Stripe in Lime from her Pop Garden collection, and a coordinating forrest green solid for the lining. The pattern called for a cotton fleece between the layers, but I used a piece of thin cotton canvas from Ikea, and it worked really well. Not too bulky, and just enough stiffness.

For the button(s), I went digging in my button jar and found an oversized plain white button that I combined with a smaller peralised one and used some green wool thread from a button packaged attached to a sweater I purchased years ago.

It's a small triumph for me, since I tend to be so terribly at reading patterns (even great, easy ones like the Artsy Clutch!) but I managed to finish this little bag to my satisfaction and to the satisfaction of my friend Amanda who received it for her birthday.

Right now I am also working on a new purse to replace the one I have been using since August and is starting to look really sad. I found a link for a cute and easy shoulder bag on Tiny Happy that I love and so far I've only messed it up twice and had to rip it apart to re-stitch it. Once again, this is no fault of the pattern author, just my inability to read directions clearly. I'll post pictures as soon as it is done.

Saturday, February 14, 2009

almost time for some time off

In Alberta, Monday is Family Day, and that mean we all get some well deserved time off! I remember when I moved here from Ontario four and a half years ago, I had never heard of Family Day, but all I could think was "YES! A long weekend in February!" The truth is, it is so nice to have a day off to spend with my husband and relax a little from our hectic schedules. Of course, it will also be nice to get a little sewing done.

To make up for the fact that I could actually have had a nice, relaxing long weekend, I apparently decided to fill up my weekend until Monday. Last night and all day today I have been running tech for a big conference that is renting our church building. It's good pay, and it's fun, but it's certainly tiring. Tomorrow we have our regular Sunday which usually starts around 6am and ends around 3pm, but after that it's all relaxation all the time!

All this is to say, I'll post more after Monday when I've had some time to relax and time to create. Peace.

Thursday, February 5, 2009

all you need is love

So in the process of avoiding the quilt I am working on due to a large mistake I don't want to rip out, I've been coming up with smaller things to make that I can finish in just a few hours. Items like rice heating packs, little decorative pillows and a cute recipe card holder have been on my list recently, and I have to say it's nice to be able to get something done and feel accomplished. I've also taken on a few alteration projects for friends in an attempt to improve my clothes sewing skills. Right now on the WIP list I have 3 dress shirts that need to have their sleeves shortened, 2 pairs of pants that need to be hemmed, two sound board covers to sew elastic into so they don't rip being stretched over the boards and two denim laundry bags to sew together. I'm actually not the biggest fan of that kind of sewing, but it's a good skill for me to practice, and it's a nice thing to do to help out some friends.

Last night when I came home, I looked around and realized that our house was a disaster. But I could not fathom getting the whole house tidy in one night, so I decided to focus on one room at a time, and move on as I felt I had the energy. I started with the bedroom which has basically been in a constant state of messiness since we moved in (7 months ago!) but I can't figure out what to do with all the odds and ends that are being stored in there. I think this weekend calls for a major overhaul of the room and all the junk in it.

In the meantime, I was able to get ALL 3 loads of laundry done, remake the bed, clear off the dresser and my side table (Joel doesn't keep anything on his), and take a few pictures of my new decorative pillow on the bed. For a rental, our bedroom doesn't look half bad. The walls are a neutral (somewhat grimy) beige, with white trim, and there is a huge window on the front wall with a smaller one on the side. For now, I will just show you my side of the room which looks very clean and put together.

The little stuffed horse on the bed is my buddy Bruce. No matter how old I get or how "sophisticated" my style may become, he will always be on the bed. Period.

There's the pillow! It's my first attempt at embroidery, and I have to say, I think it turned out pretty well! I didn't have a hoop, so it got a little wonky near the end, and the pillow is a little lumpy because the stuffing isn't great quality, but I'm very happy with my Love Pillow, and am definitely going to try out some more embroidery. I also picked up a book on contemporary crewel work, so that should be a lot of fun.

Later this week I'll post some more pictures of the other little things I've been making. Plus, maybe I'll make a decision about the quilt. Let me ask...if you were quilting a relatively large lap quilt, and realized that the size of the quilting wasn't even, would you rip it ALL out or would you live with it? I don't know if anyone other an my family reads this blog, so if you do, speak up and let me know what you think! I'd appreciate some wisdom on this one.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

quilting, quilting, scrubs, quilting

Managing bulk is not always fun, but so far, I am absolutely loving my quilt. And the best part is I'm actually going to get to keep it! Yay!

Check out the back! I love the hot pink, even though I'm usually not a pink person. The brushed cotton is great because it's soft like flannel but not as thick, and I do enjoy the pieced strip about 2/3 of the way up. It's my first (very small) attempt at improvisational piecing.

I'd really like to have it all finished by the end of the weekend, but it looks like it's shaping up to be a pretty busy one, so maybe the end of next weekend is a more reasonable goal. I have trouble quilting for too long, partially because I get distracted by Scrubs on the tv, and partially because it hurts my wrists, but I make a goal to finish a whole bobbin every time I sit down and so far it's working. I figure two more bobbins and I can move onto the binding!

Saturday, January 17, 2009

more fabric

As promised, here are some pictures of the giant pile of fabric I bought from The Workroom in Toronto. Lots of great stuff that is pretty much impossible to find in Calgary. Heather Ross, Amy Butler, Denyse Schmidt, the list goes on. And although I generally don't like using patterns, I did pick up the Amy Butler "Birdy Sling" pattern, and the one for Denyse Schmidt's "Single Girl" quilt. Oh how happy it has all made me!

I've already chosen 3 of the fat quarters to be in the quilt top that I posted earlier. Plus I added a solid purple and a great polka dot I found at My Sewing Room here in the city. The quilt is still sitting, waiting to be finished, but I think today is the day. I have some errands to run and some cleaning and tidying up to do, and then I think the quilt and I will sit down in front of Scrubs for some quality time together. Maybe we'll invite hubby to join us.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

new fabric/new project

This is what came in the mail yesterday!

Cake Rock Beach
And some Net of Jewels. Both by Joelle Hoverson.
And this is the new project. The top is done and I'm working on piecing the back. Then, on to the quilting!

Thursday, January 8, 2009

what i did on my christmas vacation

Well, it's long overdue, but I finally have some time to post on my blog. Hubby and I took two and a half weeks off of work over Christmas and decided to make the trek all the way from Calgary, Alberta to Burlington, Ontario. Approximately 3,500 kilometers each way! 39 hours and lots of repeated music (silly us, we only brought 3 Cd's and hadn't loaded up our iPhones yet), we made it to my Mom's house.

The holidays were a blur to say the least. Lots of visiting with family and friends, driving all over Ontario, ripping the upstairs bathroom at Mom's house to pieces and putting it (almost) back together, lots of sewing, playing DS games, and endless hours in the car. It was a great trip! Definitely one of those "big memories" that we will tell tales of to our children some day.

This is a picture of my Mom's gigantic Christmas tree. Even though all of her kids and step kids are grown up and have moved out of the house, she hasn't lost her love of whimsy (or gift giving!) Notice all the stuffed animals piled on the chair and next to the couch. Okay, I admit it...most of them are mine!

Christmas morning was a blast. My Step Dad made some scrumptious healthy pancakes and fruit and we all feasted together. Lots of great presents were shared, and a few that were ridiculous but amazing!

One of the sewing projects I worked on over the holidays (Christmas Eve to be exact) were these pillows for my Step Sister and her husband. (Rick & Heather) I especially love the ampersand pillow made from a gorgeous pale grey flannel with a raw edge applique of some simple Kona Cotton in snow. I was pretty happy with these little guys and had they been mine and Hubby's initials, I might have just kept them, but no such luck. I was also my first time trying out a mitred edge for the border and it (mostly) worked out okay.

The other big sewing project I worked on, other than hemming several pairs of new jeans and fixing button holes, was a Christmas quilt for my Mother-in-Law. I wanted to post about it before since I've been working on it since about October, but I wasn't sure if she reads this and didn't want to spoil the surprise. I'll post pics of the quilt as soon so I get them from my Mom. Thanks to my friend Jennifer for a pile of Merry & Bright fabric...or was it Holly Jolly? Anyways, it was great!

While in Ontario, we did one or two relaxing "vacationy" things. This included watching all three extended editions of Lord of the Rings, visiting the Hockey Hall of Fame (pictures to come), going to bed at 11:15pm on New Years Eve (lame!) and a trip to The Workroom!! I stumbled upon this amazing fabric store/craft and sew by the hour/generally awesome place while online one day and was over the top excited to visit. I love Calgary, but one thing I'm coming to understand is that there is a real lack of contemporary fabric in this city. IF you can find Joel Dewberry, Amy Butler or the like, you'll only find one or two bolts of their stuff and it will be close to $17/m - yikes! So a chance to shop at a place that carried nothing by great fabric was like a dream come true. I literally just walked back and forth in front of the shelves smiling, completely overwhelmed before Hubby encouraged me to start picking stuff out. Pictures of the newly decked out stash coming soon.

I also received a gift card to Purl Soho and decided to spend my money on some fat quarters of Cake Rock Beach by Joelle Hoverson, a few 1/2 yards of Net of Jewels, also by Joelle, and a new blade for my poor rotary cutter which I rolled over the tile in the kitchen by accident. So, with any luck, my new fabric will be arriving in a week or so. Yay!

I feel like I have written more than any person will be interested in reading in one shot, so I'll stop now. I promise a new post soon, full of pictures of the other projects I have completed and been working on recently, plus the Hockey Hall of Fame, and my newest additions to the stash.