Monday, May 30, 2011

a wedding present

On May 21, Joel and I had the privilege of attending the wedding of our dear friend Lorraine.  She married the sweet and kind Darryl in a beautiful ceremony on a warm ans sunny Saturday and it couldn't have been more perfect.  Except that it was!

There was a candy buffet.


I didn't take any pictures because I was too busy stuffing my face but it was delicious.  Everything you could think of was there.


Lorraine wore an amazing green iridescent dress with a sparkly, lacy bolero and a stunning beaded headband made by a friend.  She was radiant!

Since Lorraine wouldn't tell me what she wanted for her wedding, I took matters into my own hands.  She had mentioned kitchen things as favourite wants and I knew she loved green and brown, so voila:

Potholder & Oven Mitt

 A double oven mitt and potholder set.  I made the oven mitt using this tutorial, sort of.  The potholder I just threw together without instructions.

Do you ever have one of those moments while you are sewing for someone else where you feel totally inspired by the fabric or colour combo and wish you were making something for yourself instead?

I totally had that moment with the potholder, but alas, the majority of the fabrics were just tiny pieces of scrap that I used up.  I did manage to make an extra patchwork square for myself, but I don't know what I'll use it for yet.

Lorraine and Darryl - congratulations on your wedding, may you be endless happy!

Saturday, May 28, 2011

mom's annual visit: part 2

**Warning: This post is extremely picture heavy!**

Well, mom's visit has come to an end. We put her on an airplane back to Ontario bright and early on Wednesday morning and it was sad to say goodbye.

What did we get up to for the rest of her visit? Lots! Here are the highlights:

Saturday and 1/2 of Sunday she spent with my brother, road tripping to Banff. They rented a Mustang convertible and whipped through the Rocky Mountains snapping photos and exploring Bison pastures....really?

Sunday we checked out Cross Iron Mills. I guess this is the first mall built in Western Canada in over 20 years which seems crazy to me but whatever. It's gigantic. And busy. but full of cool stores. We were on a mission to find mom a great professional outfit to wear for an upcoming event she is speaking at and let me say - mission accomplished! I don't think I have any pictures of that, sorry.


Sunday evening we went to Boxwood. A friend of ours is the GM there and it is really fantastic. A tiny casual restaurant in the middle of a city park, and it serves all fresh and local food that is positively scrumptious. The building is quite stunning as well.


If you look past my adorable hubby you can see how pretty it is with all that cedar and those pendants and glass water bottles.

With all that warm natural light and the beautiful surroundings, we took the opportunity to take a family portrait.


Monday and Tuesday it rained. Monday we hung around the house, sewed, watched some 30 Rock, and then I went to work for a couple of hours in the evening and Joel and Mom played board games and ate pizza with Rob.

Mom in Inglewood

Tuesday started out as another lazy day, but we ended up taking a short trip into Inglewood again. Most of the shops were closed still from the long weekend but we went to a crazy chocolate shop and several antique and collectible shops. No pictures, but one of them had a pile of war memorabilia including creepy things like Nazi uniforms and knives. It gave me the willies.

The Arc of the Covenant?

Also, my brother seems to think they found the Arc of the Covenant. All these years and it's been sitting in an antique store in Calgary. Who would have guessed?

Chinook Centre

After Inglewood we went to Chinook Centre, the other very large mall in the city which has recently finished a giant addition that now holds some awesome American stores. Anthropology and Urban Outfitters make me drool and lust. I got a wicked 10 dollar dress thanks to mommy dearest and snapped a picture of some really cool displays in Anthro. How can I get a bed that's on 15 foot stilts??


Also, there was this:


Oh yes, and there was Phil & Sebastien. Awesome coffee shop with the best latte I have ever had, and some equal awesome decor.

P&S Latte


Tuesday for dinner we hit up one of my favourite restaurants in the city - Pulcinella. There is really nothing like authentic Napolitana pizza to end a day of shopping. Wash it down with a yummy Moretti beer and some great conversation and you've got a fabulous day.


There is really nothing like authentic Napolitana pizza to end a day of shopping. Wash it down with a yummy Moretti beer and some great conversation and you've got a fabulous day.


It's always sad to say goodbye to my mom, but I am excited that I already know when she is coming back. This year her and my step dad will be making the trip out to our place for Christmas - yay! I love you mom, thanks for a great visit!

Friday, May 27, 2011

giveaway day winner part two

As promised, due to the overwhelming response to my giveaway day post (seriously, THANK YOU) I have created a second prize.

Just like with the first one, I flip flipped several times on what to make, and finally came up with this:

Giveaway Day - Prize #2

Yup!  Another apron.  This one is a bit scrappier and with pleats instead of pintucks.  These photos truly are bad because I have gone back to my regular camera and it doesn't do well in low light.  Like say, when I finish something at 9:30pm on the day I am supposed to blog about it!

What do you think?

Seriously Leah Claire, what do you think?  I hope you like it because you are the winner!  Mr. Random picked you and I have sent you an email asking for your mailing address, so be on the lookout!

Leah Claire was #266 and said:

"Love love love the pintucks on the apron.  so cute!  Thanks for the chance."

Well Leah Claire, it isn't the Neptune apron, but I hope you love it.

Giveaway Day - Prize #2

Happy Weekend Everybody!

Thursday, May 26, 2011

giveaway day winner part one

Drumroll please....

The winner of the Neptune Apron is:

#154 - Just One More Thing

Who said:

"This is the first apron giveaway I've seen and to be honest --I want it!! Very pretty. Thanks for the chance to win."

Congratulations! I've sent you an email.

I would like to take a second to thank everyone who entered the giveaway.  Those lists at Sew Mama Sew were HUGE and I appreciate the time you took to stop by my little corner of the interwebs.

A big thank you also to all the wonderful people who decided to become followers or who were already followers - it feels good to have regulars!

As promised, I am going to make a second giveaway prize. I will make the second prize and draw the winners name on Friday.

And because I hate to post without a picture (unless of course I'm ranting) here is what else I will be working on this weekend:

New Project (x3)

Any guesses as to what it all will become? A hint: It will be three of the same items in different colour combos.

P.S. I already miss my mom's camera. I want a DSLR back!

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

baby in the hood jacket - the girl version

Baby in the Hood Jacket

As I mentioned in this post, I made a practice version of the baby in the hood jacket before I made the one for baby Joel. The idea was to make sure that I could do a good enough job on it to be proud to give it away. I always try to make sure my gifts look as professional as possible and air more towards the handmade side than the homemade side.

For the practice jacket I decided to make it in the 24 month size and use some bright girly fabrics I had sitting around. As I mentioned before my stash is really lacking in the boy friendly fabric department right now.

Baby in the Hood Jacket

I pulled a bright floral (if anyone can identify it that would be helpful) that I got at Bolt in Portland, some Kona Cerise and Honeycomb from Amy Butler's Midwest Modern.

After all the tracing cutting the fabric was super easy!

It took me between 4 and 5 hours spread over a couple of days to make this baby. I made one really minor alteration on this and the boy version. I shorted the suggest elastic length for the hood by about an inch. If I was going to make the pattern again (and I'm sure that I will) I would add and inch or two to the length so it would fit kids older than 2. Little ones like dear Miss A of the twins comes to mind since she is tall and skinny but nearly 3.

Baby in the Hood Jacket

For the buttons, once again, my husband picked them out! He was really into wooden buttons that day and they really were the absolute cutest and best option. I particularly like these ones because of the smooth tops. No thread showing!

I have absolutely no idea what I will do with this coat. There are so many little boys in my life between the kids I nanny and our friends kids, I don't think I know anyone I can give this to.

Baby in the Hood Jacket

Any suggestions what to do with it?

Monday, May 23, 2011

giveaway day!


It's here, it's finally here!

Welcome to everyone stopping through via Sew Mama Sew for Giveaway Day! And a big welcome also to my regular readers.

I'll get right to it. I had a hard time deciding what to give away this year, but here it is:

Neptune Apron

An apron made by yours truly! This little baby came together yesterday after much deliberation as to what I would make. I dug deep in my stash and found a rather large piece of some Neptune by Tula Pink. I know it’s super hard to find now, and really, who doesn’t love some sea turtles, so I thought, why not? The apron is a ½ length style but it can be worn up higher to protect your shirt. It measures about 22” in length by about 25 inches wide and has extra long ties for those who like to have a cute bow in front like I do.

Neptune Apron

The contrasting fabric is another piece from my stash and one of my all time favourites – Happy Dots from the Midwest Modern collection by Amy Butler. There is a pocket on the front just big enough for a recipe card or whatever junk you might want to carry around.

Neptune Apron

I added some cute pintucking to the waistband for some extra flair and it gives it a bit of support so it doesn’t slip down over time. Plus, seriously, who doesn’t love pintucks?

Neptune Apron

The apron was created using this tutorial via Delia Creates, but with a few minor tweaks. I added a piece of Kona White to the back as a liner to give it some weight and durability.

To give the prize a bit of extra umph, I’ve decided to add a small scrap bundle to the package before I mail it. I promise to pick some really cute pieces for the winner!

Would you like to enter for your chance to win this cute little apron? Here’s the deal:

- Leave a comment, any comment.
- Make sure you either leave an email address or that yours is visible in your profile.

I will leave comments open until 11:59pm MST on Wednesday, May 25 and draw a winner using the Random Integer Generator on Thursday.

If you decide to become a follower or already are, leave me a second comment for a second chance to win.

One last thing: if by chance, I get more than 350 entries, Since I have now surpassed 350 entries, I will create a second item and scrap bundle and choose a second winner. That prize will be a surprise though.

Good luck! And thanks again for stopping by!

(**I do apologize for the terrible pictures. I got up early to write this and it was cold and dark and rainy outside. Oh well. I will replace them with better ones eventually.)

Saturday, May 21, 2011

mom's annual visit

Every year in the spring or summer my mom comes to visit. This week is her visit of the year!

She arrived on Wednesday night and since both my brother and I worked on Thursday, she hung out with Joel and had a relaxing day recovering from he long day and bumpy flight the day before.


Friday was mom's birthday (her 29th of course!) so we went on a photo journey/city wandering adventure. We went down to Inglewood to do some window shopping/real shopping. We checked out a couple of cute kitchen stores and antique stores and then went to the Eco Store. Even though it was my mom's birthday she decided to buy me a signature "hippy dippy" present. A new Kleen Kanteen water bottle and a sweet tiffin and bamboo cutlery set.

After our shopping we were hungry so we headed to a place called the Wilder Nest for lunch. We had heard that they are very accommodating to vegans and vegetarians, so we knew we could find something for mom to eat.

Green Tea

Mom had green tea and a grilled vegetable panini with a funky salad.


I had an apple and pear panini with walnuts, gorgonzola, arugula and a maple spread. Oh gosh, it was so delicious, I would eat that every day if I could! It came with a yummy spinach salad topped with cranberries, strawberries, mushrooms and a lemon poppyseed dressing. So satisfying.

Inglewood is a really cool little neighbourhood in the SE of Calgary. It is historic and ecclectic and full of really interesting stores and things to take pictures of.

Inglewood Billboard

There was a whole set of weird billboards on the main drag that included animals doing odd things and food being incorporated into landscapes. I still have no idea what they were about. AND, I missed getting a picture of the one with the moose antlers half submerged in an icy lake.

Inglewood Billboard

Seriously. The polar bear is sitting on a stool.

Bird Sanctuary Sculpture

After lunch we went to the Inglewood Bird Sanctuary to see what we could see. Mom is an avid birder so she knew what most of the birds were and which ones were special.

King Bird

And some wigeons (they are ducks) and lots of really cute but common birds like chickadees and robins. And just because I have to rub it in, I got a picture of the elusive Wood Duck.

Wood Duck

Apparently they are really hard to find because they are the only kind of duck that roosts in trees. This one was taking a nap on a long branch over a quiet pond.

The second best part of the day (the best part being spending time with my mom) was getting to use her camera! She brought out her Canon Rebel T2i with a couple of lenses and filters and I had a grand old time getting to know it and figuring out how to get great shots with it.

Setting up a shot

At the end of our time at the bird sanctuary I decided we needed to take a self portrait.

Poorly focused self portrait

Clearly I forgot that I had the camera set to manual focus and so the point of focus is in the middle of the photo and not on us. Oh well, I love the picture anyway!

Mom is here until next Wednesday, so I am looking forward to lots more adventures with her before she has to head back to Ontario.

Oh and before I end this post - here's a quick heads up. Monday is Giveaway Day! I love this awesome day hosted by Sew Mama Sew. If you don't know about it, it consists of over 500 bloggers all giving away awesome prizes on their blogs. Sew Mama Sew organizes it and keeps a master list of all the bloggers participating.

I will be participating again this year and I can't wait. I have yet to decide what my giveaway will include, but I have some ideas and it's going to be good. Make sure you drop by on Monday to check it out.

baby shower present

Last weekend I attended a baby shower for a sweet little guy named Joel. I've known his parents for a few years now, so it was really wonderful to get to meet their first child and help set him up with lots of cute clothes and toys.

Baby Shower Food Spread

Joel's aunts put the party together and it was super cute! They decorated the room with blue and green and little hits of brown. The food spread was amazing. a few people brought things like yummy fresh fruit and veggies and a really cool strawberry and mint spread thing. The aunts made a super cute cake and a whole batch of sugar cookies shaped like onesies.

Baby Shower Cake


For the shower I decided to try out making a Baby in the Hood Jacket from the book Handmade Beginnings by Anna Maria Horner. I was a little worried about my ability to make the jacket well enough to give it to someone, so I made a practice one (more on that later).

Baby in the Hood Jacket

I made the jacket in the 9-12 months size. I was really running low on boy friendly fabrics, so I decided to use an old pair of my Joel's jeans for the exterior fabric. The button placket and hood stripe are made from Kona Chocolate.

Baby in the Hood Jacket

For the inside I cut into my stash of Katie Jump Rope! I wasn't sure about the orange, since it's one of those colours that most people either love or hate. I ended up really loving the combination of the orange polka dots and the denim.

Baby in the Hood Jacket

I added a little tag for the size and a Cowtown Baby label to the inside bottom corner. When it came to picking out buttons I just couldn't decide. It was my Joel who came up with the idea of using the wooden toggles and I LOVE how it turned out!

I was really happy to be able to give this to baby Joel and I look forward to seeing it on him when he grows into it. He's currently only a month old, so I made it to fit him next year. I guess I'll just have to wait a bit.

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Bloggers' Quilt Festival

Amy's Creative Side

Well, it's that time of year again - Bloggers' Quilt Festival! Last year I wrote about the Argyle Quilt of Doom. This year, the Quilt Festival lined up with the completion of Plain Spoken III.

Plain Spoken III

Plain Spoken III (I really need to come up with a more creative name than that) is the biggest project I have ever undertaken. It is massive. Before washing it measured approximately 112" by 110". That makes it larger than a king sized quilt.

I've written about it before, but just like the Argyle Quilt of Doom, Plain Spoken III was a wedding quilt created for some very special friends.

My husband Joel has known Jeremy and Breanne for a while longer than I have. He met them when he first moved to Calgary, and I met them about 3 years later when Joel and I stared dating. Jeremy and Breanne would probably tell you that their romance was a long and winding road full of it's fair share of bumps. However, I have never doubted their "rightness" as a couple since I've met them. They really are the kind of people that make you believe in soulmates.

So, after a 7(?) year courtship, when they finally tied the knot, I knew they needed something really special. This quilt is the first time I have made a quilt for someone and let them pick out the pattern, size AND fabrics. Originally they had chosen a queen size quilt, but I think most people would agree that a bigger quilt is always nicer. They chose the Plain Spoken pattern from the Modern Quilt workshop and we went browsing online for the right collection of colours. Jeremy is famous for his love of blue, so we chose 11 shades of blue beige and brown and ordered them up.

Plain Spoken III

This quilt has been in progress since a week after their wedding. Oops! Living in Canada means a very limited supply of Kona cottons, and ordering from the States takes about 3 weeks to get here.

Once I had decided on a king sized quilt, the next challenge was how to make it on my regular sized machine. I devised a plan that included making it in 4 quarters to make it more manageable during the piecing stage. After the first 3 were complete I stalled. I started wondering how I was possibly going to get it quilted on my machine. I stalled and stalled some more. After about 3 months of stalling, my husband was trying to encourage me to at least get the top done. So I went back to work and pieced the last quarter of the top. All the while fretting about how I was possibly going to get it quilted.

Plain Spoken III

Joel is the one who came up with the solution. Quilt it in two halves and then join them in the middle and quilt over the last tiny section in the middle. Genius!

I spent about 4 or 5 days quilting straight lines 1/4 inch apart. It was a workout to say the least. I chose to go with a medium-light grey because I couldn't decide on anything else. I love the dimension the grey adds to it!

Plain Spoken III

In order to get the quilt ready to be attached in the middle, I decided which half would be the top and which the bottom. Once I had decided I quilted all the way to their respective edges. I then trimmed the batting and backing to match the edges of the quilt top and sewed the top and bottom pieces together using a regular seam that only went through the first two layers, leaving the backing free. Once that was done I trimmed one piece of backing as short as possible and folded a hem into the other, making it overlap the trimmed edge. I pinned the hemmed piece in place and stitched it down with the quilting thread. I them quilted in the blank space surrounding the seam and voila, a nearly invisible transition between the two pieces.

I don't know how clear that was, but if you want more instructions, let me know and I will either write up a little tutorial or send an email.

Plain Spoken III

After all the quilting and binding was finished, I stitched up a little tag to add to the bottom corner. Just a simple dedication tag with their names and wedding date plus who it's from. I attached it to the quilt with my free motion foot.

Plain Spoken III

It took me 3 different sessions over 3 days to get all the pictures I wanted of the quilt. I tried to get Joel and our roommate Thomas to hold it up, but it proved too big. And windy!!

The quilt was officially finished on Sunday, and the plan had been to give it to the happy couple of Sunday, but I couldn't find the time to drop it off. I was happy to have an extra few days to get more photographs.

Jeremy and Breanne finally received their quilt on Wednesday when we had them over for a tequila tasting night.

Plain Spoken III - Received

I'm glad to report that they love it! Oh, and that they have upgraded to a king bed so it's a good thing I made a king!