merry christmas!


if you need to get your groove on ...

I heard this song today and can NOT get it out of my head.  It just makes me so happy!  I hope you like it too. :)


what's black and white and cute all over?

My latest mad-dash, last-minute, rush-stitched birthday gift sewing project for my daughter's friend that I made with some of the fabrics I included in this FQ bundle. ;)  The invite only came in two days before the party though, so it wasn't my fault this time. ;)  Thank goodness these pouches are so quick and easy to make.

On that note, I always get requests for an English tutorial of this Chinese tutorial pin on Pinterest.  You know, was going to rewrite it in English for you.  But I had a few people questioning the ethics of doing so - copyright and all.  I felt a little uncomfortable thinking that maybe it wasn't right.  So I asked my lawyer.  He looked into it and assured me that translating the pin was perfectly legal.

But just because it's legal, doesn't mean it's cool, right?

It got me thinking.  How would I feel if someone took my tutorial and translated it into another language and posted it on the internet for everyone?  I admit that as long as the translator was courteous enough to link back to my original, I would be flattered and would appreciate the exposure.  If I post a free pattern on the internet, I do so with the hope that everyone who is so inclined can enjoy it, no matter what language they speak.

However, just because I wouldn't mind, doesn't mean that someone else wouldn't be bothered.  As much as I would love to help as many people as I could enjoy making this pouch - which was clearly intended to be used by the general public for free - I hesitate to write it out of respect for the author.

I hope you understand.

In the meantime, if anyone knows how I could contact the author to ask for permission, please let me know!  (It's a long-shot, for sure ... but this internet thing ... you never know!)


flower photography practice

Wow is it ever a lot harder than I thought to take nice pictures of flowers.  But I'm going to keep trying (as long as I can steer clear of the drive-thru ... get it?  "Steer" clear?  LOL!  Oh I'm just so hilarious, aren't I.)

Never mind.

I wanted to show you my Halloween posy because it looks so much prettier, now that the carnations are opening and I took out one of the green mist stems.

But I couldn't bear to throw out that lonely stem so I found a tiny vintage medicine bottle and it fits perfectly.

I used another vintage vessel for the main bouquet too - a glass milk bottle that I picked up at a flea market a while back.  I haven't had much need for vases over the years and I like making do with what I have.  But I might start looking for a few more. ;)

I also had fun adding the spools of lace to the photos - because the green mist is part of the Laceflower family.  I dunno.  I just like doing that sort of thing.  It makes me happy.

Sorry no sewing stuff today.  Hope you like my flowers all the same.


"pretty pairings II" ~ a fq bundle giveaway

This just never gets old ... being asked to put together a Blogger's Bundle of my favourite fat quarters.  This is the third time Pink Castle Fabrics has asked me to make one and it's definitely my best yet.  (Says me.)

Because I enjoy making small, quick projects with just 2 fabrics, I decided to choose another eight pairs if coordinating prints.  They are almost all designed by my beloved Japanese fabric companies - Lecien, Yuma, Kokka, etc.  They're fun, whimical, pretty, the scale is small ... makes my heart fabric-loving heart go pitter-patter.

My approach was to pick a whimsical print with a smaller coordinate.  I was particularly drawn to the Liberty-esque florals that I love so much.

This pair - of Lecien's Flower Sugar reinvented as a tea party and a newspaper print - makes me giggle a bit.  I was thinking it'd be fun to read the morning paper (or iPad/blogs) while enjoying a cup of tea.  When my daughter saw the tea party fabric, she begged me to please make her an apron out of it.  Excellent - one Christmas gift idea solved. :)

Cute little kawaii red riding hood kittens!!!

This faux patchwork is perfect for pencil cases and such, but I also thought the squares would be fun to fussy-cut and made into labels for larger projects.

Don't you just love charming translations from Japanese to English?  The above fabric reads, "I love the sweet cake and donut."  And below, "It is loved by everyone beyond the time."

Cute, cute, cute.

This bundle is available for purchase here.  FYI, stock is limited and the last few bundles I made for Pink Castle Fabrics sold out in about a week so if you don't want to be disappointed ...

But if you'd also like a chance to win it, please leave me a comment telling me if you've started on your Christmas sewing and if so, what you are making.  This giveaway closes Sunday, November 9th and is open to all!

PS:  If you're not doing any sewing for Christmas, that's ok.  You can still enter. :)


halloween flowers

So much prettier than skulls and spiders, don't you think? :)

You know, I can count on one hand the number of times I've bought flowers for myself.  I've always preferred to spend my pin money on fabric ... and possibly the occasional drive-thru.

And I've always been ... hmmm ... not so good at flower arranging.  I've been hoping all these years that I'd magically somehow be good at it, but that is not turning out to be the case.


I also had this idea recently that if I just drove past the drive-thru once or twice a week instead of ... you know, t.h.r.u. it ..., I could redirect those funds into flowers.  This is my first little bunch.  And I've already learned that these white ones - I think they're called ... oh shoot, now I can't remember ... I thought they were Queen Anne's Lace, but that's not it.  If you know what they are, please tell me!

At any rate, although they look really beautiful in the shop, they are super hard to arrange with - especially for this novice.  So this isn't my favourite look, but the carnations are a lovely orangy-pink.  I thought they'd be nice for Halloween. 

And for you. :) 

Trick or Treat!

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Nov. 1st

I found it!  (Gotta love Google, don't ya?)  That flower is called Green Mist and is from the Laceflower family,  as is Queen Anne's Lace, which is why some of us were fooled.  Read a little more about it here if you're interested.


sunday sewing and a few winners

I got caught again ... last minute sewing.  My daughter is at a birthdy party this afternoon and I didn't get around to making this little pouch until ... hmmm ... a few short hours before the party.

But I got it done - and photographed - and had fun doing both.  I wasn't worried about getting it finished, I was worried that something horrible would go wrong (the snap cracking when I hammered it in place - which would require a lot of unstitching and an entire redo of the flap, the iron scorching - always a disaster ... you know something weird and unpredictable that tends to happen when you're in a hurry). 

Happy to say it was all smooth sailing. :)  I made it to hold a gift certificate.  Much nicer than an envelope, wouldn't you say?

I've made a few of these earlier this year.  I got the pattern from Pinterest.  Click here to find the pattern pin and here to see my other versions of this cute little pouch. 


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Now I have a bit of housekeeping to take care of.  I've had a few giveaways lately and although I already contacted the winners, I didn't announce them here.  So congratulations to:

Donna S. for winning the Miss Kate bundle from Simply Sweet Fabric,

Sigrid G. for winning the $25 Gift Certificate from Shabby Fabrics,

and Diane K. for winning the Perennial Beauty bundle from Fort Worth Fabric Studio.


I have another giveaway coming very soon - hopefully this week - stay tuned! :)


perennial beauty ~ a pretty giveaway

You know Fort Worth Fabric Studio, right?  It's a great online shop. Tons of gorgeous fabrics and a whole bunch more.  If you've never been, you should go check it out.  :)  Jodie, the owner (and a super sweet lady), has very kindly offered to give this "Perennial Beauty" bundle to one of you.  Isn't it just delicious?

But wait, there's more ...

Because Jodie knows how much I love using cotton tape labels, she's tied this bundle up with TWO YARDS of this pretty "Paris" one (it's a favourite of mine!).  By the way, her price for this tape is amazing - 0.69/yd!  Imagine using it on all the gifts for your family under the Christmas tree this year .... and then squirrling it all back for your sewing room.  I'd totally do that. ;)

For a chance to win this pretty bundle of 11 FQs and 2 yds of labels, leave me a comment telling what you'd make with it.  This giveaway closes Friday, October 24 and is open to everyone ... no exclusions. :)

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Hope you're having an awesome weekend.  The sun is shining in my corner of the world, there are still a few defiant leaves hanging onto branches for dear life, and I think there's a trip to the corner patisserie for me in the very near future.  As in like RIGHT NOW!  I'm in dire need of a Pain au Chocolat and a nice hot cup of Irish Breakfast tea.  Two cream, one sugar please.


quilty fun birthday party!


Happy Birthday to you,Happy Birthday to you,

Happy Birthday dear awesome book Quilty Fun by my sweet friend Lori Holt over at Fat Quarter Sho-ooooooop ... (deep breath!)

Happy Birthday to you!

If you'd like to make this cute birthday block, click here for the free pattern!

Fabrics:  Linen is this, candle and cake stand are from Scrumptious by Moda, candle holder is from Durham by Lecien, cake & frosting are newish from Tilda, bow is older from Tilda (thank you H!).


christmas keepsake - and a giveaway

Kits.  There's just something about a kit ... especially when it comes in the mail.

As a proud stash owner, I love diving into my private fabric collection to create something pretty.  But every once in a while, it's really nice when someone else does all the thinking for me.  Kits are perfect for those moments.  You are guaranteed that everything you need - all perfectly coordinated - is right there at your fingertips.  No thinking, no hunting, no frustration.

Shabby Fabrics has a new Block of the Month program, kitted into 10 packages - including laser cut pieces (yay!) or traditional applique pieces if you prefer, and all the necessary embellishment - you do NOT have to trace, cut, or go to 10 different stores looking for the exact right colour and size of buttons, ribbons, bells, etc. ... LOL!

I whipped up this lovely wreath in about 1/2 an hour.  Can't decide if it's going to be a pillow, a bag, or a wall hanging ... or something else.

If you're interested in finding out more, click here.

As promised, I have another giveaway.  Shabby Fabrics is offering a $25 gift certificate for their shop to one of you.  To enter, just tell me which of the blocks in "Christmas Keepsakes" (first photo) is your favourite.  This giveaway closes October 15th and is open to all!  :)

There are seven other bloggers who also have a giveaway for you!  You can see more about this Block of the Month and enther their giveaways here:

Paula @ The Sassy Quilter
Erin @ Stay at Home Mummy
Karin @ Leigh Laurel Studios
Melissa @ Happy Quilting
Erin @ Why Not Sew?
Caroline @ SewCanShe



what i turned those tiny embroidered flowers into ...

The label reads:

Once in a golden hour I cast to earth a seed, 

Up there came a flower. 

The people said, a weed,

To and fro they went

Thru' my garden-bower,

And muttering discontent

Cursed me and my flowers.

I know.  It's kinda weird.  But it's pretty and I like the flower/garden references. :)

Sorry this reveal took me so long!  For something that didn't require all that much work this little bag sure took me a while to finish.  I started embroidering the flowers in August when we were in Iowa.  Then I just kinda hemmed and hawed over it.  And then when my hemming and hawing gave birth to this idea, it still took me a while to finish it all.

But it was worth the wait for me.  I love love love every single thing about it.  I love the simple embroidery, I love the lace trim (which I slavaged from an old night gown I found when we moved), I love the diamond quilting and the combination of white and taupe linen, I love the leather label on the front and the cotton tape label on the back, I really love the lining fabric - which I almost didn't use it because I hate using up my favourite fabrics ... and I love the rolled handles.  I was channeling my inner Japanese Zakka girl.  I think I succeeded.  :)

I don't have a pattern for the bag - I just made it up on the fly.  But if you're interested in the embroidery design, I found it in Floral Motifs to Embroider by Reiko Mori.  A very dear friend in Japan sent it to me a few months ago and I am head over heels in love with every page.  If you like to embroider flowers and girly things, I promise you this book will not disappoint.  Just keep in mind that the instructions are in Japanese so you need to know some basic embroidery, and it's better if you're good with figuring out new stitches just from diagrams.  The Oyster Stitch was new to me and I didn't have any trouble figuring it out because the diagrams are very clear. :)


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.

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


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.)




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!


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 ...



september snow

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






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


reaping the benefits


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


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, 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.

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


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. ;) 


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? :)