Sunday, February 28, 2010

Being slightly evasive, or I *heart* the BBC...your choice...

Woohoo, go Canada! As I write this, I'm watching the closing ceremony of the Olympics. While I'm always proud to be a Canadian, I just couldn't be happier right now with how well we've done. We've broken three records - our own medal count record for the Winter games, the record for most gold medals won by the host country, and the most gold medals by any country during the Winter Olympics. But what I'm really proud of is the spirit, courage, and joy displayed by our athletes - especially Joannie Rochette.

I found out we won the gold medal in men's hockey on my way home from my Toronto Modern Quilt Guild's a picture for you (taken with my BlackBerry, sorry)!

Lucky for all of us, the guy running around in his boxer briefs while waving the flag did not end up in this picture!

I realized while taking pictures for this post that I hadn't shared a picture of the super-nifty vintage Greist buttonholer I found at the Goodwill a few months back.


I didn't realize how dusty it was until I looked at this photo, but there ya go! I think it cost me $1.50 and I think it's really fun! I don't know if it actually works; I bought it when I still had one of the three evil sewing machines (none of which could sew a buttonhole) but never got the chance to try it out and now I have Genevieve (who can do buttonholes). It's basically now used as decoration, but I still think it's great!

I did a ton of schoolwork this week, but I still managed to sneak in a little sewing. Unfortunately, I can't really share it, but how about a little sneak peak? Here's a little bit of the quilt top I finished last night using fabrics from Amy Butler's Daisy Chain line.

I just need to finish the back, quilt it, bind it, and then it'll be done! And here's a little sneak peak of the fabric I'll be using for an upcoming secret project.


It's Forest Hills in sea, one of the new voile fabrics from Anna Maria Horner's  Little Folks collection. I just received it on Thursday in an order from Above All Fabric (that would be my friend Melanie's online store). I'm really hoping this project works out the way I'd like!

I just received my copy of the Cranford Collection on Tuesday and I love it! I've only watched two episodes of the first part so far, but it's great - Judi Dench rocks! For those who don't know Cranford and Return to Cranford are BBC mini-series adaptations of Elizabeth Gaskell's book Cranford. I also picked up a copy of the BBC's most recent adaptation of Thomas Hardy's Tess of the D'Urbervilles at my local used bookstore, but I haven't had a chance to watch it yet. I just adore BBC adaptations and shows; I find them very satisfying. I bet you didn't know that I also love to watch Coronation Street, did you?

You know what I miss? Old A&E! Do you remember the good old days of A&E? When they had shows like Antiques Roadshow (the British one) and America's Castles, and did adaptations (some jointly with the BBC) of great books like Jane Eyre. Those were lovely! Now it's all Dog the Bounty Hunter and Manhunters...I don't like it at all!

I have a few more projects up my sleeve, I'm just trying to work out the logistics on some of them. I'm hoping they work out the way I'd like, because if they do, there might just be something else in store. I'm sorry to be so evasive, but I don't want to share anything until I have something concrete to say - I'm like that!

Before I go, I'd  just like to mention that my lovely friend Trish's project series, Pocketful of Posies, is being featured in Sew Hip magazine. The first project will be featured in the latest issue (issue 14, March/April) and there will be two more projects featured - one in issue 15 and one in issue 16. Go and check them out to support Trish (issue 14 is not out in Canada yet, I just went and checked today).

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

It was a mess of a week, but now there's some progress...

Oy, this past week has been a bit of a disaster. As I mentioned in my last post, I had an extension on a paper that was due and had to finish it over reading week (my "week off"). The thing that I didn't mention in my last post was that I was sick started on the Saturday night with a sniffly nose and then just proceeded to get worse. On Sunday (Valentine's Day) I took Alex to the Art Gallery of Ontario, but we had to leave before getting in to see the King Tut exhibit because my sniffly nose had turned into a sinus-thing and my whole face was on fire. It was not fun. I didn't really start to feel better until this past Saturday and so spent my entire reading week trying to finish the paper while feeling like death. Another thing I should mention is that that paper was actually supposed to be a group assignment, but I was doing it myself (that's another story), but I did get it done and handed in on time on Friday - that's a plus!

My Mum did come to see me last Monday (Family Day here in Ontario) and that was really nice. We just hung out for a bit and then went to lunch. She brought us a bunch of food, and some Valentine's gifts - lots of chocolate for each of us, a board game for Alex, and four new Clover Soft Touch crochet hooks for me, yay!

My original plan over reading week was to get my 101 blocks finished up for Rachel's modern siggy swap (you can find the button in my sidebar, and go here if you'd like a tutorial for making the blocks) and do some sewing for the shop. I didn't get any of that done last week, but I did get my blocks finished up yesterday (yay!) and mailed them today. There are 100 people taking part in the swap and we made a block for each person with one extra. The extra block will be paired with the other 99 extra blocks and made into a quilt for charity. Would you like to see my blocks? Yes? Okay!

I used various prints (almost all of them) from Amy Butler's Midwest Modern collection, and they measure 3.5x3.5. I can't wait to see the fabrics that everybody else has chosen! There are quite a number of awesome people participating including Rachel, John, and Julie.

I also got a little something completed for the shop today. Can't show it to you yet (gotta leave a few surprises you know); it was a bit of an experiment, but I really like the way that it turned out! Hope I'll be able to show it to you soon!

Nothing much else crafting or sewing related going on here other than that I've been working on a quilt for the shop (my first "boy" quilt!) and working on a design for another quilt. Oh, and I'm making three variations on the "little something" I mentioned above which will also go into the shop. Phew, I wish there were more hours in the day...or less schoolwork...I'd probably prefer both.

Okay, I'm off to work on another paper (and I already handed in another assignment today)! I am very tired, but at least I feel like I've accomplished something. And oh, for a granny square update (it's been slow going this week), I think I'm at 86 or 87.

Monday, February 15, 2010

Keeping It Real

Hey everybody! How are you all doing? So, $200 (Canadian) later I have my laptop back! I didn't lose any of my data, which is awesome, and I'm now catching up on schoolwork that I couldn't do before. This last thing is kind of upsetting, because this week is reading week (i.e. I don't have classes) and I was hoping that, other than working, I could just relax and be with myself and get some sewing done, but alas I will be finishing up one last paper that I have to get to my professor by Friday.

So, a couple of weeks ago the lovely Heather wrote a "Keeping It Real" post on her blog; I thought it was a fantastic idea and meant to write one myself, but then promptly forgot about it with everything else that has been going on. Then on Saturday one of my bloggy-besties Jennifer (you know her, I talk about her all the time) wrote one too and challenged me to do the same. Of course, I can not say no to Jennifer, and so I bring you me "keeping it real" with some fun, random facts you may not have known about yours truly...

I have super-long eyelashes, and get asked by strangers (almost everyday) if there are "all mine", here's the best proof I could you can see I also have a lot of freckles and, even though they look green in this picture, my eyes are actually blue (like a slate blue)...

Like Jennifer, I am not that into chocolate. I actually prefer salty snacks like chips and pretzels; although if you offered me chocolate I probably wouldn't say no...and I like cookies too (giant cookie made by my friend Mo for Christmas). I am also, apparently, not above putting silly looking pictures of myself on my blog...

I really, really love Ralph by Ralph Lauren perfume and wear it everyday (except on special occasions when I wear Chanel #5). I actually own more than what is in this picture, but I thought the three bottle sizes looked cute together.

I read...a lot...I love books! My first "real" job was at a bookstore, where I worked from ages 15 to 17, and (as many of you know already) I'm currently getting my Masters so that I can be a librarian. I actually sell or give away books that I don't like or think I won't read again, but here are most (but definitely not all) of my books. As you can see, my bookshelves are a disaster...

Oh, and look, you can see my quilting frame behind the chair!

I love Lucy Maud Montgomery (this should come as no surprise if you've been reading my blog for awhile or know me well). There are three shelves dedicated to books by her or about her; all of the books do not fit on these three shelves properly, so there are more on top of the books and in other places in our apartment.

By "our" I mean Alex's and mine. Alex is my wonderful partner who I love very much. It wouldn't be a stretch to say that he is also my best friend. Here's a picture of us last March at Alex's birthday, isn't he handsome?

You all know that I sew and quilt and that I have taken up crochet, but I don't think any of you know that I paint too. I only do watercolours and I only paint little girls in cute outfits (teehee)!

I am almost completely deaf in my left ear from bursting my eardrum when I was four years old. Please, to all of my friends who have children out there, if your child is tugging at their ears but doesn't tell you they are in pain, take them to a doctor right away. Sometimes children just do not complain, and I was like that, I didn't tell my Mum that my ear hurt and it burst in my sleep because I had an infection. This is really advice from my Mum, who now tells the parent of every child she sees who are playing with their ears, whether she knows them or not. Because of this, I focus on people's mouths while they are talking to me, because it helps me to make out what they're saying. I generally don't let people know that I am partially deaf because I don't want them to treat me any differently.

I love camels.

And yes, I also like to keep the little notes and cards that I get from people out on display for awhile. They make me feel special. You can see notes from Jennifer, Eileen, Kate, Eloise, and Genevieve (no, my Janome did not write me a note), and cards from Trish and Bonnie.

I have two tattoos, but people rarely see them and are generally shocked when they find out about them. Do I come off as the kind of girl who would never get a tattoo? I dunno.

Sometimes people don't like me when they first meet me because they think I'm proud, intimidating, or stuck up, but really I'm just very anxious, and painfully shy and quiet until I know someone better. It's really kind of upsetting because I want people to like me and I don't like people to think bad things about me before they know me.

I can't think of anything else interesting or fun that you might like to know, but if you can think of something, I'll definitely answer it!

Now, I will leave you with some granny squares! You'd like to see my progress, right? There are 67 or 68 in these two stacks; I wanted to put them all together as one towering skyscraper for you, but it just kept falling over, so here we are with two, divided by colour...

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

There is nothing new under the sun but there are lots of old things we don't know. -Ambrose Bierce

Oy, it has been a rough few days! I am currently typing this update on a computer in one of the labs at school because I spilled a glass of water on my laptop on Thursday (it is now Tuesday) and I still haven't gotten it back from the repair shop! I'm pretty stressed out about this, especially since the guys at the repair shop keep telling me they're going to call me with an update, and then they don't, and then I call them and get told the same thing. When I talked to them last night they said it might be ready today, fingers crossed! I've fallen majorly behind on work now, and will probably be writing instead of sewing over reading week (next week) as I had planned. I feel rather disgruntled and down about all this, but I'm hoping it will get worked out soon!

Okay, enough of my complaining, on to other things! I completely forgot to share a little project I made the previous weekend in my last post, so here we go! My Mum got Alex a GPS for Christmas, but it didn't come with any sort of case or anything to put it in when taken out of the dash-mount, so I decided to make one.

I basically just made a little pouch with quilt batting between the two layers of fabric to give it a little padding, and used an elastic hairband for the closure. I'm kinda proud of myself for this one...I know this is going to sound a little odd since I've made quilts, purses, stuffed animals, etc, but I've never made a pouch of any kind for anything before, and I did this without a pattern, and the GPS fits perfectly! Who knew I'd be more proud of myself for this little pouch then for a lot of other things I've made. I definitely had a few problems along the way (mostly because I basically winged it), but it turned out good and it serves its purpose.

On Sunday, while watching the Super Bowl, I decided to finally tackle on of the projects in Rashida's books I Love Patchwork which I mentioned a few posts back. One of the reasons why I bought the books, other than the fact that Rashida is so awesome, sweet, and nice of course, was that I wanted to make the Blossom Pincushion, which is one of the items that Rashida is known for (she still makes them and sells them in her shop).

I picked up the porcelain watercolour palette at Midoco, an arts and office supply store here in Toronto and used some Moda linen, and patterned cottons. I can't remember what collection the pink plaid cotton is from, but the other four are all from the Aunt Grace Classics collection from Marcus Fabrics and I love them because of their vintage flea market/granny feel! I realized after I finished this that if I had stuffed each pincushion a bit more, they probably would have come out a but rounder...oh well, that's what I'll do the next time! I still love it though, and think it's so sweet and fun! I'm going to have a great time using it for sure!

Alright, that's it for me today! I have to go and do work that I've actually already done, but have to do again since it's on my laptop! Hope everyone is having a wonderful week so far, and that the weather in your area isn't causing too many problems. We have nothing here in Toronto, although it is supposed to snow a bit tonight, but I know some people are having some crazy times (the metre of snow that Jennifer already has can attest). Stay warm everyone!

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

The good life is one inspired by love and guided by knowledge. -Bertrand Russell

Happy birthday to my dear friend Jennifer! You've all heard me mention her many times and I often feel grateful that I have such an amazing woman in my life! Jennifer is all sweetness, joy, encouragement, and talent, and I feel lucky to have met her. If you'd like, head on over to Jennifer's new blog (she'll have her own online store opened up soon) and wish her a very happy day!

The biggest news of my past week is that IT arrived...

Oh yes! I was persuaded by Alex telling me that I needed to treat myself and Jennifer telling me to "go for it" to finally dive in and buy a fat quarter stack of Denyse Schmidt's new Hope Valley line! Of course, Hope Valley is persuasive enough on its own but I was worried about the money aspect. However, I found it for a great price in Randi's Etsy shop, Fresh Squeezed Fabrics...unfortunately, I think I bought the last stack she has at the great price, but she has other Hope Valley half yard stacks available. This fabric is going to be matched up with the Flea Market Fancy I received from Katy and will be made into a quilt for me (finally); right now I'm thinking either Dresden Plate, log cabin, or string quilt all sashed with Kona Coal. I don't want to cut the fabric up too small since the prints are gorgeous, so a string quilt might be out!

Sunday was the first meeting of the Toronto Modern Quilt Guild! We met up at The Workroom for quilt Sunday (last Sunday of every month), and it was so nice to meet a handful of the ladies in our guild. If you're in the Toronto area or if you'd just like to take a peek, check us out! And thank you to Karyn (owner) who has offered us The Workroom on the last Sunday of every month for our guild meetings!

At our first meeting I managed to sew almost all the binding down onto the new baby quilt, and then finished it when I got home. Here it is...

The quilt top is Freshcut from Heather Bailey and white cotton and the backing is from the Aunt Grace collection by Marcus Fabrics. It will be available in the shop once it's open (in a few weeks time) and I've already started cutting and piecing the little boy quilt which will also go into the shop.

Ohhh, and I have a few more books to share with you!

You can see Meet Me at Mike's by Pip Lincolne in the picture from the For the Love of Craft Books post, but I had only received it the day before taking the picture and so hadn't really had the chance to look it over yet. I ordered it from Book Depository because it is no longer available on Amazon and BD has free shipping world wide on every order (yes, every order, amazing I know) and has great prices! The only thing I would say about BD is that their shipping is a little slower than Amazon (but then again I actually live not that far from the Amazon Canada depot, so things should get to me fairly quickly from them). I really like this book so far, although I haven't used it much, but the pictures are awesome and just my style and basically everything looks like something to make. It's also really useful because Pip has a granny square tutorial at the end of the book which I have been referring to every time I have a moment and forget a step!

I received Blogging for Bliss by Tara Frey from the lovely Eileen and I'm loving it so far! All of the pictures are gorgeous and the tips given by other bloggers seem like they'd be super-useful! I can't wait to full dive into this one!

And last, but not least, is Material Obsession by Sarah Fielke and Kathy Doughty which I picked up yesterday at Indigo. I had another sewing book which I did not like... I won't share what it was (unless you want to know) because I know lots of people like it ...because it was one of those books that just did not explain things and expected you to have a ton of knowledge about complicated techniques before using it.  So I took it back, and got this one which is much more my style! I've only looked through it briefly, but I'm already super-inspired!

I finally got to use my new KitchenAid mixer lat night and it's awesome! I made the same cookies that I mentioned in the previous post (yes, that's twice in one week, and yes, they are that good!); I really didn't need to use the mixer for them, but I wanted to test it out and Alex was excited for me to use it. Alex really loves these cookies and ate a bunch of them, although I think it might have been pushing it when I surprised his with an ice cream cookie bar too! We had some mint-chocolate chip ice cream in the freezer, so I slapped it between two cookies, and presented it to him. He loved it, but I think too many cookies made his stomach upset!

Alright, I'm off to work on a paper that's due this week and the two assignments I have due next week. Phew! Oh, but before I go I wanted to share this Olympic Mascot Cookie Tutorial with you! I sent it to Erica immediately upon finding it, because if anyone would appreciate these she would!