Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Holiday plans in my fortress of solitude

Lots of materials in the kit

Tomorrow it is a holiday in Canada -- Canada Day! It is the 148th anniversary of our country's confederation as a nation.
It is a holiday that never moves, so sometimes it happens mid-week, as it does in 2015.
I am spending my day in the fortress of solitude (aka my studio) working on this Tilda swimming girl because everyone else will be working.
I consider this a gift -- a Canada Day gift.
I will also be listening to an audio book, Inferno by Dan Brown.
Sure, it's fairly sedate way to spend a vacation day, but I am looking so forward to it.
So far, I have sewn her up, clipped all her curves, and turned her right side out. Tomorrow comes the onerous task of stuffing a Tilda figure. This can sometimes go quite badly and I have to start again. I don't like lumps or giving my figures a horrible neck wrinkle. It take some luck and skill to get it looking good, especially with those skinny arms and legs.
In this particular version, the hair is painted on, which will be anew technique for me, but I am up for the challenge, since I fell in love with this doll when I first saw it back in December or January.
Sewn, curves clipped and turned
I ended up ordering the kit from Art Attack. It is a US-based online shop, with excellent customer service and decent pricing. I highly recommend them.
I will post some more photos of  this bathing beauty as soon as missy is ready for her close-up.

Saturday, June 27, 2015

I've pre-ordered my flying monkeys

Tone Finnanger's Tilda range is hitting the toy box on September 25, 2015.
That's the release date for the new book Tilda's Toy Box. I've pre-ordered from Book Depository in the UK because they offer free shipping no matter where you live in the world.
This new book is aimed at sewing specifically for children.
There are also two new lines of fabric : Autumn Tree and Sweetheart. I am not entirely sure I will see either of them in stores here, but I can certainly admire them from afar. I have also found a pink polka dot fabric which is very close to that delicious red and white polka dot fabric.
The premise of the book is one of adventure, specifically, adventures little ones can go on with that sweet huge headed doll. The doll has outfits for adventures on the high seas as a pirate, exploring the jungle with some very cheeky monkeys, and even making a sweet little quilt fort for adventures that happen closer to home.
I am pretty sure my monkey loving daughter will be wanting a monkey, while I am looking forward to making that bird house purse. I don't plan to walk around with a bird house purse (although I might, you just never know), the house purse will actually become part of my Christmas house decorations. I even bought some battery operated LED mini lights for it on my last trip stateside, where such things are not only readily available, but also do not cost the earth.
The chances are good that I will put wings on my monkeys -- Wizard of Oz style. Because you know, I've always wanted to have my own army of flying monkeys...I just think they will come in handy now and then.
Now all I have to do with wait for 89 days until I get the book. What will I do?
Two new fabric lines!

I will likely make monkeys with wings...

Tuesday, June 9, 2015

Wedding Saturdays within the month of June....

Old friends are the best table favours
It has been a while since I've been to a wedding. And, June being the month of weddings, I thought I'd tell you about a recent event I attended.
After years of never going to weddings -- it is one of those occasions that passes through phases of life --  is it not?
First, it seems like all of your friends are getting married...
And, then, all of a sudden, you are planning your own wedding.
Many years pass...
Suddenly, all of your friends' kids are getting married!
Which is weird, since you are all still young yourselves.
My best friend -- from kindergarten onward -- is knee deep in preparation for her eldest daughter's wedding.
First up, we went to the bridal shower.
The candy buffet and the cake! Pretty,  fun, and yummy!
It was a lovely event.
The colour scheme is one of my favourties: turquoise and pale grey -- all artfully pulled together with a simple centre piece -- a white hydrangea head in a square glass vase, filled with blue glass stones.
We played a trivia game (our table won), had a lovely buffet lunch. It was topped off by a candy buffet (treat bags and twist ties included), chocolate dipped strawberries, and the most delicious cake I've ever sampled. Made by the aunt of the groom, a true cake artist, it was finished with turquoise fondant and pale grey lace.
I liked the topper -- a little white chocolate plaque proclaiming: from Miss to Mrs. (the bride is a high school teacher).
Fun fact: one of the trivia game questions was which gaseous marine mammal is the bride's favourite? After much discussion, we picked dolphin. Wrong. It is the manatee. She just loves them.
I think I found a little wedding gift for her: one of my favourite artists, Patience Brewster, has created an ornament honouring the lovely, yet gaseous, creature of the deep.
I am thinking wedding cake topper...why not? It is far more personal and interesting than the traditional bride and groom. She's got a ton of options for unique toppers, as well as many other  special, whimsical holiday and Christmas ornaments. I've got quite a little collection of her things, including a cake server that stands on a little Christmas bauble with a face and feet. Oh yeah, she's my kind of gal!
When DH and I got married -- a million years ago -- I wanted bride and groom turtles to top our cake. Sadly, no one else did -- it just wasn't the "done" thing to make one's wedding personal. Glad those days are gone!
This thoroughly modern bride and groom will have their wedding is at the beginning of August at a simply elegant event centre that had been heritage barn. Now part of an agricultural museum, it features exposed wooden beams and tons rustic charm.
The couple have simple tastes and favour handmade touches. We've been invited to the wedding, so I can't wait to see what they come up with at the main event, since the shower was so very pretty.
As for me, I have purchased a sewing pattern to make myself a new outfit for the wedding. It has been years since I made myself clothes, but I like the pattern. It is Burda design for a sort of flowing  top and simple Capri-style pants.
I bought some knit material for $3 a metre. I am going to practice the top before I get the silk /cotton blend fabric I want to use.
I'll keep you posted on the results. Fair warning, I might chicken out on the pants and wear ones I already have so I can just focus on the top.
The bride is lovely, so no one will notice what I am wearing -- as long as I don't mess it up. You just don't want people noticing you for the wrong reasons.

Monday, April 13, 2015

Biscuits, tea buns, whatever you call them, these are good

Yogurt tea buns with raisins.
Now that spring is here, I like to make something a little lighter for Sunday morning breakfast. It is now the only day when the whole family is home.
These tea buns go together quickly, and you can add in a couple of handfuls of any dried fruit or sharp cheddar cheese.
I  serve them warm. with butter, fresh fruit and a nice hot cup of tea. They are also pretty good when they are cold.
These buns, made with cheese, are my go-to side when there's soup or chili in the slow cooker for a rainy night supper.

Yogurt Tea Buns (makes one dozen mid-sized buns)

2 cups all purpose flour
2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/3 cup butter or margarine
1/4 cup dried fruit (raisins, blueberries, chopped cherries or cranberries)*

1 cup plain (1 or 2 per cent) yogurt

*for cheese tea buns, add 1 1/4 cups sharp cheddar cheese

Preheat oven to 425 degrees.
In a large bowl, mix flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.
Use a pastry cutter to blend in butter or margarine until the flour looks like damp sand.
Add fruit (or cheese).
Add yogurt to the flour mixture. I add the yogurt with my hand. This way, I can feel the very moment the dough comes together better. (Tea buns get tough at this stage if they are over mixed.)
When the dough has come together, pat it into a sort of rustic round on a well-floured surface. Use a round biscuit cutter to cut out  the tea buns. The first pass will likely produce about 6 buns, gather the dough together again, pat it down and cut out the remaining buns. Placing them on a parchment lined cookie sheet as soon as each one is cut out.
There will be an ugly little one at the end of the process. (My kids have actually fought over who gets the ugly bun -- I kid you not)
Bake 15-20 minutes or until golden brown. Serve warm, store left overs (!?) in a zippered plastic bag. The buns are best eaten within two days.

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

How can it be March already?

My poor, neglected blog.
I feel terrible. I have been ignoring it for many, many weeks.
It's not intentional. It's life.
At Christmas, we were all dealing with some horrible, evil virus. It ruined our celebrations, and it sidelined virtually all handcrafting, sewing, and the like. It was all I could do to sit up and be present at Christmas dinner -- and it was our hosting year.
Mostly, I just sat at the table, pushed the turkey dinner around, and waited until it was time for everyone to leave so that I could go back to bed where my Vapo-Rub and tissues awaited.
Oh, it was miserable.
I have been working away on many projects for QUILTsocial.com
For next month's posts, I am going to be working on a project that will mostly hand quilting, embroidery and embellishment.
A sneaky peek of the jewellery clutch
I just finished a jewellery clutch project for A Needle Pulling Thread's Summer issue. It was a lot of fun to do. I can't really show it off, but I can share a photo of the raw materials. Isn't that fabric lovely?
In other news, yesterday was my birthday. My crafty pals on the Facebook Page, The Craft Cafe, have created a birthday block swap. Over the course of the year, we make each other 12 inch blocks sent in the month of our birthday, in our preferred colours. I picked reds/creams.
Yesterday, I received some lovely parcels from Norway, Italy and the UK.
Sure, the Internet can sometimes do harm, but it can also connect us in beautiful ways. So far, I have churned out four blocks for birthday girls, and sent them off to their forever homes. I can't wait to see how the finished quilts look. Here are the block that have arrived so far:
From Christine

From Annabella

From Janne

From Fiona

From Jill

Thursday, December 4, 2014

Father Christmas at our house!

Preparing the applique pieces.
Father Christmas and his tree.
For the past three weeks, I have been creating the Father Christmas from Handmade and Happy, the new Tilda book by Tone Finnanger.
Today, I finally finished him.
I use silk thread to do the applique.
I am very pleased with myself -- and him. This is the first project I have been able to do using Tilda fabrics I was able to purchase in Canada at Evelyn's/The Quilt Store in Newmarket ON. (not quite 25 minutes north of me).
I thought I would share some of the WIP photos, as well as the finished Father Christmas.

This is an excessively labour intensive project, but it's just the sort of thing I like to tackle.

This part doll/part quilt.
It is designed to hang, not sit.
At the moment, he is hanging out on the stairs with the garland and the Van Craig dancing girl ornaments. The jolly old elf seems quite content with the company. I hope Mrs. Claus doesn't get wind of this.

This little bird is so sweet. It took forever!

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Making friends at the Creativ Festival this weekend

Percy, the pentagon snow person, is getting ready for his close up this weekend
This weekend, I will be back at the Creativ Festival in Toronto. I will be demonstrating how to make things from hexagons and pentagons on Saturday afternoon at A Needle Pulling Thread's booth.
I might also do some shopping...as if there was any doubt.
Included in my bag of tricks will be this little snow person, created from three different sizes of stuffed balls, which were created by joining pentagons together.
I love doing these English Paper Piecing projects because once I have cut out the cardboard pieces, and trimmed the fabric to match, I can take them along where ever I go.
This particular snow person came together over a weekend at the cottage. It was weird making a snow person while sitting by the lake when the temperature was a balmy 26 degrees, but that's how I roll.
In other exciting news, my copy of Homemade and Happy, the latest Tilda book, is currently winging its way to me from the UK.
Wish me luck this weekend!
I will try to remember to post some photos of the booth, and whatever leaps into my handcrafted shopping bag.