Thursday, January 29, 2009

Imagine That

Please do go take a peek over at Imagine That Quilts. So much creativity going on over there.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

The joy of scrap bags

I will confess. I have a slight addiction to scrap bags. I love ordering them! They're such a fun and exciting thing to receive in the mail. Etsy is a great source. I got one recently from bannerbabe and it was chock full of interesting scraps, some of which I used in my recent valentine's day garland.

One scrap stood out right away and I knew it had to be made into a shirt. I immediately cut it out and pinned it to a plain black shirt I had laying around, and my eldest daughter has been asking me to sew it on ever since. She likes the hand and has been practicing her peace signs. She's 2, so I of course think this is adorable.

Can't start too young instilling peacefulness in our children, right? In the meantime, she cuts quite a dashing figure.

- Donna

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Another Giveaway!

Sparkle Power is having a giveaway featuring her la la lovely posters and blocks.
Get your buns on over there!

Monday, January 26, 2009

Handmade Gitfts are THE Best

Here's my sweet baby girl, happily sporting a beautiful handknit sweater and cap set from her Tati. Love in every stitch, and the bright colours certainly brightened up my day. I think the babe loves her new look, too.
What a great mailbox surprise.
Thanks, Tati P!
- Donna

Welcome, One Pretty Thing Readers

Yay - we're featured on today's Valentine's Day Roundup over at One Pretty Thing. Welcome to those of you who have found your way over here via that great site. Come on back as we're just getting rolling and will have more crafty things soon.

- Donna

Fabric Giveaway

Rush on over to the Crafty Crow for a fabulous fabric giveaway.
Good luck!

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Friday Night Sewing Club

Ok, maybe not so much as a club as me alone, in my sewing room, a big pint of Bass, cold and crisp, beside me and a quiet house, with the husband out babysitting for friends, and our two girls sleeping. (and, might I add, the baby fell asleep on her own! with minimal crying! and slept for 3.5 hours without waking up!)
My sewing room has been set up for a few weeks, and I've not really had time to get comfortable in here. It's amazing to have a separate space for crafts of all kinds, and I'm super grateful to my husband for a) buying me a machine for my birthday, b) installing cupboards for storage, and an eight foot long counter for a workspace, and c) supporting me in this, in general. Yay for good men.

On to what I made. As per my usual, you will get a few lessons I learned, as a VERY novice sewer.

I've been wanting to try my hand at a little patchwork for a while, and last night the time was ripe. I had, waiting in my fabric stash, some great charm squares I had purchased a while back on ebay. (Moda's 1974 Urban Chicks - kinda retro, really cute.) I had seen a tutorial on Sew Mama Sew a while back so I surfed my way over there and tada! Here is my finished product:
- sorry about really sad lighting conditions. Pics at 11:30 pm after a pint of beer just aren't going to be good!
- This doesn't show the thing in its entirety - I used 8 charm squares, cut in half, and I used a flour sack tea towel I had in my stash just waiting to be made pretty.
Mission accomplished, I think.
**Most important lesson learned - make sure there is nothing under your fabric on your cutting mat when you're slicing away with a rotary cutter that has been fitted with a shiny new blade. This may seem obvious but I was getting excited and things were getting messy and I sliced some fusible web that had somehow slid on to the mat. No major harm done, but I might have been sad if it was fabric!

The second thing I made was inspired by two things: a garland I saw on Sparkle Power's Blog and a conversation with my friend MR as we exited a sewing shop this past Friday. I had purchased some invisible nylon thread, as Candace used in her garland, and was telling MR what it was for, and we got chatting about reusable decorations - bunting! garlands! the possibilities! and then she suggested a heart shaped decoration for Valentine's Day. The decision was made to try it that night.

I give you my garland (ok, well maybe only a photo of it - I'll be shipping one of these out East to MR in time for Valentine's day, and one will festoon our living room for February).

Make one! It's easy peasy and a great way to use of scraps.

Here's how:

1) Cut out a strip of fabric.

2) Iron on some fusible web, if you like. While this is probably not necessary, it made the shapes a bit sturdy, and made the sewing part a snap. Double-sided fusible interfacing would likely do this better, but I didn't have any.

3) Pick a fabric for backing, cut out a piece the same size, and iron it on to the fusible welb.

4)Cut out as many hearts as you can fit on your piece of fabric.

5) Repeat process until you have as many hearts as you need for the garlands. I wanted to make two garlands, and I cut out ~45 double sided hearts, in many different sizes.

6) Lay out the hearts in a line, arranging them how you want them to show up, or throw them in a pile and piece the garland catch as catch can. It's all good.

7) Sew the hearts together using invisible thread or regular thread. I did one of each. This was my first time sewing with polyster invisible thread and I found it more tricky than regular thread. Once it started giving me grief, I re-threaded and called it a learning experience.

8) If you like, tuck in a bit of rick rack between two pieces of two hearts so that you have some built in hooks. I just pried the webbing apart, folding the rick rack, inserted, and stitched a bit to secure. It was late by this point, I was tired, and my stitching is a bit wonky. I'm sure yours will look much nicer!
Et voilà: instant February cheer.
Let me know if you try this - I'd love to see other versions.
- Donna

Thursday, January 22, 2009


I made an enormous discovery last night. I might even go so far as to say it was a monumental discovery. Lately I've been toying with the idea of free motion quilting, but seeing that I have a roughly 40 year old Kennmore machine that was handed down from my mother (sound familiar, anyone?!) I didn't think I had a chance at becoming Queen of Free Motion.

On the contrary, my friend!! If there's a will, there's a way. After reading the manual (when all else fails!) I figured out that all I had to do was slip this little metal plate over my feed dogs, press the mystery button on the top of the machine, install the zig zag foot and that old machine was ready and raring to go!

To show my appreciation, I replaced the needle; the poor, dull needle that has been on the machine since it was passed down to me some 10 years ago. It just so happens I have a long list of projects on the go that will look so very lovely (I hope!) having been quilted free motion style! I started cutting out a scrap quilt for a baby present, but that'll go on the back burner until I get a few baby shower gifts sewn up for the weekend.

And since I had to go to the fabric store to get some white fabric for the scrap quilt, I picked up a few new lovelies and some fat quarters while I was there. Must. Stop. Buying. Fabric.


Tuesday, January 20, 2009

5 X 5 swap

Inspired by a post I saw on another blog, Sara and I decided to commit to a year-long, monthly swap of 5 -5 X 5 squares of fabulous fabric. Every month we'll trim up 5 lovely 5 X 5 squares, pop them in the mail, and await our arrival from a few provinces over. Sara participated in quite a few swaps last year and made (and received) some beautiful packages and I thought that this small swap would be a great (and inexpensive) way to keep the mail love going. 'Cause who doesn't love mail? I'm a BIG fan of etsy and ebay and check my porch daily for mail in hopes that something I've ordered has arrived. This 5 X 5 swap will only run the cost of a stamp, so here's to a low cost surprise.

I'm not sure what I'm going to do with my squares - use them up as they come, or save them up for a year long project? I saw a quilt online somewhere ( can't find the link) made up of 2.5" squares of every fabric collected over a number of years - it was beautiful and A LOT of work, but it's tempting to save a little square in a collection.

Here's what I sent to Sara - five squares purchased as part of a kit from a great etsy shop, ImagineFabric.

They are Amy Butler prints: Honeycomb Sand, Star Paisley Sand, Tree Peony Sky, Star Paisley Apricot and Full Moon Polka Dot Cherry. I bought two kits of 30 squares with the intention of trying a quilt.

Sara shipped me these fabulous prints, purchased, she tells me, at the recent Fabricville sale. I love the retroey feel of the brown floral.
What would you do with fabric squares?
- Donna

Monday, January 19, 2009

A Knitter I Am Not

A Knifty Knitter however, I am. No cryptic pattern to follow, no counting, no fancy upside down and backward stitches to maneuver AND the whole kit was 50% off. Need I say more?
I guess I should have started by introducing myself, but not following patterns and succumbing to the power of a good sale pretty much sum me up. Anyway, hi! It's me, Sara, the other half of Kindred Crafters.
I should point this out right off the top: Donna is the writer of the two of us. She knows how to write a good, fluid post with all the proper grammar. She dots her i's and crosses her t's, that wonderful woman. Me, on the other hand, I overuse commas and exclamation marks and write whatever comes to mind. I do like to take a lot of pictures though, and they're worth 1,000 words a piece so I'll likely take that route, Okay? Okay! We're all in agreement here. I like you already.
Like Donna, I have a day job that doesn't come close to filling my need to express myself creatively, so I used a lot of my after hours time to create. I have one daughter who also, thankfully, loves to 'make stuff' so I try to do a lot of it in unison with her. Sewing, cooking, baking, taking pictures and collecting a lot of things that may be useful someday are big in my world. I think it's safe to say that sewing is my main squeeze, but I'll try anything at least once.

Why do I sew?
1) As a creative outlet
2) As a way to justify my addiction of buying pretty fabric
3) To teach my daughter what my grandmother, mother, step-mother taught me. To keep this hobby alive into the next generation.
4) To create for other people. I love how when I set out to make something for someone, they consume my thoughts for at least the duration of the project.
5) Because I love the idea of 'one of a kind' gifts
6) Because I love getting an idea and having the ability to create it myself, with my own two hands.
7) Because it's so, so much fun!

So there you have it, my first post on our awesome new blog! I am very excited about this adventure and especially proud to be sharing the experience with my Donna. We truly are Kindred Crafters, her and I.

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Inaugural Post - Why I Sew

Hi there,
Welcome to kindred crafters. My friend Sara and I decided to start this blog as a way to facilitate our own discussions about crafting. You see, we live several provinces apart, and chat several times daily, via email, about what we're up to, what is inspiring us, and what we'd like to try next. Crafting has really brought us closer as friends, and these emails about crafting have been peppered with tales of our respective family lives, work lives, and everdayness.

So . . .we thought that maintaining a blog might make this easier and more fun. I'm a newbie at crafting, in general. Sara is an old hand, and has proven to be my mentor. I have found SO much inspiration online, and have seen evidence of a real community out here, that I'd like very much to be a part of. So this is our foray out there.

I thought a good way to start would be to record why I sew. I sew because:

1) It's fun.
2) It makes me feel useful.
3) I have a real sense of pride when I hear my two year old say "Mama sewed it."
4) I see a new community of women gathering online and in real life over sewing, creating, crafting, and it excites me.
5) It's so very fun.
6) I am constantly inspired by what I am seeing online and at craft shows.
7) Sewing is a skill that I see almost immediate improvement in my skills, which is very reinforcing.
8) I get great satisfaction with finishing a project. I'm a bureaucrat by day and sometimes it feels like things never get DONE, ya know? Sewing things at the end of the day makes me feel like I have accomplished something.
9) It has brought me closer to Sara, which has been most awesome.
10) Did I mention it's the most fun?

Why do YOU sew?


This week I made a few dolls, based on a pattern provided by Emily Martin, of the Black Apple, on the Martha Stewart Show. My daughter, who is 2, will be attending a birthday party for her cousin this coming weekend, and was in need of a gift. When I came across the pattern online, I figured it looked manageable for a sewing newbie like me, and it really was. My decision to attempt this was cinched (and the work was doubled) when I showed Margo and she said "and for me, too?". One doll became two. I learned quite alot whlie sewing these dolls, and think that I improved on my original with the second doll. I LOVE that about sewing. I feel it's a skill that will continue to grow and push and stretch my abilities and interest. There is so much out there I want to try!

So that's it for me. We both welcome any and all comments, and are both so looking forward to sharing with one another and other kindred crafters.
- Donna