Thursday, September 29, 2011

The big chill is on its way!

Purple awesomeness!
We are admiring the colours of fall around here -- although in the last few days it has been hot and sticky. Weird.
Nonetheless, I am doing my third infinity scarf in single crochet. This yarn is called lilac. I love the variegated yarns -- it is so much fun to see where the colours will end up.
I have always had a hard time knitting and crocheting. Call it a mental block or whatever, but I have such a hard time keeping track of the stitches. I am forever adding and dropping them -- and I can't read a pattern to save my life. However, this year, I fired up the Internet and found some youtube tutorials conducted by knowledgeable and patient teachers who didn't seem to mind when I would pause and re-wind them.
Once I worked out how not to mess up, I decided to get a few giant balls of yarn at Michaels ( I had 50 per cent off coupons) and just started crocheting away the evenings -- which seem to start earlier and earlier with each passing day at this time of year.
I managed to surprise myself by finishing one, then and another, and then starting this one -- which will likely be finished by next week.
These warm and wooly infinity scarves are going to be Christmas presents for some friends who have dogs and will need a warm scarf (that can also become a hat) when the winds start to howl and the snow flies.
I have also begun my list of gifts to be made. Once the list is on paper, I consider it carved in stone and I will work through it no matter what. The trick is to start before December 20 -- don't ask...

Sunday, September 25, 2011

A little campaigning can't hurt...

A cup of tea kind of magazine
Three years ago, I got a horrible letter in the mail. My dearly loved magazine, Mary Engelbreit's Home Companion had ceased publication. The rest of my subscription would be to Martha Stewart's Living. I am not kidding when I say I went into mourning a little bit. As if anything Martha had to say was in anyway comparable to Mary...
Home Companion featured several sewing and crafting projects, along with ads for the latest fabrics, notions and gadgets.
I have almost all my Home Companions -- but I did donate  the first four years' worth to Goodwill when we moved house a few years ago. Thinking the magazine would go on forever, I decided to share the wonderful collection of articles, recipes, home decorating ideas, artist profiles and paper dolls (one every month) with others. The fact they are gone still makes me sad -- I suspect this is how people are pushed into serious hoarding.
Anyhoo, I just found out there is hope of bringing the magazine back to life. Oh, happy day! Read all about it here:
Here's hoping that MEHC might rise again.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

An anniversary

That's alotta tulle and lace...
Today, Mr. D and I celebrate 27 years of marriage. We are giving each other a new roof to celebrate.
Last weekend, we drove around with a list of homes that had their roofs replace with the company. We were viewing shingle colours.
There was a time when we used to go on fall drives to view the leaves, stop at a country bistro for afternoon tea, or perhaps browse in little shops for a momento of the day.
However, there comes a time in every couple's life when you literally have to get your head out of the clouds and literally keep a roof over your head.Last weekend, it was all about Weathered Wood versus Mission Slate. Which would compliment our pinkish brick? What colour should the flashing be? For me, it was like planning a quilt project. For Mr. D., it was all about making sure I didn't suddenly fall in love with his favourtie: Mission Slate. (Wasn't going to happen  -- there was too much blue in it for my liking. It would have made the house look like a baby quilt)
After much deliberation, we chose Weathered Wood with Chocolate flashing. It is not a romantic anniversary present. It is, however, a REALLY expensive necessary evil. It's dinner in tonight -- pot roast with Mr. D's favourite lemon cheese cake for dessert. And really, at this point in our lives, we have been blessed with the gift of true love and friendship and that is priceless.
I am off to the gym now to see if they have finally installed that time machine...
Have a great day everyone!

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Flying solo on FNSI

Nary a tissue in sight...

Sadly, I have some kind of head cold thing going on right now. Could be allergies, could be a virus. My head feels too heavy for my shoulders, and that makes me sad.
FNSI for me was a solo performance. I missed Sandra, but I am pretty sure she could do without my tissue issues.
I really wanted to sit in my recliner and sulk, but that seemed kind of counterproductive on FNSI. I succumbed the virtual peer pressure of working with more than 150 crafters worldwide and finished my CROCHET infinity scarf. Yep, I finally learned to crochet without dropping stitches and making a general mess -- especially at the sides. This scarf is only done in single crochet -- so easy -- and uses almost all of Michaels' Impeccable Giant Ball of 4-ply worsted weight yarn. I chained 50 stitches on a number 6 hook and then just kept on going until the yarn was nearly gone. Then, I joined up the two ends to make a giant loop scarf. This colour is called Neapolitan. Can you guess why? 
I had cut out some Tilda's Studio waterlilies earlier in the week -- two small and one large, so I figured I might as well give them a go. (aka the Sudafed was doing its job). I finished one little one, and I quite like the way it worked out. I also pulled out my collection of Pima paper flowers for the centres.
Details -- the little Pima paper flowers
Water lilies are special to me because they were in my silk wedding bouquet 27 years ago this coming Thursday. I have always loved ponds, cool forest glades, turtles, little frogs and waterlilies, so I asked the florist to create a bouquet with a silk waterlily as its focus. He thought it was weird, but he did it anyway. Even he loved the end result. That's me, daring to be different!
All in all, not a horrible FNSI, but not quite a much fun as last month's edition.

Monday, September 12, 2011

Cheeky monkey hijinks

The monkey and his book
When you get a new sock monkey, bite its tail
Ta da! Here is what I was working on last week in anticipation of meeting my newest and cutest cousin. He lives far away from Canada, and so his visit warranted a command performance of several members of his Ontario family at his Nonna and Dado's house. Nonna Stella is my first cousin, and we are pretty close.
When she learned she was going to be grandmama last year it was quite exciting for everyone.
Lauren, her daughter, is married to a chef  and they both work on an island paradise.
Liam is very smiley and the least fussy baby I've ever met. Living in a tropical wonderland, he's got that "don't worry be happy" thing going on!
We all had a little time together this weekend, and of course, there were presents involved.
Liam's first birthday is coming up soon, so I made him a sock monkey dressed in overalls. I also made him 5 Funky Monkeys -- a fabric book from Erin Michaels' line of sock monkey fabric from Moda.
I made the monkey's overalls from a vintage pattern. I stupidly did not check to make sure the monkey I was making was of the same proportions as the vintage monkey. He was not. It was so sad that his overalls did not fit. I did not cry.
I pulled out my old proportional wheel and resized the pattern on a copier at  Staples so I could use 11x17 paper.
Fortunately, I had extra fabric, so I made a bigger pair of overalls. I used felt for the eyes and the overall buttons because Liam doesn't know yet that buttons are not a delicious treat.
Liam found the monkey delicious
Now, I will have to make a smaller sock monkey -- I might as well, I already have the overalls.

It was such a pleasure to make a couple of things for a dear little boy who lives so far away. We might not always be able to visit him, but he will have little handmade reminders that there are lots of people in the world who love him very much.

Monday, September 5, 2011

It's a long weekend Monday

It is a long weekend Monday. I am at home working on my projects. There's a nip in the air today, and it looks like rain. It's the perfect weather to make a nice lemon loaf to compensate for the left overs we'll be having for dinner this evening.
Since the dear boy moved to college, I am having trouble compensating in the quantities of meals I cook.
We have a lot of left overs so far and it has only been a week! right now in the fridge, we have bits of every meal we ate from Thursday onward, but
Look ! A gift bag!
there are no lemons there. There is no bottle of Real Lemon in there either.
Sigh. I will now think of plan B. Hey, blueberry starts with the letter B. I could make a blueberry loaf. There. Settled. I will get away from the computer and make a blueberry loaf.
But until I escape to the kitchen,  I must report that since I don't sleep well when it's just me and mom in the house, I did some Internet shopping early, early this morning. 
I have ordered --- drum roll please --- Tilda's Winter Ideas from Book Depository. 
This a pre-order. The book is due out in 81 days...its okay, I can wait.
Sweet Santa!
I blame Panduro Hobby. They sent me a catalogue -- hence the photos I share with you here. They have a whole Tilda section...pages and pages of Tilda things.
There was news of a new small book. Only it is in Norwegian -- and with a different title, but that's Tilda for ya. The new larger book, Tilda's Studio, has a different cover and title than the Norwegian edition.
Heavenly Tilda angels!
I considered getting the new Christmas one in Norwegian, but with Panduro, orders have to total more than I am able spend in Euros before they will process the order. Sigh. This is like not having lemons when you want to make a lemon loaf.
But then, late night brain wave me -- and it wasn't about lemons.
I searched Book Depository, which is based in Guernsey in the Channel Islands off the coast of the UK. They ship for free anywhere in the world, and they have an awesome inventory. There it was, a pre-order option -- and in English. It is so "pre-order" they don't have a photo of the cover yet. No matter. Me want.
Click. Click. Click. Done.
However, I am still loving the catalogue, even though it would cost me the earth to buy anything in it. Sometimes, it's all about the eye candy.

Saturday, September 3, 2011

Lunchtime just got cute!

Styling lunch bag for back to university!
Ayumi@Pink Penguin has a wonderful set of tutorials. This is the second time I've done this bento box bag. The first one I did earlier this summer was a challenge because I kept messing up the instructions. This time, I slowed down, pressed every seam very well -- and took my time. I only had to unpick the handles -- and that was because I wasn't happy with the top stitching!
The details...
This bag is birthday gift/back to school present for a young friend who is finishing up her undergrad degree this year. She'll be putting long hours in at school and at her job, so I thought she might appreciate a cute lunch tote.
What you can't see is the red polka dot lining -- a water resistant fabric that Suddenly Sandra brought me back from her last jaunt stateside -- a treasure from Joanne's remnant bin hunt. Not only does this stuff resist water, it holds it! I poured some water into the little cone you get when you cut off the boxed corner of the lunch bag. It could have been a drinking glass! It will be great to keep a little spill of salad dressing or whatever from spoiling the interior.
Now, I move onto the toddler present portion of my sewing projects for this week. I will post pics of them after they are presented to the young man in question. I can't wait to meet him -- I've only seen him in pictures.
In the meantime, check out Pink Penguin. There's almost always something cute, useful and artsy going on over there -- and sometimes, there are fabric treats listed on Etsy, but more on that later as well.