Wednesday, October 28, 2009

My Very First Giveaway!

I mentioned a few posts ago that I wanted to do a giveaway in honour of the readers who have been with me for awhile and all of the new people who found my blog via Amy’s Blogger’s Quilt Festival (everyone can enter though). Well the day is finally here – welcome to my first giveaway!

I’m so excited to be doing this! I’ve won a few giveaways in the past and I love the anticipation of waiting for your goodies to appear in the mail. Actually I recently won a giveaway from Fig Tree & Co. hosted by Pink Chalk Studios, here’s what I won.

It’s a copy of Fresh Vintage, Fig Tree & Co’s quarterly pattern magazine. It includes patterns, book reviews, recipes and more. I really love it and might need to get a subscription; you can read about it here. I absolutely love Fig Tree so this was the perfect thing for me to win! Joanna (owner of Fig Tree) actually stopped by my blog in August and left a comment on Madeleine the Monkey because I used fabrics from the Mill House Inn collection in her construction, isn’t that sweet?

Okay, now on to the giveaway! There is a bit of a story that goes along with the making of this item, but I think I’ll show it to you first! How does that sound? Good? Okay!

It’s a scarflette! Sorry about the picture, but I had to take it of myself using the timer on my camera and a chair (don’t ask, it was quite a production). I like the idea of scarflette’s because they don’t bunch up under your jacket like a normal scarf, they’re lighter and smaller to wear when it’s chilly (but not freezing), and because they button (or at least this one does) you don’t need to worry about it shifting or gaping too much at the neck. This is the first scarflette I’ve ever made and I designed the pattern myself. The materials are a tweedy wool, quilting cotton, the floral is a cotton lawn (not Liberty, but still really nice), and the button (I think) is a plastic resin but it looks like wood. It’s backed with a soft, heavier weight cotton in chocolate brown with a white circle design. I’m kinda proud of myself I must admit.

Do you want to hear my story now? Okay, so I finished a quilt top on Saturday/Sunday morning and then decided to get going on the scarflette. The idea had been churning in my head for awhile, but I wanted to get the quilt top done first. Everything was going good until I got to sewing the last piece of cotton to the length of my scarf; I got about 2 inches into it and then my sewing machine JUST STOPPED!

You’re going to need a little background info here: I had a Singer Stylist 513 that I absolutely loved, but unfortunately the Singer Stylists suffer from belt and gear rot and while sewing the cushion covers for our living room one of the gears inside the machine disintegrated. I was devastated, and wasn’t able to get it fixed (that’s another story). I then borrowed one of my Grandmother’s Kenmore sewing machines from the 70s, but really hated it. I mentioned (in this post) that my Mum was contemplating buying me a new sewing machine for my birthday, but instead my Grandparents ended up getting me a Singer Stylist 514 (they thought it was the same model as my 513). I only got it two weeks ago and hadn’t had a chance to even blog about it yet, but it’s broken too! I’m so upset. I’m going to look at a Janome RX 18S tonight that is a really good price and seems to be in good condition (does anyone have this machine? What do you think?). My Mum offered to buy it for me as my Christmas present. I’ll be kind of sad to not get any presents on Christmas, but at least I’ll have a (good quality) working sewing machine.

Basically I ended up having to hand sew the last two pieces and the backing onto the scarflette, but now it’s done, so yay! If you’d like to see pictures of the scarflette a little bigger or close-up, check them out on my Flickr. Okay, so here’s what you need to do:

Anyone can enter; you don’t need to be a follower of my blog or anything like that - although it would be nice ;)

Leave a comment on this post with anything you like – although if it’s complimentary that would be nice too! Oh, and if you don’t mind, I think it would be neat to see where everyone lives, so leave your city and state/province/etc in the comments (if this makes you uncomfortable, don’t worry about it).

The giveaway is also open internationally, I don’t mind shipping anywhere.

The giveaway will be open for one week and I will announce the winner either next Wednesday or Thursday.

Good luck everyone! Please come back again to see who the winner is, and hopefully whoever that person is will supply me with a photo of them wearing the scarflette when they receive it.

*The giveaway is now closed*

Friday, October 23, 2009

I love Fall!

Just because the fall leaves (and my rain boots) make me happy!

Taken with my Blackberry while tromping through the fall leaves of Toronto in search of prescription drugs...really I was just on my way home from picking up a prescription at the pharmacy, but that sounds more dangerous.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

My Creative Space Today

This is what my creative space looks like today. If you’ve been around here for a bit you’ll remember this post where I shared all the places where I create in our apartment, since I don’t have the room for a dedicated workspace. The kitchen table is where my sewing machine lives (unless I actually put it in its case) and this is the creative space I’m sharing for today as part of Kootoyoo’s creative-space-show-along (okay, it’s only me that calls it that).

Yesterday I tried English paper piecing for the first time; it was pretty fun! This is the first block I made. Most of the fabrics are from the new Mill House Inn collection from Fig Tree, but there are also a couple of pieces mixed in from the scrap bags I got over the weekend and a couple from my stash.

Head on over to Kootoyoo’s if you’d like to check out some more creative spaces.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Creativ Festival!

Erica and I headed to Creativ Festival here in Toronto on Saturday. We had a great time! Basically Creativ Festival is a big gathering with venders selling supplies (sewing, knitting, scrapbooking, etc), product displays, classes, how-to’s, and seminars. It was pretty fun; I got a lot of sewing (and some knitting) supplies and Erica bought some yarn and knitting patterns. We also saw Kaffe Fassett in the food court area! I got a picture of him, but it was only from behind so I’m not going to share it here.

Unfortunately taking pictures was prohibited at the Festival (I probably shouldn’t have taken that picture of Kaffe even from behind), but I did take pictures of my haul to share with you. I got some great stuff, and all for really great prices!

I’m not very good at knitting and I only do scarves (hah!) but I picked up some bigger needles and wool. I didn’t realize until after I bought them, but those needles actually grow in the dark, isn’t that funny? I also picked up 4 skeins of wool-cotton soy blend to make myself a winter scarf. The progress on Alex’s scarf (navy and grey stripes) is coming along well, and hoping to be able to start mine soon so that it will be done in time for winter.

I picked up some great fabric including two metres of Heather Bailey Painted Mum in cream (so super-cheap, if I had had more cash on me I would have bought more), a 1920s reproduction fat quarter that I thought was pretty, and a “Have a Sheri Berry Holiday” charm pack of 42 squares (2 of each print in the collection).

I also got 7 fat quarters from Denyse Schmidt’s Katie Jump Rope collection. I just love Denyse, she’s so talented and I love every fabric collection she’s ever had. There are many people out there who are in love with Denyse and especially her line Flea Market Fancy (we call ourselves Flea Market Fancy Freaks) and boy, do I have a surprise with the next couple of pictures.

I picked up three scrap bags because I’ve been thinking about making a string quilt. But wait, what’s that you say? It couldn’t be, surely not in a (super-cheap) scrap bag?!

Oh yes my friends, that is exactly what you thought it was. A piece of Flea Market Fancy (specifically green daisy dot)! I think it’s about ¼ metre (plus there’s another small scrap) but I haven’t ironed or measured it. I was very excited to spot it although I have no idea what I’ll do with it right now. But that doesn’t matter, because with this fabric, whatever it is will turn out great!

I also found some more Free Spirit scraps, some April Cornell, a large piece from Robyn Pandolph’s Captured in Time collection, and about three large cuts of fabric from the Look and Learn collection from American Jane for Moda in my bags. There are probably some other great designer scraps in my bags, but I haven’t had a chance to figure out what all of them are yet although I definitely recognize some.

So that is my haul from the Festival, and is, I think, the last bit of fabric buying I’ll be doing for awhile because of school. I’m glad that Erica and I were able take a little break from schoolwork to go because it really was a fun experience.

I’m hoping to have the giveaway I mentioned before up by the beginning of next week, but right now I need to get back to working on a paper. I hope everyone’s weekend was wonderful, oh and if anybody has some ideas, I’d like to know what people might be interested in seeing in my Etsy shop once it’s open.

"Take your needle, my child, and work at your pattern; it will come out a rose by and by. Life is like that - one stitch at a time taken patiently and the pattern will come out all right like the embroidery." -Oliver Wendell Holmes

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Constant use will not wear ragged the fabric of friendship. -Dorothy Parker

First of all, I just need to say thank you to all of the people who stopped by my blog and left comments (75 so far and another 25-30 email comments) as part of Amy’s Blogger’s Quilt Festival. You guys are just awesome and I really appreciate all of your sweet words, encouragement, and quilting tips. In honour of all you lovely people who’ve said you’ll be back to my blog, and all of the wonderful readers who have been with me for awhile, I will be hosting a giveaway within the next couple of weeks. Things are a bit crazy around here right now because of school, but I’m hoping that if I get a little bit of time to plan in advance that everything will go swimmingly.

This past weekend Alex and I went up to my Mum’s house to celebrate (Canadian) Thanksgiving and my birthday. My birthday was actually last Monday, but I was born on Thanksgiving weekend so my birthday has always been celebrated with my family then. My Mum made turkey, mashed potatoes, roasted carrots, and mixed green and yellow beans for dinner, and for dessert we had ice cream cake (my birthday cake), pumpkin pie, and grasshopper pie. It was great – thanks Mum!

As part of my birthday present my Mum took me to Fabricland (the one up there is so much better than the dungeon-like one I go to here in Toronto). I usually like to buy a lot of my fabrics online or at The Workroom since the more modern American designers’ fit my tastes more, but I often get my small-scale florals and solids, and notions at Fabricland. My Mum bought me my Fabricland membership for this year (25-50% off, yay!) and then she used the discount to get me another cutting mat, a new rotary cutter (mine was super cheap), new blades, an acrylic ruler, a measuring gauge, and a couple of other small things. She also bought me some fabric!

Fabricland only recently began carrying fat quarters (both pre-packaged and ones they cut in store) so I picked these 5 out.

I also picked up a few metres of these fabrics. The ones on either end are the same print but in different colourways and they’re lawn! I love lawn! These just so happen to be the same print (but in blue) that I used when I made my fabric bracelet which I shared a few posts back.

She also bought me this awesome pack of 26 different Guttermann threads, bring on the sewing!

My Mum is pretty cool, eh? I have some other things to share with you all, but no time right now. I’m running out to class in half and hour and am still wearing my pyjamas!

Friday, October 9, 2009

Blogger's Quilt Festival!

Well, as a lot of you know this weekend is Fall Quilt Market in Houston. I, of course, am not there (but I want to go so badly!), so I’m taking part in the Blogger’s Quilt Festival that Amy is hosting. Amy planned this event so that all of us who weren’t going to market could get up to a little fun ourselves. The idea is to show a quilt (or two) and tell their story. Many quilters’ will be showing their quilts, so head on over to Amy’s and check the Mr. Linky to read about everyone else’s quilts.

Pull up a seat, grab a mug of tea (or whatever you want, and if you choose to spike it I promise I’ll look the other way), and sit around the fire. You can even put your bunny-slippered feet up on my coffee table if you’d like, I don’t mind.

I have only made two ‘proper’ quilts in my life so far (not including the little ones I used to make for my miniature dollhouse as a child), and am currently working on my third which is a pinwheel quilt using print from Joel Dewberry’s Chestnut Hill collection and Kona cotton.

I don’t really know where the original idea came to quilt. I always thought it was something I would never be able to do – it just seemed so complicated and time-consuming. Then something weird happened: I was looking online for fabric one day and saw some, Arcadia from Moda, that I thought my friend Jenna (who was getting married a few months later) would like. All of a sudden the thought just struck me, “you should make Jenna a quilt as her wedding gift”. Before I knew it I had purchased the fabric, and then the nerves set in. I didn’t know how I was possibly going to make a quilt when I had never come close to making a ‘proper’ one before and didn’t have anyone to show me the basics. The fabric arrived and it sat for awhile, but then sometime in May inspiration struck and I began cutting. I didn’t use a pattern (probably my first mistake) and just came up with something on my own. It took longer than I’d hoped (it was only finished two days before the wedding) and I think it came out a little wonky (although other people tell me they can’t see what’s wrong with it).

I was a little sad to give away my first quilt, but it was made with a lot of love. Jenna says that she loves it and has put it on the bed in her spare room.

The second quilt I made was a baby quilt. It went so much smoother than the first one! Again, I didn’t use a pattern, but I really like the way it turned out and I love the colours. This one was made for a brand new baby girl named Lucy, whose father is one of Alex’s best friends. This mostly uses fabric from Amy Butler’s Midwest Modern collection, and the sashing is ivory/white cotton with little flowers that I picked up at Fabricland.

I was really happy with this quilt, and Tasha (Lucy’s Mum) has informed me that people really like it and keep asking her where she got it. Maybe when I actually get my Etsy shop set up (on hold right now because my sewing machine is apparently possessed), little baby quilts like this will be included.

Thank you everyone for stopping by, especially those new visitors who has found me via the Blogger’s Quilt Festival. I hope that you’ll stick around and maybe we can become friends. I’m really a very nice and interesting person (that was a joke, but really, I am nice and occasionally interesting).

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

A book is like a garden carried in the pocket. -Chinese Proverb

I just realized that I complete forgot to post a picture of the little bag I made for Mo for her birthday. I made it using the Buttercup Bag patter from MadeByRae. The picture is horrible partly because the lighting as bad and party because I forgot to take a picture of it until right before I went to wrap it; trust me it’s a lot cuter in person.

On another note, I found out the other day that my Mum reads my blog (Hi Mum!), so now I need to be careful not to show any pictures of things I’m making for her before she receives them. I had to tell her not to look too far back through my posts because I show some pictures and talk about what I’m making her for Christmas (it says birthday in the original post, but I just was not able to finish it by then, so I made her Madeleine instead).

I keep saying that I’m going to show more pictures of my vintage Lucy Maud Montgomery books and then life gets in the way and I forget to do it. Here’s a picture of my 1954 Harrap (British) edition of Anne of Ingleside.

This is my first edition (1919) edition of Rainbow Valley. The cover is a little beat up but it’s really not so bad and the interior frontispiece is gorgeous (tissue paper intact).

I have at least two more books to show, including one that I got for free on the weekend!

Monday, October 5, 2009

Happy Birthday to Kate Winslet, Alexander Keith, and ME!

I originally started writing this post just before midnight because I had to wait up until 12:04am for my Mum to call me. That’s what time I was born and so she calls me at that time every year (yes, that’s late for me to stay up, but it’s definitely better than being born at 3:30am or something and having her call me then). After getting off the phone I realized that I was definitely too tired to stay awake and finish posting, so now I continue.

On Saturday night we had friends over for a little party. Alex got me a chocolate cake with a coffee meringue frosting from here, and it was super-good! I received a couple of presents – James got me this, and Mo and Dilan got me this and a set of pretty ceramic measuring cups from here. Then we all headed out to see the sights at Nuit Blanche.

This is the crazy bunny we saw strung up in the Eaton’s Centre. I didn’t actually like much of what we saw (I know that sounds bad), but a lot of it just did not seem new or interesting. I really enjoyed going through the Royal Conservatory of Music. They’ve recently renovated and expanded and they did a gorgeous job!

We aren’t able to do birthday dinner tonight so last night Alex took me to The Sultan’s Tent. They serve a four-course Moroccan meal (I had harira, hummus and zaalouk, couscous royale, and brulee royale), and there’s a belly-dancing show!

I couldn’t get a better picture of the dancer because she was all over the place, but she was really good. Also, because it was my birthday they sent over this little cake that looked like a fez. I couldn’t eat it all, I was just way too stuffed after four courses (and bread).

At midnight Alex got out of bed and gave me my presents. He gave me the Danica Neema laptop bag, a Jane Austen action figure, and some candy. I love my baby!

I have a bunch of other stuff that I want to show and talk about, but I have no time right now – I have way too much work to do!