Wednesday
Oct012014

miss kate ~ a simply sweet giveaway

I love giving away fabric. :)  It's one of my favourite things about being a blogger.  My darling friend from Simply Sweet Fabric is - once again - offering a lovely FQ bundle of fabric to one of you!

Miss Kate (designed by another sweet friend Camille over at Simplify, and her Mom at Cotton Way) is yet another fantastic fabric collection that has gained instant popularity in the quilting world and it is easy to see why ... the classic, fresh combination of red, aqua & white with enough pink to keep me happy.

I'm dying to cut into it. :)

If you'd like a chance to win this 7 piece FQ bundle of Miss Kate, leave me a comment (not an email) telling me what your all-time favourite colour combination is.  This giveaway closes Monday, October 6th and is open to all!  Good luck.

*     *     *     *     *

Congratulations to Kerry who won a copy of kraft-tex Style!   Thank you to everyone who played along.

Sunday
Sep212014

kraft-tex ... a different sort of crafty ... with a giveaway

Squeee!  I somehow made my way into another book. 

Well, I shouldn't say "somehow".  I know exactly how it happened ... I asked for an invitation.  :) 

I was chatting with one of the editors at C&T Publishing last Spring and asked her to keep me in mind if they were putting together a compilation - much like Stitch Zakka that I'd done the year before.  She said there was one in the works but that it wasn't really "up my alley".  I replied that I was kinda crafty so ... you never know .... I might be able to come up with something.

Next thing I knew I had supplies and a brief and I was off to the races.

Before I go any further, I need to describe the subject matter of this book.  It's a little unusual.  It's called Kraft-tex and it is seriously cool stuff.  Click here to read a good description about it and then come back here.  I'll wait for you. :)

 

Ok.  You get it?  Neat stuff, eh?

So.  I'd never heard of Kraft-tex before and I certainly hadn't used it.  But I inspected it, tested it - and yes, you CAN put it in the washing machine AND the dryer ... you can iron it, cut it, tear it, glue it, paint it, ink it, emboss it, sew with it, stitch through it ...

I've shown it to you before.  Remember the Christmas tags I made last year? 

I made them all with Kraft-tex.  I used fusible web to "glue" fabric onto the Kraft-tex. 

I also use it for my labels.

Back to the book. 

Now I didn't invent decorative flatware trays, but I'd been wanting to make myself some for a long time.  I thought they were a fun little party/home accessory.  So when I started playing around with the Kraft-tex, it didn't take me long to figure out how to make boxes.  (Which just so happen to be on the front cover!  Yay!) 

The latest Flower Sugar collection had just come out and I was itching to use it on something. 

I played around with different sizes and uses for these open boxes.  They're also shown in the book.

So there you have it.

I hope you get yourself some Kraft-tex.  This book has a whopping 27 projects inside to get you going and keep you inspired.

Would you like a chance to win a signed copy of kraft-tex Style from me?  Just leave a comment here saying what kind of crafting is your favourite thing to do.  This giveaway closes Sept. 27th and is open to all. :)

(I also have a few copies available in my shop.)

 

Sunday
Sep142014

aftermath

Wow.  That snowfall was something else.  I think it was about 25cm (10") in 2 days.  There were power outages like crazy.  We lost power in our house for about 6 hours. 

Today, the sun is shining and it's delightfully warm.  One would be hard pressed to believe we had that much snow just a few days ago ... unless you went outside.  I don't think there is a street in Calgary that doesn't have fallen branches on the road, sidewalk, front yards.

Poor trees!

Tuesday
Sep092014

unfinished business

(cardboard in the windows)

 

(powder room sink on the floor)


(storage cubby in the stairwell with missing doors)


(wires sticking out everywhere!)


(missing light fixtures)


(missing trim kit for the microwave)


(missing deck)


(and then there's the room full of furniture I need to get rid of)


Now you know why I haven't shown you my house yet.

Plus, my sewing room is still a wholelotta this ...

 

Monday
Sep082014

september snow

This is the view from my sewing room as I type these words.  At 6:30 p.m.

 

Not.

Even.

Kidding.

 

What would YOU do if you were me?  I'm all ears!!!

Friday
Sep052014

reaping the benefits

 

No way am I letting all my floss winding go to waste!

Wednesday
Sep032014

if there was such a thing as a phd in embroidery floss winding, i'd have one

One of the perks when you write a book is that sometimes companies will send you products for free.  I was already a huge fan of all things Lecien, including COSMO floss so when I told them I was writing an embroidery book and that I was going to use COSMO, a huge box filled with the entire collection showed up at my door.  Not gonna lie, that was a lot of fun. :) 

But it did leave me with a problem.  See, I've kept my DMC floss all neatly wound and organized with those standard single floss cards since I started cross stitching (some 30 years ago).  I couldn't bear having my floss loose in skeins all jumbly.  I had them sorted by colour/number groups in little ziploc bags inside of bigger ziploc bags.  But that system was NOT working for me.  I like to find what I need quickly and be able to use it.  My DMC collection had grown very slowly over the years as I purchased a few skeins here and there for new projects.  Having the daunting task of winding all 500 skeins at once was ... well, daunting.

And then there was the cost of the cards too.  I would have been happy to just get a bunch of the plain white cards - which was a nicely affordable solution -  until I saw these sturdy, gorgeous, elegant, be.still.my.heart ones.  Can you blame me?

So I started buying them in small batches.  Here and there.  When I had a few pennies to spare.  But a few months ago, I got a bee in my bonnet about all this floss.  It was now over two years since I started this process and I just needed it done already.  So I went to this Etsy shop and bought enough cards to wind the rest of my collection.  Beth, the owner, is the sweetest lady and her price for these cards is the lowest I've ever seen.

In preparation of our stay in Iowa (and to save on shipping), I had them sent to my sister's place.  For two whole days I was parked at her dining room table, winding and winding and winding some more.  Oh that was t.e.d.i.o.i.s!  But it's done and I couldn't be happier.  Now I can find what I need.  I hope to get prettier containers later when my sewing room is put together properly.  But for now these utilitarian clear boxes work just fine.  My floss is all organized and neat and easy to use.  I can grab the cards and pop them in my project pouch as needed ... which makes me a very happy stitcher. :)

If you're looking for COSMO floss, Out of Hand is my local go-to source and they do international mail order.  (They even sell the master index folder you see in the 2nd, 3rd & 4th photos up there!)  Just give them a call.  And Super Buzzy - an online shop - is another great source.  Again, the COSMO floss cards are available here.

*     *     *     *     *

Congratulations Cindy L.!  You are the winner of Fat Quarter Style.  Thank you all for playing along.

Monday
Sep012014

pastel ice cream cones

Do you remember this?  I liked it so much I made 40 of these pastel ones.  But they've been haunting my sewing room for a loooong time.  After I made them, I laid them out on my living room floor, decided I didn't really like them (too busy?  too sweet?  too something?  I don't know), stacked them up again and put them away.

So now as I wade though my seemingly endless number of unfinished sewing projects - that I bothered to pack up and move - and try to decide which ones are worth doing and which ones are no longer calling my name, this one bubbled to the top of my "I really want to make you" list ... but it wasn't a random thing.  I always need a reason to make something ... and I just so happened to find myself the best reason of all to make a quilt ... a baby.

A guy who worked a lot on our house is a new dad.  He's a really nice fellow and - let's face it - making baby quilts is just all kinds of fun.  Plus the baby is a girl and if ever there was a stash in the world that was meant for baby girls, it's mine.  :)

Now to be perfectly honest, when I saw these blocks I thought, "Oh good, now I can get rid of you all."  Admittedly, I was doing that thing we crafters do sometimes when we've invested time & talent & $ into a project and then we end up not liking it - not horrible enough to toss but not nice enough to keep - so we pawn it off onto some unsuspecting victim.  I always feel a little sheepish when I do that, but that's what happened here. 

At least at first. 

But then I settled on this fabric - it's a cotton/linen blend and it so super nice to use - for the sashing (vs. white or no sashing at all which were my original ideas). Once the top was all pieced together, I fell in love with this quilt.  Hard.  And then I did that other thing we crafters sometimes do and wondered why in the world I didn't think of this idea before and why did it take me so long to finish?!  LOL!  Oh it is so pretty and soft and lovely.  The taupe calms down the super busy flowers and cuts the sweetness to just the right amount.  I'll show you the whole thing when I have it quilted and bound.

However, I still have 20 blocks left for another ice cream cone baby quilt so will someone I know please have a baby?  And also make it a girl. ;) 

Friday
Aug292014

playing favourites

So my favourite thing about our trip to Iowa was ... Chicago.

Ha - just checking to see if you were paying attention. ;) 

No, Chicago isn't in Iowa.  It's in Illinois.  But Chicago is only a four hour drive from my sister's home in Cedar Rapids so we decided to go all hard-core touristy on the Windy City for 4 glorious days.  I promise not to bore you with the minutia of our daily activites ... all the walking and looking at stuff and eating and eating and more walking and more looking and even more eating.  But let me tell you this ... I.Love.Chicago.  It is my kind of town.  That was my first trip there and I hope it wasn't my last.  Chicago has such a gorgeous downtown and so much to offer the entire family.  If you live there, understand that I'm extremely jealous of you.  If you've never been, do yourself a favour and just go.  Please?

My favourite day was spent at the Art Institute of Chicago.  I've taken a few art history courses and I love looking at beautiful things.  The museum had these hand held devices with recorded information about some of the pieces.  If I walked by an object that had a story I could listen to, I did.  That stuff fascinates me.

That said, by the end of the day I was suffering from a severe case of information overload.  I knew I only had the one day there so I was trying to absorb as much as possible.  By 4:00 my poor brain was done.

The highlight for me was Monet's Water Lilies

Cliche?  Perhaps.  But I don't care.  I had a poster of it in my room all through university.  It really was something to see in person.

It's funny ... I'm about as cynical as it gets when it comes to going places to see things first hand.  I'm not much of a traveller.  The term "homebody" fits me very well.  Why bother going when you can Google pretty much anything from the comfort of your own home?  In your pjs?  Without spending a dime?  But I have to admit, it was some kind of special to see it with my own eyes.  No reproduction in the world could ever do it justice.  Even the colours you see on your monitor right now ... not the same.

My favourite vacation story, however, relates to another very famous work we saw in the museum ... 

I've recognized American Gothic by sight and name for many years, but that's about the extent of my relationship with it ... until last week, that is.  My story is that the artist - Grant Wood - painted it in his studio that just so happens to be about two miles of my sister's place in downtown Cedar Rapids!  So not only did I get to see one of America's most well-known paintings, my sister took me to the place where it was created.

By the way, did you know that, although the subjects in this painting are a farmer and his daughter, Wood used his sister and his dentist as models?  I always assumed they were husband and wife.  And that the artificially elongated shape of their faces echo that of the gothic-style window in the background?  Wood saw such a window on a farm house he drove by, which inspired this painting.  That sort of background information makes me all kinds of happy.

Ok.  I'll revise my opening statement by saying my favourite thing about Iowa is that American Gothic was painted there and that my sister lives near it's birthplace. :)

I think we can all agree that - by and large - other people's holiday tales are far more exciting for the person telling them than for the person listening to them.  But - as with most people who feel compelled to impose such stories on others - I couldn't not share this with you because what I'm really trying to say is that if you have access to terrific art in your town but find yourself taking such easy access for granted so you just never go see it, I hope you give yourself a gift and spend a few hours enjoying it.  The long weekend is here.  What are you waiting for? :)

Wednesday
Aug272014

fat quarter style book review ... & a giveaway, of course

Oh my goodness!  I'm so sorry for my long silence, but we were away on a little (16 day) holiday.  For past vacations I always pre-wrote stuff, but I just didn't have the time.  Please forgive me.

Now I love my sister and all, but why-oh-why does she have to live in Iowa?  Don't get me wrong, I have nothing against Iowa.  It's it's a lovely place.  And because I live in an extremely dry climate, my skin was loving the humidity.  (My hands have since returned to their usual alligator-like appearance.)  But it's just not ... you know, Paris or Australia or ... Chicago!!! 

I have so much to say ...

Actually.  Hold that thought. 

Even though I have a few fun stories and more sewing stuff to share, I really should stay focused on today's post, which is Fat Quarter Shop's new book Fat Quarter Style

If you either have a ton of FQs in your stash that are just begging to be used OR need an excuse to buy that new FQ bundle, this is definitely a must-have book for your quilting library.  It's chalk-a-block (or is it supposed to be chalker-block, or chock-something ... isn't it annoying when you try to spell something for the first time - something that you've heard and said your whole life - and you no idea if you've got it right?) FULL of quick, easy and fun quilts.

I'm at the tail end of this book tour so in case you missed the other reviews and samples, check them out! :)

August 4: Paula of The Sassy Quilter
August 6: Kelly of My Quilt Infatuation
August 8: Karin of Leigh Laurel Studios
August 11: Caroline of Sew Can She
August 13: Jana of Jana Machado
August 15: Amy of Stitchery Dickory Dock
August 18: Lee of Freshly Pieced
August 20: Holly of Bijou Lovely
August 22: Ashley of Film in The Fridge
August 25: Erin of Why Not Sew?
August 29: Amy of Diary of A Quilter

Here's mine.

Now in the interest of full disclosure, although I have no shortage of FQs in my stash, all my "good fabric" is still in boxes.  My scraps, however, are conveniently sorted by colour in plastic bins.  Naturally I made a bee-line to the pinks.  I also just finished a quilt top using a linen taupe and had a nice large scrap still on my sewing table.  I thought it would be fun to do a reverse-value sample from the one shown in the book so I made my "plume" darker than my prints rather than lighter. 

So.  I have a copy of Fat Quarter Style here that needs a good home.  If you'd like a chance to be that home, please leave me a comment confessing if you have FQs you need to use up or just want an excuse to buy more for your stash. :)

This giveaway closes on Monday, Sept. 1st and is open to all.  Good luck! 

And I promise to be back soon with a few vacation stories that hopefully aren't exceedingly boring, some sewing stuff (including an update on the woefully neglected hexagon quilt) ... and NO talk about unpacking!  LOL! 

Thursday
Aug072014

afternoon tea

 

Rosebud china, pink crystals, a lovely assortment of french pastries (pamiers, pain de chocolat & coconut meringes) from down the street, and tea with a good friend who forgives paper towel napkins. 

This is how to turn a house into a home.

Wednesday
Aug062014

crouching tripod, hidden brackets

Thank you for all the good advice about how to find lost things.  Stop looking - totally worked for the tripod.  Buy replacements - also totally worked.

The tripod was lying of the floor, tucked behind a bunch of pictures that were leaning against a wall.  I found it while looking for something else.

And this morning I popped into Ikea for some pant hangers, laundry hampers and replacement curtain rod brackets.  An hour later I was tidying up and found the original brackets wrapped inside a facecloth.  On the fireplace mantle.  Right where I put them.  Where they've been sitting for over a week.  I've looked stared at that cloth dozens of times wondering who put it there and why.  (sheepish grin.)

My house is still too embarassingly disorganized to show you.  And we're still missing things like lighting (we picked 1/2 of what we need and they are on order.  My husband and I - as I've learned through this building process - are good a making decisions and we always totally or nearly agree on everything.  But holy cow are we ever slower than molasses.  Sheesh.  Where most people only need one appointment to pick stuff, we take two or even three.  To all the experts who helped us make our selections, thank you and I'm very sorry.)

We also need most of the closets to be fitted with shelving so I can put stuff away.  The legs for the powder room sink finally arrived, but they aren't installed yet.  It'll be nice to have hardware in the bathrooms to hang towels and tp.  The windows are f.i.l.t.h.y. and will remain so until all the work is done.

And then there are still all the boxes.  It feels like they're multiplying rather than reducing in numbers.  I've heard stories about people who moved years ago and STILL have unpacked boxes.  Please let that not be me.  Everytime I open a new box I'm hopeful that I can get rid of something inside.  That hasn't happened as often as I'd like.

I'm encouraging my girls to give me a round of applause everytime I empty another box.  Those poor children.  I think they think they have the nuttiest mother ever.  Wait 'til they're older and their suspicions are confirmed.

So.  Still moving forward.  Still moving slowly. 

Still not ready to sew.

But I'm starting to see a light.  Thanks for hanging in here with me.  I really do appreciate the company. :)  xo k

Monday
Aug042014

i found the iron!!!

I know that was keeping you at night, wondering how I was going to survive without it. ;)

But now I can't find my tripod for my camera.  I don't even remember packing it so I have no clue where to look.  I know it's here somewhere. 

You know, one of the hardest things for me to cope with in life is when something goes missing.  I went to the edge of insanity more than once as a mom - kids have a way of losing brand new things within days of you buying them.  My brain turns into scrambled eggs when I can't find something and everything feels wrong - like I'm wearing a suit made of sandpaper ... inside out.  I wasn't too worried about the iron because I specifically remembered packing it - although the fact that I spent 2 hours looking for it may give me away as a liar on that one. ;) 

But now my tripod ...

And the brackets for a curtain rod. 

Tuesday
Jul292014

and now we are here

Hello hello!  How are you?  I'm sitting here in my new studio loft ... a golden sunset glowing through an undressed window to my right and a disorganized riot of boxes and unceremoniously shoved furniture behind me.  I can't see the chaos as I sit, thank goodness, but I can feel it pressing against my back.  I'm trying my best to ignore it, though.  I'd rather chat with you.

The move went very well.  We hired a crew of 4 professionals.  Those guys were - in a word - awesome.  The only thing that broke was a single ordinary drinking glass.  And aside from losing a hard-fought, 2-hour game of "Find the Iron", everything seems to be accounted for.  Besides, we were planning to buy a new iron soon anyway.  It's probably hiding in one of those boxes behind me. 

My life used to revolve around finding things to get rid of so I didn't have to pack them.  Now I'm obsessed with emptying boxes, collapsing boxes, and taking them to the recycling depot. What a sense of victory it is to take the last thing out of a box and actually have a place to put it!

There are a ton of little/medium sized things that still need to be finished.  The shower doors come tomorrow, the closet fittings later this week, the sink in the powder room needs to be installed, we still have to pick the light fixtures (tomorrow), I MUST get to figuring out the window covering situation - cardboard on the master bedroom isn't exactly the classiest look on the street ... and there is more.

But we are in.  And settling nicely.  Slowly.  Not without a little frustration.  But we are here.  The hard stuff is behind us.  We had not one, not two, but three "last trips" to the old house.  I whispered goodbye as I closed the front door for the last time.  My voice echoed quietly down the hall along the empty walls and bare floor.  I may have had to blink back an errant tear that tried to slip away.  But that moment was fleeting.  I will remember it.  But it is gone. 

And now we are here.

I'm really looking forward to settling into a new routine.  It will take some time to get organized.  But I'm getting quite anxious to start sewing again.

I'll be back soon!   Miss you.  xo k

Thursday
Jul242014

another chuckle

Oh, I remember this like it was yesterday.

*     *     *     *     *

This is my last blog post from my old house here.  Tomorrow is THE big day.  This house is almost an empty shell that echos ... windows bare and nails on walls.  Even as I sit here typing - the clicking sound of the keys is louder in this all but hollow room.  This room has served me well.  First, it was my home office/guest room.  Then it was a nursery.  Then my sewing room.  I'm going to miss it for a few minutes until I have my new sewing "studio" set up.  Then I'm going to remember it fondly and wonder how I ever survived in such a tiny space!  LOL! 

As we packed up the house, I was only slightly embarrassed at some of the pockets of dust that collected here and there without my noticing.  But this old house is going to be torn down within the month - the surveyors have already marked the property lines and the services are spray-painted on the sidewalk - so I'm not going to worry about a little dust.

All this emptimess ... it's almost sad.  Almost.  But not quite.  It doesn't take me much more than a nanosecond to remember why we've wanted a better house for such a long time.  I'm a little surprised at how detached I feel about leaving here - this place with so many memories.  I usually have more of a sentimental heart than this.  But as I get older, I find that sentiment can be more of a prison than a blanket.  Does that make sense?  Memories are with you always in your head and in your heart.  And if you forget them, then it doesn't really matter.  I am less and less interested in the past and find myself more interested and excited about the future.

xo k

Tuesday
Jul222014

recycling a giggle

Hey!  How are things?  Please tell me you're making something pretty.  It will make me feel better knowing at least one of us is. :)

We just finished a second evening of shuttling van-loads of boxes to the new house.  I'm pooped.  And a little sweaty.  I am starting to comprehend how different it will be going from a bungalow to a 3-storey house (plus a basement). 

Stairs.

(I know.  They're good for you.)

To be clear, we hired professionals to do all the heavy lifting later this week.  We are too old to even think about moving things like the piano and the treadmill ourselves.  But I wanted to move mirrors and lamps and other things (fabric) that would take way longer to box up properly than to just make the kids hold them on their lap for a few minutes en route. 

This afternoon, it occurred to me that my funnybone could use a little exercise.  I don't have much time to write, but I have had 3 1/2 years worth of material here on my blog and some of it still makes me laugh when I read it.  So I thought you might enjoy a little re-giggle with me.  Click here.

Friday
Jul182014

good news & bad news ... and some more news

The good news is:  Yesterday I discovered a lovely little french patisserie - rated one of the top 5 in the city!

 

The bad news is:  It's less than a block from my new house.

 

Is pastry high in iron?  No?  Humph.  Too bad I wasn't butter deficient.  ;)

*     *     *     *     *

No we haven't moved yet.  This process is turning out to be like labour - painfully slow.  And messy.  And unpredictable.  And hard.  And while you're in the middle of it you swear you are never.going.to.do.this.again.  EVER! 

We were supposed to take possession of our new house today.  Let's just say there was a miscommunication between the bank and the lawyer.  It's been delayed until Monday.  I was only slightly panicked for most of the day.  But I'm really lucky because my lawyer and I have been good friends for like 30 years.  My realtor is also one of my best friends.  And my builder is a super awesome guy. 

And thank goodness we still have our old house until the end of the month. 

*     *     *     *     *

And thank you all, by the way, for your fantastic advice about iron deficiency.  I've been low before, just never this bad.  (If you are medical at all and are curious - 'cause I would be if I were you - my hemoglobin was 77.  If you're not medical, it is supposed to be about 120.)  No wonder I was wheezing like Wylie Coyote chasing Roadrunner whenever I climbed a flight of stairs!  LOL!  I'm starting to notice some improvement now.  I can tell because we have a nice walking routine thru a large park and when we do the "short loop" there's a bit of a nasty hill to climb.  A few months ago I was so out of breath when I got to the top I could taste blood.  I couldn't talk and it took several blocks for me to catch my breath.  I just thought I was like so totally super out of shape and kind of horrified about that.  But yesterday on our walk I made it up the hill no problem.  I could talk (almost) normally at the top and recovered quickly.

I'm also sleeping better.  I really honestly thought the reason I was so tired all the time was because I wasn't getting enough good sleep.  But I don't feel that oh-my-god-I-would-sell-my-entire-fabric-stash-for-a-nap-right-now exhausted anymore.

I found a suppliment pill that doesn't bother me.  And I do wash it down with orange juice.  I know about the citrus helping with absorption.  But what I DIDN'T know was that tea was not good for taking iron.  So I was wasting my morning dose because I always have a cup of tea in the morning!  Now I wait a little while for my tea.  So thank you for that tidbit.  I've tried liquid iron before.  It worked well too.  I might switch to it when the pills run out.

Someone mentioned a parasite was the cause of her friend's anemia.  That sounded horrifying.  I'm so sorry that even happens.  Yikes!  I'm happy to say that mine can be chalked up to "natural causes".  (Sorry if this is getting a bit too personal.  It's Friday nite, I can't sew, I can't take pretty pictures and I needed a break so I just sat down here at my computer to say hi.  I guess for me hi = a mild/moderate dose of too much information.)

I miss you guys.  I am SO not at all enjoying not sewing and blogging.  I feel super guilty for not even having a pretty photo to show you.  There isn't a corner in my house that isn't upside down.  But Auntie Jill is here.  She arrived yesterday.  You know how awesome my sister is?  She's forcing us to eat our cupboards bare.  That's right.  For dinner tonite we had a combination of canned beans, toast with jam, fruit and artichoke hearts.  And sweet potato chips.  I am not kidding. 

All I want to do these days is find things to get rid of so I don't have to move it.  I went to the bottle depot yesterday.  That felt good.  Today I returned library books and then made my first ever trip to a pawn shop.  I know, so arbitrary, right?!  But you know how jewelry tends to just collect in your drawer?  I'm not much of a jewelry girl myself.  But this stuff has multiplied somehow over my lifetime - from relatives and gifts and ... you know, that sort of thing ... stuff that I will never wear.  They have no sentimental value to me.  Some of them I have no idea where they came from.  Some of them are just dated.  Some broken.  So.  I took a handful of gold pieces to a pawn shop and walked out with enough cash to buy a couple of take-out dinners when we move.  Call me crazy but that felt awesome!

Ok.  I really only thought I was going to tell you about my new bakery find.  Wasn't expecting to blurt out all that other stuff.  Hope you have a lovely summer weekend, wherever you are.  I'll be packing while my sister finds us more exciting meals to eat - like shrimp and prunes and mustard and granola bars.  She might even toss in a bay leaf or two.

xo k

Wednesday
Jul162014

not "goodbye" - more like "i'll be around"

Ok, I'm done with the auction for now.  Thank you so very much for all of your interest, enthusiasm, encouragement and participation.  You've lightened my load and lifted my spirits.  I'll have a few more treasures for you after the move. 

I've had many kind requests for a peek into my new house ... cross my heart promise I will show you.  (Like you could stop me!  LOL!  I think every blogger is part exhibitionist in some way, right?) 

The kitchen went in a few weeks ago - gorgeous white shaker-style with sparkly quartz and white countertops - and the tilework is nearly done.  I can hardly wait to show you the kitchen backsplash.  Let's just say it's best appreciated by quilters. ;)  You may find a few pins of it over on my Pinterest Kitchen board.  We just picked the hardware for all the cabinetry and we need to go shopping for light fixtures.  We're taking 3 chandeliers and my 2 Restoration Hardware fixtures with us, but there are still the pendants for over the kitchen island and a few others to find.  I'm stressed about that.  Garage went up last week.  Still a ton of little things, but they'll all get done.  Some things like the stone on the outside, the back deck, and probably the stone on the fireplace may take another month or so to finish.  But because we already sold our house and we need to vacate by July 31st, there's no turning back.  (I think I just heard the faint sound of a freight train coming my way.)

Oh, and did I mention I was just diagnosed with dangerously low iron levels?  As in like I almost need a blood transfusion low.  No wonder I'm finding all this so overwhelming and difficult.  If I added up all the minutes I've spent just standing in a room, staring at all the things that need to be packed, I'm sure it would total more than the actual packing time.  I owe my mom and sister big time for coming from out of town to help.  I'm on supplements now, but I'm not feeling much different yet.

Anyhow.  I'll try to pop in now and again over the next little while ... even if it's just to bend your ear, lean on your shoulder, or perhaps share a few photos of the chaos. ;)  I'm not sure how the whole internet connection stuff will go.  I know there will be a period of time I won't be able to say hi, I just don't know how big or small that window will be.

Oh, and by the way, thank you also for your amazing response to my "Little Girl Purse" pattern!  I knew you'd like it. :)

xo k

Monday
Jul142014

first, first, third & third

Have you heard of the "Greatest Outdoor Show On Earth"?  I have.  Every July since my family moved here from St. Catharines, Ontario when I was two years old.  For ten days, Calgary goes a little nuts as we celebrate our western heritage in cattle ranching & agriculture.  You can read about it here if you're interested.

In my younger years I was a frequest visitor.  I went as a kid a few times with my grandparents.  The parade is fun with little ones.  Then as a teen with friends.  It was always a fun place to go on a date or with all your college buddies.  I also volunteered a few years.  More recently we've taken our girls a few times.  I'm not much for carnivals and midways and too many people and noises and heat mixed with thundershowers and weird smells and crazy overpriced corndogs.  But we went again last week.  And I had a particularly special mission. 

The Calgary Stampede and Exhibition includes an opportunity for people to showcase their arts and crafts - including quilts.  And they are judged.

Now I happen to have a very special group of friends - we call ourselves the Applique Circle of Friends - who meet once a month to spend the day chatting, eating, and doing hand sewing of almost any description - hand piecing, embroidery, applique, quilting ... you name it, one of us does it.  And we're quite talented the lot of us, if I do say so myself. 

Actually, it's not just me who says it.  From our little group we earned two 1st Place, and two 3rd Place ribbons.  My Farmer's Wife Quilt won 3rd in the paper-piecing category. 

And our resident longarmer, Laura - who did all that gorgeous work on my Farmer's Wife - her skills were very well represented there.   She's just that good.  (Actually, to call her "good" is kinda insulting.  She's amazing!!!)

Here's a closer look at Heather's Yoko Saito Houses quilt - it was a Mystery Quilt done thru Quiltmania.  I was privileged to see Yoko's original at Quilt Market a few years ago.  I dare say this one is its equal - nothing short of stunning.  And she quilted it herself too.

I am so proud and honoured to call all these talented and lovely women friends.  Heather, Judy, Laura, Fran, Elaine, Liz, Avery, Cheryl, Michelle, Elisabeth (& Leeanne) love & hugs to you all!  You ladies make quilting just that much more fun.  :)

PS:  Thanks for being my quilt mule, Judy!  I owe you one.

Saturday
Jul122014

a new pattern ... and a summer giveaway

I finally ... FINALLY got around to writing up a quick pattern for one of my all-time favourite little girl/gift/purse designs.  It's a miniature version of my very first bag design (about a decade ago?!  Sheesh!).  The first time I made this little girl version was for my daughter's 4th birthday.  She was huge into Dora back then and I found some cute Dora yardage at Walmart.  I also spotted some equally cute Strawberry Shortcake fabric for her little sister, so I came home with both and went to work.  The end result was two enormous smiles, squeals of delight, and lots of hugs for me.  They used those purses for years to tote their stuff around, carrying everything from Tupperware toys to Littlest Pet Shops to crafts to games ... rocks ... shells ... bits of paper ... if it could fit in the purse, they carried it in the purse.  It was also my "go-to" gift for birthdays for a few years, until all my daughters' friends owned one.  That's when I realized I need to expand my repertoire of quick sewing designs.

So.  Last month, I saw this "oh-my-goodness-I-feel-a-cavity-coming-on- because-that-is-the-sweetest-I've-ever-seen" fabric at Simply Sweet Fabrics

Agh!  Love it.  So of course you know what happened next .... 

Yep.  Little Red Riding Hood (by Lecien) inspired me to write the pattern.  How could I not? 

(My favourite use of polka dots as a lining.)

This print has a lot of detail so I didn't want to add too much in the way of embellishment ... but I did manage to sneak in a little satin bow and tiny lace tab. ;)

This purse is super basic.  No templates, zippers, buttons, snaps, gussets, fittings, inset seams, piping ... none of the details that can be intimidating or frustrating.  If you have basic sewing skills, you can do this pattern.  All it takes is a fabric FQ, a fabric F8 and a FQ of batting.  That said, with a little imagination this patten is also just the starting point.  I've done countless variations including patchwork, lace, piecing, pockets, contrast fabrics, buttons, applique, embroidery ... let your creativity run amok.  The PDF is available in my shop here for $3 and includes 20 step-by-step color photos. 

But wait, there's more!

You know how much I love pretty fabric, right?  I know "pretty" is relative - all in the eyes of the beholder as the saying goes. 

Well I fell in love with this little pretty little bundle of Lecien's "Old/New 30s" the moment I beheld it.  In fact, I was compelled to dust of this old thing (she said sheepishly because she was supposed to be done by now but she hasn't touched it for ... months). 

This tiny print is absolutely PERFECT for my little 1/2" hexagons.

And now for my favourite part ... Shay over at Simply Sweet Fabric has kindly offered to give this bundle of 5 FQs away to a Pretty by Hand reader. :)

But wait, there's more! 

She also wants to include a sweet Little Red Riding Hood FQ. :)

So 6 FQs in total.  That means you could make 4 different purses with this fabric alone if you win. ;)

Giveaway closes July 14th 6:00 pm MST.  Open to everyone!  I wish you all good luck (and I wish you could all win too).