Wednesday, October 31, 2012

The language of friendship is not words but meanings. -Henry David Thoreau

Every time we're meeting up Jennifer, Doe, and I always give/make each other presents; this year at Sewing Summit was no exception!

On top of giving them both books - five L.M. Montgomery books for Jennifer (most of you will know Montgomery as the author of Anne of Green Gables) and a Japanese craft book for Doe - I made them each a pencil case and filled them with little goodies. I used this tutorial from A Spoonful of Sugar but added my own little touches like the lace and embroidering each of their initials on to the linen.

For Doe's pencil case I used natural linen and three prints from Heather Ross's Far Far Away II collection, along with some cotton lace, a dreams pull tab, and a pink zipper. Inside I tucked some groundhog sticky tabs, a pencil, a doughnut shaped eraser, the carousel doe pin from the Black Apple (of course Doe needed the doe pin!), and some fabric tape/stickers I made. I can not for the life of me remember what the Japanese craft book I got her was called though!

For Jennifer's pencil case I used some natural linen, two prints from Far Far Away II, and a cute Japanese clothesline print from Project by Cotton. For this one I also included some cotton lace, a little red riding hood pull tab, and a minty-green zipper. The little goodies I included are very similar to what I put in Doe's pencil case except that the sticky tabs have a fox on them, the eraser is a popsicle, and the Black Apple pin features a hedgehog (I should mention that I also got one of these pins for Katy too - with the tattooed lady on it!). The L.M. Montgomery books were Emily of New Moon, Emily Climbs, Emily's Quest, Jane of Lantern Hill, and The Story Girl.

Making these pencil cases was only my second time installing zippers (the first was my Art Student Tote), and I definitely had some issues but all-in-all I think they turned out quite cute and I like the personal touches like the lace and embroidered initials. If you missed it you can see my pressies from Jennifer and Doe in this post!!

Monday, October 29, 2012

A Sense of Place

So, this is another one of those secrets that I've been keeping under wraps (actually, at this point, I think it's the longest-running secret as it's going nigh on 18 months since I originally made what's coming up) - I have a new pattern in Quilts & More's special publication Sew Fresh!

What's really kind of funny about all this is that this is the first of my patterns that was ever accepted for publication by a major magazine/publisher, but since it's taken 18 months to be made public, I've had quite a few more actually come out in the meantime. I guess Better Homes & Gardens just sources things way further in advance than everything else; this also was originally supposed to be in the Spring issue of Quilts & More but then was selected for publication in this special issue instead.

My pattern is called A Sense of Place and includes instructions for making some fun patchwork and linen placemats! I just love this little breakfast scene they shot using them here! What's really fun about this pattern is that Q&M went ahead and made some really great piecing graphics that really compliment the pattern instructions well.

Although I can't show it directly from the magazine here (because it would require me to show your more of the actual pattern instructions - which is a big no-no of course), I made another placemat in more autumn-type colours that is also featured in the magazine as a colour-option. That is one of the things that I really do like about Q&M - they often show their patterns in more than one colour option which really helps the maker to visualize what the pattern could look like in colours other than the original.

This is one of the more spring-colour placemats that was featured in the pattern's main photo. Now that I hve them back after so long I've put both of the spring-colour ones on our kitchen table and I must say that they really do cheer the place up! I do have to keep moving them though since I also actually sew at my kitchen table!

The Sew Fresh special issue also includes patterns from the likes of Camile Roskelley, Vanessa Christenson, Patty Young, Tanya Whelan, Monica Solorio-Snow, and a few more to boot! Sew Fresh is available on newsstands now but can also be purchased as a digital download through Zinio (I actually buy a few magazines though Zinio when I've either missed an issue or can't find it in Canada - it's also the place where the e-book version of Pretty in Patchwork Holidays can be purchased).

Friday, October 19, 2012

Sewing Summit: Friends and Good Times!

So, I arrived back home from Sewing Summit very late on Sunday night - my journey home included a plane, a car, a bus, and then another car. Jealous yet? *wink*

Sewing Summit was flippin' amazing! I'm going to go into more detail about the classes and lectures, things I made, etc. later but right now all I really want to talk about is all of the super-awesome people I met/saw again/hung out with. I can't even express how really, really neat it was. I've had the lucky opportunity to twice attend Quilt Market, and I've met lots of great people there, but Sewing Summit was like an explosion of super-cool peeps!

This is Elena, Alexia, Katy, Laura Jane, me, and Megan at the bar in our hotel. And that coffee cup near the front of the shot? That's Thomas! At the table beside Thomas (there just wasn't enough room in our booth) were Angela, Christina, Audrie, Terri, and Sheila - woot! This is pretty much what it looked like for us every night - good times I tell you!

And this is hilarious - apparently Thomas and I are twins!! We didn't even notice until I went to walk past him and my leg brushed his; I looked down - mustard pants! Thomas looked up - plaid shirts and greyish cardigans! Oh my!

We spent a fair amount of time in the little lounge area on the second floor sewing and chatting away. Big thanks to Kelly for taking this pic so that I could be in it too!!

Angela, Anna, Sheila, and I all ended up on the same flight to Detroit; now you know why it took me so many modes of transportation to get home...because I didn't actually fly to Toronto. Sheila and I drove to Detroit and then flew to SLC. It was rather more complicated than that getting home. Because I'm a big baby and all I wanted to do on Sunday night was get home. I think I irritated the hell out of Sheila that day. But we're still like besties so it's all good.

I thought since I'm talking all about friends in this post that I should also show off the amazing gifties I received! Although Sheila and I flew in on Wednesday, we didn't actually have a room until Thursday, so we bunked with my girls Jennifer and Doe for the night (on the floor). And they both brought me birthday presents - hurray!!

Doe gave me the Heather Ross Prints book - thank you Doe!! And Jennifer made me this super-amazing Birdie Sling using Tula Pink's Birds & the Bees, as well as two cute notebooks, and a skein of Madelinetosh Sock in Thicket. Jennifer always spoils me rotten and I absolutely love her for it!

Christina gifted me with this beautiful mini quilt that she used as a sample in the curves class she taught - isn't it pretty?!

Here's a better picture of the mini and that's the bunting that Katy made using some Saffron Craig prints! I think I'm going to hang it either over our bed or over the window in the living room!

It was really and truly amazing seeing again/meeting these wonderful people! Although I loved my classes and lectures, spending time with everyone was most definitely my favourite part! Going to Sewing Summit has renewed my spirit somewhat (it really has been a rough few months) and has driven home how important it is to have a strong support system of like-minded individuals. I miss them all so much already!!

Friday, October 5, 2012

A man is not old until regrets take the place of dreams. -John Barrymore

I have all of these grand plans about what I want to make before I leave for Sewing Summit... it's so not going to happen! Sheila and I leave in five days for Utah, it's Thanksgiving this weekend, and my birthday today (just throwin' that out there); I have basically run out of time unless I can squeeze something in on either Sunday or Monday and I still have to do laundry and pack and take care of all of those little, last minute things that travelling entails.

However, I did get one big thing (and I mean literally "big", this thing is huge) done that I wanted to - I made Anna Maria Horner's Art Student Tote pattern! Seriously guys, my pictures are not even going to do it justice (and neither does the cover photo from the pattern); this is one hella-large bag!

Just to put this in perspective, the bag looks big here, right? Well this is it with the sides folded in and strapped closed with the D-ring ties! Just to illustrate: I took this bag to guild with me last weekend and fit into it what normally would have needed three separate bags - everything that is normally in my purse, my laptop (wide screen, not mini), two magazines, a craft book, three separate completed sewing projects, a queen-size flat sheet, two notebooks, a couple of yards of fabric all combined, and a few other bits and bobs - crazy, right? I'm seriously going to have to get a better picture to really show how big this beast is. It definitely turned out larger than I thought, but I must admit that I'm kind of in love!

For the exterior I used Visions in Pangaea from Anna Maria's Loulouthi Needlework collection and Maybe in Blossom from Innocent Crush (also Anna Maria). Did you notice the pockets in the centre panel there? It was my first time ever putting in zippers and I must say that I'm pretty proud of myself!!!

For the interior I used Triangle Toss in Coral from Lizzy House's Outfoxed and Key Tree in Pink from Tula Pink's Plume collection. There are so many pockets in this bad boy - basically Anna Maria tells you to go ahead and divide up the pockets on each side however you'd like to best accommodate you and your stuff. One thing that I will mention about the pattern (in case you end up making it) is that you do not need to cut out or trace the pattern pieces right off the bat - all of the pieces for this bag are squares or rectangles that are easily measured! Just take out your ruler, measure each part, and cut your fabric with your ruler and rotary cutter - so much easier than actually using the pattern pieces as guides.

My September blocks for the Joy Circle of do. Good Stitches; these are Hugs & Kisses blocks based on Little Miss Shabby's tutorial. We used more "boy friendly" colours and fabrics for this one and I can't wait to see it completed!

I've also done a bunch of canning over the last little bit...

Dill Spears with lots of garlic!

Corn Salsa - not gonna lie I'm pretty excited to try this one!

A pretty basic marinara sauce - basically just tomatoes, onions, and garlic! I'll be using this as a base for lots of fun stuff this winter, I just know it!

Alex is making me dinner tonight and we've got a few friends coming over afterwards to celebrate, then tomorrow it's off north to visit my mum and have Thanksgiving with her and my grandparents - my birthday weekend is the best! I'm pretty excited for the Turkey, not gonna lie!

Father Time is not always a hard parent, and, though he tarries for none of his children, often lays his hand lightly upon those who have used him well; making them old men and women inexorably enough, but leaving their hearts and spirits young and in full vigour.  With such people the grey head is but the impression of the old fellow's hand in giving them his blessing, and every wrinkle but a notch in the quiet calendar of a well-spent life. -Charles Dickens

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Simply Fat Quarters

So by now you may have heard that Fat Quarter Shop has released their own, independently published book of fat quarter-friendly patterns - Simply Fat Quarters! Well, over the next month and a half or so there FQS will be hosting a  fun little mini blog tour and I'll be one of the stops along the way!

Each participating blogger has made one quilt from the book using fabrics of our own choosing (oh no, I'm not going to spill the beans on that one yet!) and we'll be showing them off on each of our stops. There will also be a ton of fun and fantabulous prizes - trust me, they're awesome!

So be sure to check out each of the stops every Monday for the next little bit - you will not want to miss what is going on!

10/8      Sherri McConnell at A Quilting Lif
10/15    Natalia Bonner at Piece ‘n Quilt
10/22    Jane Davidson at Quilt Jane
10/29    Simply Fat Quarters at Quilt Market Special Feature!
11/5      Kaye Prince at Miss-Print  <<< That's me!!
11/12    Katy Jones at I’m a Ginger Monkey
11/19    Pat Sloan at Pat Sloan’s Blog
11/26    Showcase wrap up at the Jolly Jabber