Saturday, June 30, 2012

Gone fishin'

Heyho, it's off to lake we go!
Wall hanging ... WIP by the lake
We are heading off to our annual reading fest by the lake. The DH and I look like lumps on logs, parked by the lake from morning until evening, reading from our ebook libraries.
After dinner, we take a little boat cruise on the lake to watch the sun go down.
I know, it sounds like sloth disguised as a vacation. But honestly, it is my dream break.
I also bring a large hand sewing project with me. This is year, it it a wall hanging from Quilts and More Winter 2011.
I collected up numerous Sweet Water Homegrown fabrics, as well as some neutral backgrounds. This stuff is rarer than hens' teeth around here, so it took a while to find what I wanted. I found three packages of charm squares on sale at Quilt A Bag, and that was a tremendous help in getting the house appliques looking the way I wanted them to look. The background blocks are 10 inches square, so I had to improvise a bit.
Christmas in nearly July...
I did all the little house applique pieces yesterday. I do a cheater version of needle turn applique. Right sides together, I sew muslin to the piece, clip the curves and corners, make a slit in the muslin, and turn the shape right side out. Then, I just sit by the lake and stitch the applique to the blocks.
Hopefully, I will make such stunning progress, the wall hanging will be ready for its close up when I get back.

In the meantime, here is a photo of one of the projects I created for the Festive 2012 issue of A Needle Pulling Thread. The deadline for this issue was the end of June. I must admit, it was a challenge writing about festive gift giving as the temps here soared. I love the way these projects turned out, so I hope the readers do as well!
Catch ya later!

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Sew, pack and go!

Our friend Amanda is on holiday right now.
She took a really nice set of bags with her (if I do say myself, and I do).
Sandra and I did a zipper/tote bag set for Amanda's adventures.
We also entered it in the Purse Palozza challenge. Find out more about that here.
Sandra found the fabric for the set on a $2 a yard clearance table in the United States a while back. Amanda really liked the set, and is looking forward to looking stylish on her travels.
This pattern is from Sew Pretty Homestyle by Tone Finnanger.
The kanzashi flower is the "pointy" style, which is a bit of a departure for me. I usually do the rounded petal ones. I am getting better at folding them though. I have found that less pressing with the iron is the key for me.
Sandra's zippered pouches are, as ever, both useful and cute.
Well done to us, I say!

Friday, June 15, 2012

Miss B went to Europe and brought me Tilda

Miss B celebrated earning her undergrad degree with a dream trip to the UK and a bit of Paris.
It was a wonderful opportunity, and she enjoyed every minute. She also went shopping a time or two, and she brought me several Tilda things and some Cath Kidson note cards. Miss B knows her mama well, bless her!
It felt like Christmas, honestly. (I may have squealed a couple of times.)
She has made me promise to actually use my treasures. I will try, but you know, it's Tilda. I won't be squandering it...
In other news, I harvested the first bit of my lavender. So lovely.
We had such a mild winter, I was a bit worried the plants had not fared well. There was a bit of winter kill, but lavender, like many shrubs, sprouts from the previous year's growth. Thankfully, I resisted the urge to prune too early. Most of the plants renewed themselves quite well, and even the winter killed bits have developed some lovely new growth at the base. I pruned the winter kill as I harvested the new buds. Now the plants look pretty as well as being productive. (That's MY long-term goal :-).....)
I am no gardener, but I have developed a genuine love of lavender. It is such fun to be able to use the lavender I have grown in my crafting.
I have three new plants in containers on the deck. In early fall, I will transplant them into the garden. This is the best way I have found to have well established shrubs that will survive year after year. The added bonus of growing lavender is that your hands smell so nice after working in the garden.

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

New beginnings and joyful bunting

Celebratory bunting in Queen's U colours

Paper Pieced gift pouch
Yesterday, we celebrated with my darling girl and her friends as they graduated from Queen's University. Miss B earned her Bachelor of Arts (Honours) in Psychology, and will continue her education in the University of Ontario Institute of Information Technology's Bachelor of Education program starting in the fall. She wants to be an elementary school teacher.
There is no truth to the rumour that she will be doing research into the causes and long term effects of textile hoarding -- that is just her environment -- not her life's work.
No, her life's work will give me endless opportunities to sew and craft things for her classroom. So, really, a dream come true for me! I see a new Pintrest board coming on...
I did a few little things to celebrate her big day. I made some bunting in the Queen's U colours, and I did paper pieced blocks -- hearts in the same colours -- for her and her best friends.
Once the blocks were finished, I turned them into a little gift pouches, filled with fancy bath products and a bookstore gift card -- with instructions to get a trashy novel or two for the summer. (They have read enough serious works for now, I think.)
I made little quilt sleeves for the back of the blocks and ran a thin dowel through them, attached some hemp string, and they can hang them up if they wish.
It was so much fun to make some little keepsakes for clever young women who have been good friends and supporters to one another, and who deserve some down-time after all the hard work.
As we waited for the time appointed to retrieve her hood and gown, and pick up the convocation tickets, we had a nice breakfast and I was actually allowed to visit a lovely Kingston quilt store called Quilt and Stitch. I think my dear ones thought this might stop the tide of sentimental tears that kept flowing all day long. They were quite wrong, of course, but I didn't turn the trip down. I may be sappy, but I'm not silly ...
At the store, I found some Reunion by Sweet Water and some 40 per cent off Fig Tree and Co.'s Breakfast at Tiffany's. I also scored some little bits and pieces. More on that on another day.
After all our hot weather, my first crop of lavender is ready for harvesting. I am off to do that.
Have a handmade sort of day!

Friday, June 8, 2012

Tilda is at it again!

This is Rian's shop logo
I belong to a facebook group called the Craft Cafe. They are a great bunch, and we seem to chat almost everyday about what we are up to with sewing, baking and various other handmade projects.
The group is largely European, so I have to suffer through seeing all the lovely Tilda fabrics, papers, stickers and various other products I can't get easily.
The girls of the cafe are friendly, supportive and fun. Their personalities just sparkle through their posts and the lovely photos they put up on the page.
One of the cafe girls, Rian, lives in Holland. She also recently launched a web shop entirely devoted to Tilda. The site is in Dutch and English, and Rian is willing and ready to help with any language challenges. I think I have finally found a place to get my little Tilda crowns.
Just recently, Rian shared with us that the new winter line has been launched, and she's placed an order for all sorts of products from it.
There is also a new Tilda book!
This means that the English version won't be available to pre-order until late July or mid-August. The quick screen shots Rian shared with us in the cafe were inspiring. There are lovely cream/burgundy floral prints, along with some fun wintry projects. The angel on the front cover of the book is tucked up in a bed with a lovely eiderdown. I might have to make her, and then try to explain to my nearest and dearest about why I seem to be playing with dolls all of a sudden.
I know, it is sort of weird to be so attached the work of one designer, but I think the whole Tilda esthetic speaks to me on some sort of elemental level. In short, Tilda makes me happy.
And now, I have a new book to look forward to, as well as a source for the supplies. I promise to keep my fellow English-speaking Tilda fans posted about when the new Tilda Winter book is available for pre-order. Watch this space!