Monday, August 31, 2009

Disaster Strikes

Quite the dramatic title for this blog post, but it's how I feel.

Last night an unmitigated quilting disaster struck.

I can't believe how devastated I felt. For those of you who have seen the film or read the book "Julie and Julia", think Julie Powell lying on the kitchen floor after her aspic falls apart . . thinking she will never be able to complete her quest to cook her way through Mastering the Art of French Cooking. That was me.
Scene: 10 pm, Donna's dining room. The dining room table and all chairs have been pushed and piled to one side to make room for what is about the transpire.

Characters: Donna, her loving and supportive husband, and one mofo string quit top. Donna has just spent two hours piecing her so easy (ha ha) quilt backing, which has been laboriously taped to the floor. The batting has been cut and smoothed to within an inch of its life. It's the moment of truth. Donna lays the much anticipated, much loved, and much cursed string quilt top down to get it ready for basting.
Donna: it won't smooth out.

Husband: Here, I'll pull on this edge.

Donna: Now, look - it's bunching over there.

Husband: Maybe if I pull over here.

Donna: It's not working! Look how wrinkled the sashing looks!!

Husband: Did you mean for it to be puckered like that?

Donna (to herself!) Not helpful! Not supportive! (to husband) No! I don't know what's going on! Maybe I need to take the sashing off and square off the string part (as i should have done!) before reattaching.


With that I got to work ripping out the sashing and at 10:45 I ironed the quilt top nice and smooth. Only it wasn't. What followed was a meltdown of epic proportions. Maybe it was fatigue, maybe it was hormones, maybe I was just so darn frustrated that I had put so much time and effort into this quilt and IT WASN'T WORKING . . .but I was pretty much a puddle on the floor, à la Julie Powell, with no phone call coming through with a famous quilter wanting to come to my house and watch me sew (good thing, I think).

'Cause, see, the sashing wasn't the problem, the blocks are the problem. After a night's sleep (sort of - the baby woke up twice and it was laaate before I crawled into bed), I had a flurry of emails back and forth to Sara, and it's been decided what I need to do.

Burn the sucker.

No, just kidding. When Sara comes to Ottawa to visit next month, our joint sewing project will be dubbed Operation Rescue String Quilt. The mission: we will rip all the blocks apart, square each and every block off, re-sew them into a top, add the binding and I should be good to go.

Sara has advised me to fold it up nice and neat and put it in a safe place until she arrives. Perhaps Operation Rescue String Quilt is not the most scintillating sewing project we could have tackled together, but there'll be wine, some fine dessert I shall make, and 9.5 years of in-person catching up to do.
Here the batting, backing, and quilt top sit, all folded and awaiting some help from afar!
Deep breaths.
- Donna

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Zeee Shirts

I think I mentioned that I'm participating in a craft show in mid-November (like maybe eighteen times or so ..I'm pretty excited!). I've been sitting on a big box of beautiful organic onesies that I ordered from here ages ago. They arrived in June, and while I so pleased with the quality and colours of them, I haven't touched them.

(aren't the colours GREAT? I was so psyched to find organic cotton in colours that go beyond oatmeal or pale pastels - although I did order a few in pale colours, and even a few in 'natural')

After pre-washing, the shirts have sat, in a box, in my craft room. Prompted by the birth of a very good friend's second child (Welcome, Cedar!!), I got a few out last night and FINALLY got started.

It's my daughter's first birthday, and I've had a long sleeve tee in white sitting waiting for some jazzing up. I was majorly inspired by Allison's beautiful pillow, and have based my shirt on this. (Funny - in looking up the link to this awesome pillow, I looked at it again - I had a picture of what it looked like in my head last night when I laid out the shirt but in fact it's pretty different. Mind playing tricks . . .) I machine stitched Cedar's shirt in the interest of time (I handmade a few other little treats and need to get this parcel off - the girl is going to be a month old before it reaches her, easily!), but I want to handstitch all my girl's leaves. Labour of love and all that.

I've been busy with a few other projects but nothing to show for my busyness yet! Back to it . .I'm feeling charged up by having started building some 'stock' for the show. You were right, Sara - once I got started I got excited! Only 40 or so more shirts to go.

- Donna

Friday, August 21, 2009

I'm back

Well, in all honesty, I've been back for a while now but just not back in the mood for sewing until now. What else is a girl supposed to do when she's trying to pretend she's not in extreme pain and first in line for a root canal? Here's a peek at what has been taking my mind off of my reality for the past three evenings.
The proverbial root canal was yesterday and in case you're wondering, the process isn't as bad as people say. The pain before and after is what gives root canals a bad name!
Also, August 5x5 arrived from Donna. The months they are flying by! I love the aqua theme this month. Donna was timely with the cool colors considering the heatwave we've been experiencing. I am not complaining though, I save that for the -30 weather!

I also had to show you the card she sent with the fabric this month. Isn't it adorable? Available here. And while I'm on the topic of letterpress and cards, do check out this etsy shop. I'm in love (and have one on the way!) with the camera card. Such great designs!


Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Summer is now in full swing

There's a little sewing going on in my world ... but mostly it's just summer. Two weeks of back trouble (that I blame on my new birks) left me almost flat on my back. What a way to end off my maternity leave. Boo. I'm a week and a half in to being back at work, and it's going ok. Baby is adjusting to daycare, and I'm adjusting to having time to be with adults and have adult conversations.

But I miss having TIME at home. Particularly this week, when I went ahead and organized evening activities for myself not just Monday, not just Monday and Tuesday, but Monday, Tuesday, AND Wednesday. Yikes! It's been WAAAY hot here, too. I think today it was 40C with the humidity. Oh the humidity, Oh the humanity. That's 104F for those Americans among our readers. Maybe that's not even that hot compared to what some of you face, but for me, a born and bred Northern girl (we're talking north of the 60th parallel here), this is hard. Our lovely, 95 year old house is not equipped with central air (or ducts, for that matter), and since we're trying to be all green and stuff, we haven't even put in the window a/c unit that is languishing in our (recently insulated) basement . . it's hot. And the basement is not even cool thanks to our environmental upgrades. Not that I'd want to hang out down there, but it was always enjoyable to sink below on 'errands' and enjoy the cool.

I'm not meaning to be all complainy. I'm actually in a good place. Eating well, really enjoying my walks to and from work, (yay for built in exercise!), and looking forward to getting some Christmas gifts underway AND some goods for the craft sale that I'm organizing and selling at in mid-November. My first one. I'm terrified and excited, all at the same time.

More on that in another post. Just wanted to stop in and say hello. Isn't summer a difficult time to be productive? I'm in awe of what some of you are accomplishing and I'm so thankful for the craft blog community. Reading what other folks are doing makes me feel more crafty! And that's a good thing.

- Donna

Saturday, August 1, 2009

Purple People Eater

I don't normally do purple, but every now and then the mood strikes me, and the night I made this camera strap must have been one of those times! This was made to bring on vacation with us bright and early tomorrow morning. It's been a long time coming and I just can't wait. It'll be hard to sleep tonight! Word to the wise: if you make yourself a camera strap, take pictures of it before it's attached to your camera...unless, of course, you're a contortionist.

Be back in a week or so. Be good 'til I get back, now.