Wednesday, July 29, 2009

My 50th blog post!

The super-secret wedding gift was completed last Wednesday and the wedding took place on Friday; I think it’s now safe to show what has been taking up most of my sewing/crafting time for the past two months.

This is the first proper quilt that I’ve ever made. I felt a little bad over giving it away because it would have been nice to have my first one but it was made with love. I don’t even know where the idea to make Jenna and Joel a quilt came from but as soon as it sprung into my head I began planning. I saw the Arcadia collection from Moda (all of the non-chocolate brown fabrics are from this collection) and fell in love with it. I came up with the pattern myself and just ran with it. Each small block is made using five different fabrics and then paired with another small block in the same colourway to form a larger block with a small strip of chocolate brown joining them. The centre large block was something that I came up with because I wanted to throw in something different and I wanted to show off some of the fabrics with larger prints. Here a picture that’s a bit closer up so that you can see the blocks in more detail.

It measures about 3.5 feet by 6 feet. I did the backing in tan and the binding in ivory, and it’s machine quilted (I knew there was no time for hand quilting). It didn’t turn out exactly as I hoped but I am proud of it and I hope that Jenna and Joel like it. I was hoping to get some better pictures of the quilt outside in the sun but it rained from Wednesday to Friday so these will have to do. I really wanted some great ones since it was my first.

If you look closely at the bottom of the top picture (on the floor) you can see the initial laying out of fabric for my next quilt. It’s actually almost done already; I’ve finished the quilt top and it is currently spread on the living room floor sandwiched with the batting and flannel backing. It just needs to be quilted and I’m going to do it by hand while we’re at the cottage. I’m not keeping this one for myself either. Alex’s best friend and his wife recently welcomed their first baby, a little girl named Lucy, and I’m making this quilt for her. It’s not very big, being baby-sized and all (it’s about 2 feet by 3 feet), so it’s not taking as long as the last one. I’m really happy with it so far. I’m also just finishing up some birthday presents for Alex’s nephew Joshua and I will share pictures as soon as they’re done.

We had a ton of fun at Romeo and Juliet weekend before last…other than that part where we got rained on and I had to sit through the whole play with a wet bum (the blanket and my pants got wet in the rain). Juliet was kind of annoying and I think that the actress tried to play her too much like how a fourteen year old would act now, but it was really well done and it was nice to be outside and to see friends.

Alex and I will be leaving for the cottage on Saturday and won’t be back for two weeks, so I will be MIA during this period. I may have internet access on my Blackberry but I don’t know yet. I’m planning on doing one more blog post before we leave but if for some reason I can’t I hope that everyone has a great two weeks and please (with sprinkles on top) don’t forget about me while I’m gone.

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Happy one year blogiversary to me!

I realized this morning that yesterday was my one year blogiversary, so happy blogiversary to me! It’s been a fun year and I really do enjoy writing my blog, even if I don’t get to write as often as I’d like. I’ve met some really great, nice people and I hope that continues.

Alex and I went gallivanting around Toronto today. We started out with a stop at the Eaton’s Centre where Alex picked up a couple of new ties at Sears. Then we headed to Wilson’s Fly Fishing Shop on Queen East and Alex bought some flies for fishing at the cottage in August. We jumped on the streetcar and headed towards Queen West but ended having to get off early because of a streetcar diversion; we decided to walk the rest of the way and it was lovely as we got to look at other stores and stopped into one (Drake Hotel General Store) on the way to our (my) destination. Alex also commandeered my camera and took some pictures. Here’s one of me; you can see Alex in the window reflection behind me.

Finally we arrived at The Workroom. The Workroom is a gorgeous sewing/crafting space/fabric store. Not only does The Workroom sell an array of beautiful, hard-to-find (in Canada) fabrics, books, and sewing notions they also hold workshops and classes and have sewing machines and sergers that you can rent by the hour in store. It’s a bit out of my way to go to all the time, but I do like to support independent shops when I can and they do carry fabrics that I love (although I think even with exchange and shipping it might be cheaper at times still to buy them online). Here’s what I bought today:

From left to right, they are: Tortoise Shell from the Neptune collection by Tula Pink for Moda, a floral stripe from the My Folklore collection by Lecien, and Sweet Jasmine in grey from the Daisy Chain collection by Amy Butler.

We then headed up to Kensington Market where we had lunch at the Firewood Grill (all organic) and it was sooooooooo good! I had been wanting to take Alex to Good Egg for awhile so we headed over there and browsed around. It’s such a lovely store and I want to buy almost everything I see. We headed back home after that and plopped on the couch. Now we’re heading out the door to see Romeo and Juliet at Shakespeare in the Park. I hope you’re all having a lovely weekend!

Thursday, July 16, 2009

There are no rules of architecture for a castle in the clouds. -G.K. Chesterton

This morning I went to the University and did my course selections for the fall, or at least I enrolled in the courses that are open right now. I had to do some shifting around to fit the core courses I needed in, but all in all I think it will work out.

Trish over at Two Peas in a Pod does a giveaway every month on her blog and I was the winner for May! I received this darling t-shirt last week (I believe) that Trish handmade for me. Head on over to her blog and her Etsy shop and check her out!

I’m currently reading the first volume of Lucy Maud Montgomery’s journals. I’ve read it (and some of the other volumes) in fits and starts over the years but decided after I finished Anne of Green Gables (again) to start reading them straight through from the beginning. It’s interesting so far and I’m really enjoying it. Interesting enough there was an article published in The Guardian the other day about the release of the “lost” Lucy Maud Montgomery book, The Blythes are Quoted, which is due out this October. The Blythes are Quoted was published in 1974 without the anecdotes and poems between stories as The Road to Yesterday. Benjamin Lefebvre, who runs The Lucy Maud Montgomery Research Group and is a Montgomery scholar, edited this collection and I’m very surprised that his name wasn’t even mentioned in the article. There is also an interesting follow up post about this article, also published on The Guardian site.

There was also a fun article published in the National Post a couple of weeks ago about Vanessa Brown who won second place in Canada’s first national book-collecting contest. She won for her Lucy Maud Montgomery collection; it is gorgeous and I want it. Or maybe I could just be her friend and she’d let me stare at it…I promise I wouldn’t steal anything…honest.

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Reading well is one of the great pleasures that solitude can afford you. -Harold Bloom

Things are going alright around here. I still haven’t found a job and I’m just trying to stay positive and upbeat although it’s pretty hard. I’ve been trying to fill my days by working on projects, baking, and reading. I’m moving along quite well on that super-secret project for my high school best friend’s wedding; it’s in a couple of weeks and then I’ll post pictures of the gift.

I have a few vintage Lucy Maud Montgomery books that I’ve been meaning to share and today I finally have the time to show two of them (there are still three to go). The first is Kilmeny of the Orchard.

This particular volume is a first edition, seventh impression (October 1911) and is in pretty rough shape. As with the book below I got it for a decent price and frankly just owning it makes me happy. I absolutely adore the frontispiece and three interior colour illustrations, but unfortunately I’m not able to show them due to camera issues. Even though Kilmeny of the Orchard is considered by many to be an overly sentimental book I do love it and find great escape every time I read it.

The book below is a first edition, third impression (June 1920) copy of Further Chronicles of Avonlea.

Further Chronicles of Avonlea has a very interesting story actually. Lucy Maud Montgomery had grown increasingly unhappy with her original publishers, L.C. Page and Co. of Boston, and in 1916 decided to change publishers to McClelland, Goodchild & Stewart of Toronto (Stokes handled publishing in the US). In 1918 Maud brought suit against L.C. Page for holding back royalties, and for the intent to publish material without her consent (among other things). This unauthorized publication is Further Chronicles of Avonlea. Basically what the Page Company did was take stories that had been rejected for publication in the book Chronicles of Avonlea (1912), revise them (without permission), and slap Further Chronicles of Avonlea on the cover. Obviously these stories are still work written by Maud (many of the stories were material that had been previously published in magazines and edited to include references to Anne), but the Page Company published this work after their contract was expired, revised the works further without a thought to propriety, and tried to pass off this book as another Anne story (a major seller, note the red hair of the girl on the cover). Maud did end up winning her case against the Page Company, but they still retained rights to all material they had published and ended up selling the film rights to Anne of Green Gables for much more money than they had to pay Maud in settlement.

I’m actually re-reading Anne of Green Gables right now. I don’t even want to hazard a guess at how many times I’ve read this book (or any other Maud book for that matter). I’m enjoying it of course and think that I may continue and read more Maud when I’m done. I have read so many books in the time that I’ve been off and I think they deserve their very own, separate post (which I will do soon…hopefully).

Saturday, July 4, 2009

Liberty is the breath of life to nations. -George Bernard Shaw

Happy Independence Day to all of my American friends!

This is a little cuff bracelet that I made for my friend Mo yesterday (she's originally from Nebraska but now lives in Toronto). I wanted to make a little something special for her since she's throwing a Fourth of July party tonight. I hope she likes it!

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Swappy Swap Swapage!

Happy Canada Day! Wow, it has been quite awhile since I last posted! My computer is broken and so I’m using Alex’s computer to do this post. I’m not going to share everything I have ready today but I really wanted to at least share what I received from Dionne in the swap.

Dionne is so sweet and I really love everything that she sent to me! I received the package last Monday (as luck would have it the same day that Dionne received mine) and this is the first chance I’ve had to post about it.

Everything was wrapped up in the piece of fabric that you can see underneath and was tied with pink ribbon. Dionne actually designed the fabric herself (oh Spoonflower, how I love you); isn’t she just so talented? I haven’t decided what I’m going to use it for yet but I have a couple of ideas. The little bag of buttons will definitely come in handy and I love the colours. The cookie cutters are super-cute; if you can’t tell from the cover off the box the cutters have a little lip in them so that when the cookies are baked they can be hooked on the edge of a mug. I almost bought a set of mini alphabet stamps a little while ago when I ordered some Heather Bailey and Amy Butler papers from Etsy, and now I’m really glad that I didn’t since the ones that Dionne sent are absolutely darling! I actually used them last week to stamp the greeting on a card that I made for my Grandparents for their 60th wedding anniversary.

This bookmark and bookplate set is absolutely my most favourite thing that Dionne sent (so sorry for the blurriness, I really need a new camera). Again the ever-talented Dionne designed and made these for me too! Each bookmark has a different picture on the front and a different quote from either Lucy Maud Montgomery or Jane Austen. This set was made especially for me, but you can check out Dionne’s Etsy shop for more of her beautiful goodies. Thanks Dionne, you are awesome!

I completely forgot to take pictures of the goodies that I sent to Dionne until after I had taped up her package, so of course I don’t have any. When Dionne posts her pictures of my swap package I’ll post a link here for everyone to follow. I’m very proud of some of the things I made especially since I couldn’t use my sewing machine and had to sew everything by hand.

I didn’t get a chance to share the last of the fabrics that I bought, so here ya go! First up is a set of five inch Heather Bailey squares from her Pop Garden collection; I absolutely adore them. I’ve never been much of a pink girl, but I absolutely love it in fabric.

This next set is another grouping from Amy Butler’s Daisy Chain collection. I showed a set a few posts ago that are larger and are only in the grey colourway. These ones are all four inches and are to go with the aforementioned larger set.

That’s it for now, but I will try to post again as soon as I can to share some other things I’ve been up to.