Friday, April 29, 2011

Bleary eyed breakfast fest...

Festive decorations 
Up with the dawn this morning to watch a lovely young couple tie the knot -- along with a billion other television guests. What a beautiful event for Will and Kate. Say what you will about the monarchy, they know how to put on a grand event. It was all so elegant and tasteful. Nothing too much, nothing too little. Kate's dress was so lovely and classic. It will influence bridal elegance for many years to come.
As I predicted, I was enchanted by the service (it was the same one used when the Mr. and I tied the knot 27 years ago). I adore the poetry of the Book of Common Prayer. There are parts of it still that can move me to tears. I have always loved the way the bride and groom's hands are wrapped together in the stole of the priest with the pronouncement, "Those who have been joined together, let no man put asunder..."  So beautiful.
Vintage deliciousness
The music! Next to creating and receiving handmade things, I love listening and performing music. Love Divine All Loves Excelling has been my favourite hymn since childhood, and yes, it was our wedding hymn as well. I also enjoyed the new anthem composed by John Rutter for the wedding. That man can certainly write a tune. 
Fairytale on TV
Miss B made us some lovely floppy hats to wear as we watched. Very fetching they were too, adorned with flowers, butterflies and ribbons!
Sparking rose
Our breakfast feast, shared with friends Amanda and Ashley, included sausage rolls, mini quiche, strawberries, scones, strawberry jam and Devon cream. Yummmm! It was washed down with sparkling rose wine and tea served in my late mother-in-law's teacups, circa 1953.
It was wonderful to witness this bit of history -- albeit at a very early hour -- and to share the experience with my dearly beloved daughter.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

A right royal knees up!

Miss B bakes a cake...
Here at Handmaid Headquarters, we are in planning mode for the viewing the Royal Wedding. In Canada, coverage begins at  4 a.m.
Nonetheless, we are sharing the experience with our friends Amanda and Ashley. Amanda's mom is a proper cockney, born within the sound of the Bow Bells and all, so we are delighted to watch this historical occasion with them. My daughter, the recently-returned from university Miss B, and I will be welcoming them in our very best  pjs and fancy headgear...
Anna Griffin's Fabrications pages
Today, while Miss B baked a cake to transform into petite fours, I made bunting. These little triangle flags are all the rage once again, though I have always associated it with festive events. It has always seems so very British to me.
Since I wanted to make something that I can use again for other festivities, I decided to use some scrap booking fabric from Anna Griffin. Called Fabrications, this stuff is specially treated fabric that can be cut and will not fray. I got it on clearance sometime ago and used some of it for an earlier project, but I still had some nice prints to use for the bunting.
 Making the bunting wasn't difficult, and I really liked the end product. Here is how I did it:
First, I made a triangle template with six-inch sides. Then I cut out 18 triangles  from three prints. Then I used some single fold bias tape. I folded it in half and ironed it. Then, I used a glue stick to run a line of glue on the front and back of the triangle, and glued it to the bias tape, folding the tape over the front and back of the triangle, and pressing down--basting it onto the bias tape. I spaced the triangles two inches apart, marking the placement for each new triangle lightly with a pencil. When I finished the glue basting, I let the glue dry. Then, I sewed the whole line down with a wide straight stitch. Now, it is ready to be hung up over the entertainment unit to give a festive air to our early morning right royal knees up!
Bunting flags spaced two inches apart
Basting with glue

Almost ready to hang...

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Never give me day-long access to a car

Day out and dollars short
Fabric details
Spools, cakes , and pouches -- oh my!
This morning in our part of the world, rain was coming down in buckets, and it is still sort of cold. But it was made better because my sister kindly loaned me her car for the day.
What better way to celebrate such a day than a trip out of town to a quilting shop in Cookstown ON. Suddenly Sandra joined me in the escapade.
I found lovely cake fabric (hideously expensive, but mine anyway.)Fabrics also adopted included a Fig Tree print on special sale and along with some insanely cute and on sale Mary Engelbreit. Sandra spied a Fig Tree Pattern for little cell phone/camera bags, so that went in my pile too. Then I added some sewing machine top stitching needles and a couple of John James Pebbles in hand sewing and quilting styles. Let's not forget about the pretty Asian inspired fat quarters.
Oh yes, turn me loose and damage ensues. I was like a kid in a candy store -- except I wasn't -- not right at that moment.
After the quilt shop, we found a real candy store/antiques shop. Therein, I found TWO old textile mill spools marked at 50 per cent off because the store was closing down. I have been hankering after them for some time (at least 12 years), but having never found them, I gave up.
My interest was renewed because Fresh Vintage Sewing features a pear pincushion perched upon such a spool.
After our adventures in Cookstown, which included an unfortunate enabling of the car alarm -- I had a heck of a time disabling it -- we were off to the dreaded Newmarket mall.
We had lunch there.
I also got some tea towels for my aunt who makes little oven towels. She sells them at summer craft sales (one of them, ironically, in Cookstown).
We arrived back home after our large day safe and sound, and hoping for a sunny day tomorrow.
I am thankful for kind and sharing sisters and lovely friends who hop out of honking cars and explain to passersby that I have no idea how to shut it off.

Monday, April 18, 2011

Hippity hoppity Easter is on its way

Kanzashi cute!
 Today, it was all about getting ready for Easter. I made the flower for my aunt's shopping bag. Then, I got inspired to make up a cardboard Easter basket for some of my favourite university students. They are wrapping up the last of their exams and packing up to come home, so I think they have earned a little treat.
Since it is pretty difficult to mail a basket, I tarted up a plain cardboard box with some paper Easter grass. This is way better to deal with than the old cellophane stuff that drove my mother insane back in the day. I think it looks pretty nice, and once I slap one of my specialty labels on it, it will be very festive.
Not quite an Easter basket
Despite the calls for more snow tomorrow -- we had a great deal of it on the weekend (well, a lot of APRIL) -- there are still some signs of spring around here. Even though my kids are a bit old for the Easter bunny's baskets, they are still looking forward to an Easter Egg Hunt.
Apparently, they will indulge in cute for chocolate. I don't know if they will pose for blog photos, but I can always make that a condition for the aforementioned hunt. Sure,  I am that mean -- just ask the kids!

Friday, April 15, 2011

FNSI finishes and faces...

Faces & snacks
Tonight's FNSI was fueled by Diet Dr. Pepper, Tzatziki, pita chips and Smartie cookies. Yep, all of that goes together with sewing and laughs with Sandra and our friend Amanda.
I embroidered seven tomte faces for Sandra's future projects, and I made a nylon shopping tote for my Aunt Rita's Easter present. I found the yellow polka dot fabric for .50 in a remnant bin. It looks like a little yellow bathing suit!
Sewing with this stuff is a challenge, and I ended up binding the seams to take care of the enormous amount of shredding. However, I like how it turned out. It is so very cheery and I think she will like using it. I plan to add a kanzashi flower to it for extra sweetness. I hope everyone else enjoyed FNSI. I know we did!

Sandra's busy fingers
Cheap and cheerful

Signs of spring in advance of storms

An arty-quilty project -- the sunny yellow crocuses against the winter left overs

I was out and about early this morning, getting snacks ready for tonight's FNSI. I am still deciding what I will be doing. Honestly, I haven't really been doing a whole lot of sewing this week. Now I have to work out what to work on for the virtual sewing bee this evening. There are more than 100 people involved this time. The deal is you sign up (see button at the side of this post), do your work tonight, then you post your results tomorrow. It is kind of fun to surf around and see what all the folks have been doing. I do have a Tilda lamb cut out, and it is Easter next week...Hmm, I will have to decide by 7 p.m. when Sandra arrives with her projects all ready to go. The pressure!
In the meantime, enjoy this photo. I think it could become some kind of arty project someday, printed on fabric and gussied up with some stitching and the like. We are supposed to have really soggy (and cold) weather this weekend, so if thought I would photograph sunshiny stuff while I can.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Finally finished! Bring on the summer sunshine...

Well worth the buying!
 I finally finished the Cath Kidston strawberry bag. It is the first project Bernie (aka Bernina 830 Record circa 1977) and I did together. She is a wonderful older gal, and I have great love for her.
In order to do this project -- and more like it in the years to come -- I purchased a denim presser foot (invaluable for thick fabrics with many layers). The foot is hinged, so it just glides over the humps. It's a great investment. I justified it to myself because I was given Bernie, so I feel I owe it to her to buy her some nice "shoes".
Another recent purchase is Lisa Lam's Bag Making Bible -- a book completely devoted to the making of various kinds of bags. Lisa provides all kinds of tips about zips, magnetic closures, pockets, and handles.
The pattern  from the strawberry bag was featured in Homestyle Sewing magazine. It was a highlight project from a review of  the book and an interview with the author.
I am excited about finishing this bag, which is made from my very favourite Cath Kidston print. I quilted the fabric before lining it, even though the pattern called for iron-on fleece.
I like the Chanel-like quilting effect and it was easy to do. I just used masking tape as a quilting guide, and sewed a line of long stitches on either side of the tape. I laid it diagonally in one direction and then switched to the other. So easy! And, really cool looking. The strawberry bag is all ready for summer. As am I!
A sweet summer bag and a great book

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Bloggy bits and bytes

Congratulations to my bloggie buddy, Wonderful Wendy over at
She is a recent recipient of a stylish blogger award.
Wendy is a hip and happening crafter who not only makes beautiful cards, but also knits, crochets, sews and keeps me constantly entertained with a finely-honed sense of humour that is trained on her adventures in creating. I'd like to thank her for mentioning Heaven is Handmaid on her blog. I welcome those of you who have stumbled upon my little corner of the www.
It is truly amazing to me how much the blogosphere has managed to shrink the world into byte-sized portions (enjoy these little puns, I know I do). Even more intriguing is that this is all relatively new -- and I've managed to figure out how to get involved. I have Suddenly Sandra to thank for all this, and I am deeply grateful. Blogging has helped me stay involved in writing and photography. It is challenging me to keep creating and sharing.
Wendy suggests I share seven things about me. Hmmm. Just seven?
Mokuba treats from the remnant bin
  1. I have been making things since early childhood. I never ate the paste. I always used it appropriately.
  2. I am a journalist. I went to school for it and everything.
  3. I get by with an enormous amount of help from my friends.
  4. All my friends are my best friends. We are given too little time on earth to pick favourites.
  5. My sister is an Orthodox Jew and I am Christian. If we can get along -- even after being teen-aged girls growing up in a very small house -- then so can the rest of the world.
  6. I sing and play guitar -- sometimes in public, but not for money.
  7. Kawaii paper clips from The Outer Layer
  8. I have been known to read a book a day -- and actually forget to make dinner because of it. (the Outlander series by Diana Gabaldon).
So, that's a bit about me. I am also including some photos of my little discoveries on my recent trip to Queen St. in Toronto. Just for the fun of it, and because I haven't managed to finish anything for a few days. And that has to stop. More on that later!