Tuesday, August 30, 2011

A perfect day to meet a new old friend...

Blue-ti-ful drawstring bag & utterly charming squares
Quilt-a-Bag treasures -- strawberry purse handles!
 Today, Sandra and Susan -- a fellow SRRS (scholastic residence relocation specialist) met up for a day out that included lunch and a trip to Quilt a Bag in Markham, Ontario.
We have been "visiting" with Susan for sometime now through her blog. (Check out Susan's tutorial for her grommet gift bags)
She is in town to move her student into the new college semester, so we decided to get together.
What a wonderful day it was! We started chatting like dear old friends right away.
We did a little gift swap -- see my new blue drawstring bag and pretty charm squares? The bag has a polka dot top. Too delish!
At Quilt-a-Bag, we found wonderful fabric and bag making treasures. I love the new purse handles I found. They are strawberries! I also found red and white polka dot linen/cotton fabric. As ever, it was fun to visit Ann -- and we missed Phoebe who was away for the day.
Susan, Sandra and I really enjoyed our day out together, proving once again that those who sew make friends stitch by stitch.
Thank you ladies, this was a gift of a day!

Just bragging about this year's lavender...

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Moving out and moving in

"If I pose, will you go home?"
Today, our son moved into his dorm room. He packed pretty light -- in fact, he was missing a few essentials -- but he has a stylin' rag quilt.
This week, in addition to filling in some the gaps his boy brain allowed in his packing list (yes, you will need more than six pairs of socks for the school year) -- I will be making a present for another special little boy who is turning one very soon.
In less than two weeks, we will be meeting him for the first time since he was born. Hence, I have a deadline -- and a bit of secret, since many of the key players are readers of this blog.
View one has bobble trim!
The present will comprise a classic design for a cuddly toy, dressed in togs from a vintage pattern from 1957. I found the pattern on ebay not long ago, and paid a pittance for it. (I recently saw it listed from another seller for US$31.99!)  The second part of the gift comes from a pre-printed design panel gifted to me by my partner in all fabric crimes, Sandra. Intrigued, aren't you? I will take photos and post them as soon as the gift is given.
Speaking of vintage patterns, I found one at Value Village last week. It was published in 1969 and is for a groovy kaftan. Honestly, it is a very stylish Snuggy. I will be making myself one of these out of micro polar fleece for the coming winter. I might even elect to do View 1, featuring bobble trim because I do like me some bobble trim!
In other exciting news, we have a visitor from a foreign land visiting us this week. The visit will include lunch and a trip to a quilt store. Even more intrigue! I will write about that later -- there might even be photos.

Monday, August 22, 2011

A renewed case of Tilda love!

The last time I was a fan it was 1971 and Donny Osmond ruled my heart.
I begged for my room to be purple (that was Donny's fav colour). I wore out Puppy Love on my Swingster portable record player. I was allowed one poster, and it was taped to my closet door.
My Tilda library
In the summer of 1972, a friend and I won a radio phone in contest to get to ask Donny a question.
I asked him if her ever got nervous before he sang before thousands of screaming girls.
He started his answer by repeating my name. It was BLISS! I don't even remember his answer.
I got over it all by the time I discovered Queen, RUSH, Gordon Lightfoot and Ian Thomas.
My room, however, remained purple until the day I left my parents' home.
Fast forward a few decades and I find myself back in fandom. Although this time, it all about lovely fabrics, gorgeous photographs.
I speak, of course, of Tilda's world.
I just received the new book, Tilda's Studio,  in the mail on Friday. I took it to the cottage with me on the weekend to look it over. I am not disappointed. There are some reviewers who have expressed disappointment that the projects featured are not "new". What does this mean?
The book and treasures from Tilda's world
Tone Finnanger has been creating this brand, this palette, this esthetic for almost 10 years now. It is difficult to always come up with new, different and fresh. I think many of the projects featured in Tilda's Studio are the classics revisited. The photos are just as lovely, the ideas are presented with the same quirky vibe. I have already picked a waterlily to be my first project from the book, followed closely by a cockatiel.
In Europe, the Tilda brand includes scrapbook papers and accessories, as well as ribbons and notions. We can't get them here in North America. Nor can we easily get the fabrics, but my lovely friend Wendy has been kind (hugs to her) and now have some very special pieces of fabric which will likely find their way into the projects (if I can bring myself to cut them).
In the foreword, Tone writes that her mother passed away in March after a long, tough illness. The fact that this book came together, along with a new fabric line, is a testament to her work ethic and her commitment to the Tilda ideal.
The waterlily is project one!
She mentions in the foreword that creativity has been her therapy. I can relate to that on many levels. There is nothing so soothing to me than to pick up a needle, or sit before a machine and focus my energy on doing something positive when all the negative stuff is threatening to break down the door.
I think that is why I want to live in Tilda's world -- and I promise not to paint the walls purple!

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Friday Night Sew In: A mostly photo essay

Beginning to quilt the lining of my bag.
College boy and his ragged blanket!
Detail of the label: Steampunk cool!

 We took these photos because the boy came home from his friend's house before the light faded for the day.

Friday Night Sew In was another fun night at my house. Sandra came over and we worked and chatted away. As usual, I pulled things apart. The tote bag I did doesn't have a pocket because I could not make it work. So, I gave up. I am no hero -- especially over a pocket.
I still like the bag though. It has cute Japanese handles I found at Quilt a Bag in Markham ON. I made the bag once in the spring, but after a while I decided it was too tall. I cut it down and made a sturdy lining. Now it is ready for fall and winter's wet weather. It will eventually sport a Kanzashi flower.
Sandra made a bag designed to contain damp items, like washcloths used to wipe off baby faces. She planned to do another project, but forgot some things on her list, so did what she could, and then packed up for the night. All in all, another fun FNSI!

Friday night: pressing the quilted lining

Sandra's project and essential fuel.

Sandra coaxing waterproof fabric through my machine.

Cute Japanese handles: attach by hand, ice elbow, repeat.

Sadly, things on the list were not in Sandra's project bag.

Fabulous finishes for FNSI!

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Rag quilt construction 28 degrees with humidity=unconditional love

A work in progress...
The things you do for love -- here are the rag quilt blocks laid out and pined in their five by five rows.
I have been collecting the flannel remnants for this quilt for the past three years.
I did the first of my rag quilts for my daughter's dorm room, and I kept an eye out for some masculine patterns too, as I knew that one day I would be making one for my son's dorm room.
In days long gone, I would have been saving up old clothes for the project, but I don't think our cottons/flannel stand up to the same wear and tear as those of our ancestors.
I had cut out the blocks earlier this summer, when it wasn't quite so hot.
I am not a fan of the cutting process, and to speed things up, I made a cardboard template so I would rotary cut uniform squares more quickly than measuring them up. I had to do this because I was working with randomly sized remnants rather than goods off the bolt. Then it got quite warm around here for weeks on end, so I put the project aside. Bad mistake!
Fast forward to yesterday, when I realized I am now out of time (move in is next week), so hot weather be darned -- I had to quite literally get it together.
Ah, the joy of four layers of flannel on your lap as you feed them through the sewing machine on a 28-degree day (humidex 32). Even with the air conditioning (God bless it and keep it from harm), it was sweltering task.
It took me a while to do the layout, since I didn't have an over abundance of any one print. Once I got the rows pinned together, I numbered them using sticky notes so I would have the order right when I began construction of the rows.
Now that it is all together, I am using my ragging shears -- which are really cool little spring hinged snips -- to make tiny little snips on all the seams. I only got two rows and one edge done last night before I gave up for the night and a glass of sangria.
Here is a very comprehensive tutorial on the rag quilt process. I skipped using batting in between the flannel blocks -- so technically I have made a blanket. I also made my blocks huge because I am sort of lazy and I think it makes the blanket look more masculine with larger blocks. I also wash the quilts with a couple of towels using Ivory Snow. I find this baby laundry soap seems to help the seams fuzz (or bloom) better. But laundry is a far off dream right now.
The snipping continues...the snipping continues...the snipping continues...the snipping continues...

Monday, August 15, 2011

Just looking at IKEA fabric and other scenes from a Sunday

I am finally finished the major de-cluttering of the den. The dear ones took the old computer equipment to the electronic recycling facility. They said it looked like a scene from the movie, Wall-E. Where old electronics go to die...
Off to college...he grew up a lot
This week, I am working on my son's dorm room rag quilt. It consists of 13 inch squares of flannel in all kinds of colours. The quilt will be a surprise -- as long as he doesn't decide to read my blog this week...
I can't believe my boy is off to college next week (so much for just in time delivery).
The whole family ended up at IKEA yesterday to shop for his duvet, duvet cover, and sheets. We were going to see Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part II, and IKEA was right there.
We had time before the film started, so over we went. Normally, we don't go shopping as a family since dear husband HATES shopping.
Our son picked out a really funky blue dots design for the duvet cover and quite masculine navy blue sheets. His duvet is a lightweight one, on the advice of his sister. (She spent a year in a dorm slowly being steamed like a burrito every night because her duvet was too warm. I made her a quilt too and she uses it for TV watching and slumber parties)
He also bought some coat hangers, which if you knew him, you would find hilarious. Apparently, while living on his own, he plans to hang things up in a closet, as opposed to throwing them around the room as he does here at home.
It was quite a picture watching dear husband wheel the wonky-wheeled shopping cart around as dear daughter and I led the boys on a merry chase through the store. They kept muttering things about how often we go there because we knew where everything is...
At one point, I found myself in the textile section -- I don't know how that happens -- it just does. Anyway, I was admiring some cheerful red and white stripped ticking. Dear husband whipped around, cart and all: "Didn't you just get rid of fabric? Why are you looking at more?"
Fair question. Of course, I was JUST LOOKING. However, there was no need to create a scene.
I will post a photo when I get some squares sewn together for the rag quilt.
I would have posted the mountain of laundry I did today in order to pack the boy up for school, but who the heck needs to see something like that?
Although, I did manage to discover where all our large towels had gone...

Thursday, August 4, 2011

I got a lovely surprise in the mail!

A beautiful surprise!
A while ago, Susan @ supermomnocape started chatting back on forth on our blogs. She's got a great wealth of knowledge about saving money and not suffering through economizing. Susan is also a talented writer and an amazing textile artist.
I once sent her a little parcel that ended up cheering her day, and didn't she just send me one that lightened my mood considerably as well. It arrived on Tuesday.
Susan made me a lovely drawstring project bag, a sewing companion for my scissors and needles, and sent along some fat quarters from Moda's Fig Tree Buttercup range. It was such a surprise and so lovely of her to think of me.
I have been blogging for two years this month, and feel very blessed to have "met" so many wonderful souls like Susan.
There is a lot in my life that keeps me close to home, and I'm okay with that for the most part. However, my bloggy buddies -- in all the various part of the world -- have expanded what I know beyond these four walls. They help me learn new things, let me show off my work, and quite frequently, lift the bad moods that easily hover around my door.
Someone once asked me why I liked blogging, and didn't it matter to me that these weren't "real" friends? I thought about it for a minute. Here's what I decided: The world is big, the world is vast, and now the world is virtual. Real friends applaud your achievements, listen to your troubles, and laugh with you. My bloggy buddies tick those boxes. I am profoundly grateful for them.
So thank you Susan! As you know, this package went a long way to putting a smile back on my face. Hugs!