Sunday, August 7, 2011

I went on my summer vacation and this is all I have to show for it...

Hey everyone!

Summer vacay draws to a close tomorrow....and VERY little in the sewing department to show off. What can I say? The weather was hot and sunny (every day!!), I had a bit of a muscle injury from running in shoes that didn't fit well, and I just plain took it easy - it was great! But...I do have a few little things to show you.

I did manage to make up two little mug rugs - the bottom one is to send in my niece's first care package - she starts college this September so I put together a little box to help warm her new apartment. Tea necessitated a tea rug, and I had a tiny bit of binding left from her quilt, so perfect use, I thought. The top mug rug below is off to Victoria, BC to a fantastic friend who I miss dearly. We've been friends since we were wee ones, and I don't get to see her often enough (Like, um, a mere 3 times in the last six years, two of those times at our respective weddings).

My second little bit of sewing was a hanging hand towel for my kitchen...and contrary to how it might appear, it's not actually done. I still need to sew a button hole but couldn't find my manual to figure out how to do it.

And a last, gratuitous shot, 'cause while sour cherry season is sadly over, we did manage to pick a bundle for the freezer, many of which have made it into our bellies. We spoke to a farmer at the market this am, and may order a pail this week while we still can. Mmmmmm...sour cherries!

Oh, and our quilting bee has kicked off -and blocks made up from my fabric are beginning to show up on the flickr group. I'm super excited!

Back to the grind tomorrow!!

- Donna

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Random bits and bobs

Hi everyone!

How is your summer going? In my household, we're chugging along happily toward our week off. (only a week! eeps!). Today I am treating you to a random list of bits and bobs that have caught my eye lately.

  • Pinterest! OMG. Are you guys on board with this wonderful new time suck, I mean tool for finding fantastic things on the web and best, of all, bookmarking them in a lovely visual way? The site is only by invitation now, but if anyone wants an invitation, let me know. I'm there by my real name, Donna. Come say hi!

  • Unscripted Bee is almost ready to kick off. The postal strike set us back a week but I'm up for August and I packaged up my fabric today - labels are made; I just need to pick up some envelopes tomorrow and we're a go!

  • I'm freaking out a bit - have been accepted to do a graduate diploma in public policy /program evaluation - it should take me approximately 16 months. I am nervous about balancing work, family, and school. Any tips?

What's going on with all of you?

- Donna

Saturday, July 2, 2011

First Bee Quilt!

I had a few days off last week and worked on the Double Rainbow quilt..happy to announce it's finished! Bound, washed, and ready to be mailed to Saskatchewan. I have shown it to my niece already (so much for a surprise) by way of facebook and she loves it so that is fantastic.

Originally, I was going to go with some small rainbow (all colours in) mosaic tiles for the back, but then I started leafing through Modern Log Cabin Quilting, and the rest, as they say, is history. I love the punch of bold colours against the Kona Coal. I only wish I had had better luck (or skill) in the basting. I'm a little irritated that the row of log cabins isn't more centred. Oh well.

For the binding, I went with Ann Kelle's lovely Remix rainbow striping - it just yelled out to me from the shelves of my local quilt shop. It makes this quilt a quadruple rainbow...but I think we can handle it.
I quilted it in some random diagonal lines. I had other plans, but these things change. In the interest of not pulling out my hair on my days off, I went simple. Hope it's enough quilting to hold it together!

Thanks to all the members of Sew Modern all-Canadian Bee. You gals did a fantastic job. Made my work so much simpler! I hope this is the first of many quilting bee quilts I put together.

- Donna

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Quilt in action!

Man, I love it when quilt recipients share a photo of a quilt I've made, in use. Particularly baby quilts, because OH THE CUTENESS!! You might remember this solids and polka dot quilt I made for the daughter of a coworker and friend. Mama sent me this photo last night of Gaby the wondergirl playing on it and it just made me smile. Check out this girl's HAIR!!!

Happy weekend everyone. rainy and wet here - hope you're sitting under sunnier climes!

- Donna

Monday, June 20, 2011

Double's so intense.

On Thursday night I finished my quilt top with the bee blocks put together by the all-Canadian Sew Modern Bee. So many steps left, but I had to share the completed top. I love the bright array of fabrics, and am pleased with how it has come together. Just the thing, I think, to send with my niece when she leaves home to start college.

I'm a little embarrassed to admit that this quilt top's name was 100% inspired by this youtube smash. My niece and I almost, er, peed our pants watching this while she was visiting and honestly, if you haven't seen it yet, please don't watch with a full bladder.

On to the back....

Will be nice to finish a quilt -- I think this will be my first one of the year!

- Donna

Sunday, June 19, 2011

smores on a stick for papa's day

smores on a stick by Kindred Crafters
smores on a stick, a photo by Kindred Crafters on Flickr.

A sweet confection for a sweet man. One of two desserts for Papa's Day! A bbq planned for later with friends, ribs and baked beans and potato salad, oh my! (There'll be some green things there I'm told, to balance out all the rest!)...sun is shining. I'm just so happy to have some a wonderful father for my kids! Hope you are all enjoying Father's Day today too!

- Donna

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Sweet Like Sugar

This is how I decided to use up my all white Bella Solids charm pack. Holly had suggested to just pair it up with a patterned charm pack to make a quick patchwork quilt. She was absolutely right when she said quick! This one was a breeze to put together.

I did think it turned out a little small with just the two charm packs, so I added a few borders around to add some size. I think it may be a little too big in the end, but lucky for me, babies grow and it'll be just the right size at some point in her lifeThe binding might be my favorite binding ever. It was a teensy bit more work because I didn't realize you had to match up stripes on striped binding, so I had to pull out some stitches (which I normally avoid at all costs!) and put it back together. It was well worth it in the end to have it look like one big continuous piece.
It is quilted in the ditch around the patchwork and then 1/4" on either side of each of the border seams. It made for an interesting pattern on the back...of which I only have terrible pictures, so you'll have to trust me on that one!


Sunday, May 29, 2011

You Are My Sunshine

I've had wonky stars on the brain since Tong asked us to do these blocks for Sew Modern Bee. This quilt went together a lot faster than I expected. I just had to get into a groove and find a way to chain piece most of the blocks. Once I managed that, I was completely sold on this pattern! As much as I love modern quilting, there is something that just melts me about old fashioned patterns.

When I picked up this cheater print a few months ago, I instantly knew I wanted it to be the back of an all yellow quilt. I think it works pretty great on the back of this one!

This was the first time I've used pre-made binding. I can't believe I'm saying this, but I think I would rather make it myself! The pre-made is just a little more flimsy than what I am used to, but I do like how this one matches so well with the other elements of the quilt.

Big E took a shining to this one, but it's actually for one of the 7 babies of 2011! I have one more quilt to make to round out the seven and I better get at it since the Mama is due in exactly one month!


Thursday, May 19, 2011

A New Bee!

Donna and I started a new quilting bee! An all Canadian improv quilting bee, that is! So anxious to get started. Sew Modern Bee was such a great learning experience and as it is coming to a close this month, both Donna and I decided we weren't quite finished with quilting bees just yet. I'll be Queen Bee in September this time around as I just have too much on the go right now and through the summer. I am so very anxious already!!


Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Crafthope, Project 12 - Bracelets for Orphans

Are you all familiar with Craft Hope? The latest project they're organizing is bracelets for Orphan Outreach. Go read this post by someone who decided to help out. You may cry. I'll wait.

This quote, from the post, just got me right in the heart:

I can't help but think that maybe a little girl who very deeply knows the pain of life without loving parents might find a few moments of joy when she places a bracelet we made on her little arm.

Dontcha wanna make some bracelets?

I made 21...kind of a random number but that's how I roll. Join in, and give a little joy by showing an orphan someone is thinking about them. That's what I hope the kids who get the bracelets I made feel when they do these up. (Pattern generously shared by Jennifer Casa)

- Donna

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Crafting with the Kiddies

I want to craft more with my girls. I have good intentions, but sometimes the need to 'plan' things out and get prepared gets in the way. My girls are always provided with glue, scissors, markers, crayons, paper, bits of yarn, googly eyes, pipecleaners, playdough, etc, in their easy accessible craft cupboard, but for the more organized 'attivities' (as my 4 year old calls crafts), I'm less good at finding things to do and getting prepared (even though I peruse many kids crafting websites frequently).

I love it when a quilting blog comes through with a good idea. A while back I saw this idea over on Cluck Cluck Sew. I knew that the girls' doors needed one, and last Easter weekend was the perfect opportunity as we had nothin' but time, time, time. And I'm a girl with scraps and buttons, oh, am I.

My four year old (her M is on the bottom) got very into this activity and even wanted to make a face with felt and buttons. My two year old was less focused but of course had to copy her sister's face idea. The Ms (their names both start with M!) now hang on their doors and make me smile when I walk by their rooms.

My four year old's breathey "oh, mama, it's sooo fabricy" statement of pride when she was all done pretty much melted my heart.

Have you and your kids made anything fab lately?

- Donna

Thursday, April 21, 2011

My mailbox is hungry

My mother in law bought us a housewarming gift..oh yes, it's a shiny, kinda-even-sexy new mailbox. It replaced the old ugly way too small rusty jobby that was affixed to our new house. It can fit fabric packages nicely..I can't wait to feed it!

- Donna

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Sewing vacation

I took a day off yesterday with the express plans to SEW!!! Holly came over to join me and we both jumped a bit from project option to project option before settling down at our machines. I ended up finishing two baby bibs for a baby gift (pattern by jennifer casa). I'm a little bit in love with the grey green one but the pop of orange on the blue one makes me smile I'll be shipping these off across the country later this week and I hope the newest arrival likes them.

I also made a bracelet using jennifer's awesome tutorial for wristlet's and Holly and I have plans to making a dozen or so for the most recent Craft Hope call out. More to come on that one!

Anyone feel like joining Holly and I in some bracelet making?

- Donna

Saturday, April 9, 2011

Jelly Roll Wonderland

My grandmother used to make the best Jelly Roll. Actually, come to think of it, she was the only person I've ever know to actually make Jelly Roll, but it was fantastic! Each time I hear the words, I am thrown right back to my childhood, sitting at her kitchen table savoring every last bite of my slice! I really wish I had her recipe so I could recreate that same pleasure for my daughter, but I doubt I'd be brave enough for the rolling part. I could see my cake cracking in more places than one!

This wonderland was my first ever fabric Jelly Roll purchase. I got it on sale when Fat Quarter World was closing out. It's just been sitting on top of my stash for the better part of a year, so I decided to sew it into a simple strip quilt before the fabrics and colors went completely out of style! It sure did make for a quick finish! Gotta love those pre-cuts!

As you can see, I straight line quilted about 1/4" on either side of each seam. I love the effect this gave the solid pink back. I also used two different shades of pink thread to give it a little more interest on the plain back.

This one is going to the next one of my (many!) pregnant friends who announces she's having a little girl.


Thursday, April 7, 2011

Mug Rugs and Placemats {Swirling}

I am finding these little mug rugs popping up everywhere to be so very inspiring. All kinds of great quilting techniques, free piecing and color combinations - a real feast for the eyes! I've sat down to try my hand at making at least one, but get overwhelmed with the possibilities and end up doing something entirely different. 1. My 1st Mug Rug!, 2. mug rug, 3. saturdays, 4. Mug Rug Swap Round 2 for Emedoodle, 5. pink camper mug rug, 6. Hearts Mug Rug, 7. Red letter day mug rug, 8. flowery mug rug, 9. Ticker tape mug rug Placemats, much like mug rugs, have also been swirling around in my head for some time. I just wish I could decide on fabric and a design! I get so hung up deciding on the 'perfect' pattern and the 'perfect fabrics' that years go by and I still haven't made anything. I could have made and wore out about 3 sets by now! Does that ever happen to you? I do think now that I see that little ticker tape mug rug, that that idea would work so very well for some everyday placemats... I'm tempted to run upstairs right now and try one out, but lucky for the zillion WIPs I have going, I'd need white fabric and I'm STILL waiting for my order to arrive. Tap tap tap on the watch... ~Sara

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Sugar & Spice & Everything Nice

In case you were wondering, this is NOT one of the quilts I mentioned I was working on. I am in deep! I had ordered a Bella Solids charm pack of all white charms from Sew Fresh Fabrics (super fast delivery to Canada!) and it was burning a hole in my stash, so I paired it with a Sweet by Urban Chicks charm pack and next thing I knew, I had another quilt top. It still needs another strip of white around the outer edge, but I am fresh out of white solid. Luckily, that's part of the order that is en route. Fingers crossed my orders arrive this week so I can get to finishing what I started around here. I sure will have my work cut out for me!

Had to include this shot of my little helper fighting the wind! A half decent picture was not an easy task today...


Sunday, April 3, 2011


I found what I wanted to do with my surplus of fabric, I bundled it up in 3 separate bundles, added in some buttons, zippers, thread, measuring tapes and other miscellaneous sewing supplies and am sending them off to Iraqi Bundles of Love. Sounds like it will be put to great use.
I also came across this project in my search and wished I wouldn't have missed the deadline. I do see a message in the comments saying that the organization will accept kits anytime, so I think I'll dip into my flannel stash and put a few together to send off in the coming weeks.

What charity crafting projects have you been involved in?


Thursday, March 31, 2011

Decal love

We're settling in at the new house starting to tackle a few of the nice to haves. This past week, we've had family visiting and I decided to take advantage of some extra hands and put them to work.

When we moved in my daughter asked for her room to be painted pink and purple. She's 4 and is in that phase.. I wasn't feeling the pink and purple love so I decided to order a decal set from etsy. I scoured around and found a beautiful set of trees from Urban Walls. I'm so pleased with the result!

Have you tried wall decals? I'm most happy with how graphic the black tree trunks looks against the wickham grey by Benjamin Moore. (Colour inspired by this post at Posie Gets Cozy!!)

This was a lot of pieces to cut apart, place, rub, and peel. So glad I had family to help!

- Donna

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Spring Cleaning

Since I have 4 quilts in progress which are all at a standstill awaiting various components to arrive, and since that is more than I have ever had on the go at one time, I couldn't bare to start anything else. I did pull the fabrics for #6, but that was as far as I let myself get with that. Instead, I sorted my scraps, as I have been meaning to do for a very long time. I can't remember where I saw this idea, but I liked it when I saw it and I like it even more now! It makes getting at my scraps exponentially easier than my previous storage (crammed into one bin that was too small to house them all.) Now, when I want a certain color, I can just grab what's in the pouch, dig through until I find what I want and stuff it all back in there when i'm finished. Perfect. I (the Mr.) hung it on the inside of the closet door so that it is easily hidden by closing the door. Again, perfect! Did I mention it was $2?
Once that was finished, I moved on to my stash. The situation is getting a little bit out of hand. I can't fit much else on that vintage potato chip rack! A normal person would destash, but I've never claimed to be normal! I can't let go of any of it and I kind of treated myself to some new fabric on Friday...oh where will I ever put it when it arrives? I'm sure I'll figure it out somehow!

Where/how do you store your stash? Are you good at destashing? How often do you destash? What do you do with the fabrics you're ready to part with?


Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Mod Mosaic ...I'm Queen Bee...

Sara has inspired me with her fantastic blocks in the Sew Modern Bee....everyone's blocks are turning out so well, and I can't WAIT to see the fantastic quilt when it's all's going to be awesome...who's it for, Sara?

I have my fabric all cut up and ready to go...I'm planning a graduation gift for my sweet little niece, who is set to graduate this May (the quilt will be late!!). She's almost 18, and was just here for a visit. We had such a fantastic time, with lots of shopping, tea, and a bit of a culinary world tour (she's from a small town...I was broadening her horizons). It was a good bonding time and I'm so glad she was able to come and hang out with me.

This is her, at a coffee shop getting caffeinated before we hit the National Gallery. Isn't she the cutest?
I instantly fell in love with Elizabeth Hartman's Mod Mosaic quilt she just finished for charity.
The tutorial describing the technique seemed pretty straightforward. While I love her all-blue version, I have in mind something a little more colourful. After some discussion back and forth with my lovely co-blogger, Sara, and my friend Holly, I had a plan. I am asking for blocks that are all one colour, and I've made up packets of fabric in blue, red, yellow, orange, pink, green and purple. I plan on setting them against Kona Coal, and have a plan for the back....

I whipped up a test block in blue to try and get a sense of the amount of white fabric to send to help the Sew Modern Bee members build the 'grout' of the tile block, and I'm pleased with the results. (also, please note the quality of the new sewing room has not one but TWO good sized windows.!!)

Instead of sending detailed instructions for the members, I'm doing it here...

1) Make the block as big as you want with the fabrics provided.

2) Feel free to add in any modern prints in the colour family of your block.

3) Go as wonky as you want, as long as the edges are square, we're all good.

4) Click on link above for tutorial.

5) Have fun!

Not too many rules..improv is the best!

- Donna

Monday, March 14, 2011

A little more finishing and a lot less starting

I know I said I just had to add the binding to another strip quilt and it would be all finished, but I kind of don't like the binding choice, so while I percolate on that, I decided to jump in to not one, but two more projects (on top of my bee quilt - eeps!). I rarely ever start another quilt before I finish the one I'm working on, so we'll see what kind of precedent this sets. Anyhow, here are some shots of what's been swirling around in my head (doesn't it always feel so awesome to get those swirling projects out and in progress?!):

First up on the cutting mat, an all yellow wonky stars quilt. I cut out a whole bunch of pieces from most of my yellow fabrics. I started with 5" squares and had the bright idea to hack them in half. About half way through that brainwave, I realized I'd be better off leaving them as full squares so that I'd have more room to be as wonky as my heart desires. The polkadot squares you see at the bottom will be the center for each and every star. In my mind's eye, the yellow stars will look more like the sun because I already have my heart set on naming it "You are my sunshine." I guess if that doesn't go as planned, "Twinkle Twinkle Little Star" also has a nice ring to it!
And since I don't have enough white in my stash (how is that even possible?!), that project got shoved aside and out came these fabrics for the long awaited fishy strip quilt, completely inspired by these little bits of sweetness. Again, I'll need to secure some solids to mix in with these (and lots more just like them) strips.

One more thing to report, I received an email from a friend lastnight announcing that she's expecting! Six just turned into seven. It's a baby boom and I am not complaining!

Do you have any projects swirling around in your head just waiting to be put into action?
Do you let them swirl or are you a sketch book kind of crafter?


Sunday, March 13, 2011

She Sells Seashells by the Seashore

Another baby quilt down. That brings the tally 2/6. Thankfully all of the moms-to-be are all due no earlier than the summer, so it gives me some time to work my way up to 6.
I have another strip quilt ready to put the binding on...once I make the binding, that is. Also, I did some cutting yesterday for what should be #4 of six, but it's a wonky star pattern and that may get set aside if I need some instant gratification and interrupt the program with another strip quilt or some patchwork. I do have a stash of charm packs on the ready for when the mood strikes!
So this is the quilt where the walking foot made it's maiden voyage. Love that thing! It took a bit to get used to (first strip or two) and before I knew it, I had the pedal to the metal and the thing was all quilted! I mixed in a little bit of loopdy loos on the solid strips to add a bit of interest. I was nervous to try the loops, but they were really fun! This could definitely be my quilting pattern of choice for an entire quilt.

Ashley also has the strip quilt bug. The Mendocino was purely coincidence as I was inspired to cut into my stash after doing a swap with Tong, but now that I see her version, I wish I would have added a few smaller strips of different colors in for some variety. I am happy with this little quilt, though. It was a quick finish and right now, that's what I need!


Thursday, March 10, 2011

Bee Blocks and Woes

My sewing room is finally set up enough up to sew...I decided it was high time to get my Feb block done for the Sew Modern Bee, and while I was at it I sewed up my March block as well.

I'm a little ashamed to reveal my Feb block...I missed on the symmetry, I boffed when I went all crazy cutting the squares and cut the 4.5" blocks that should have been in the corners. I had to add in a different cream and red print to make up for it...I trimmed as I went along and surprise, surprise, my block ended up too small. This has been a constant problem...rectified some months when I could just add up a border. Tong had to make my block into a mug rug it was so teeny. (Cute as all get out and I'm glad she could use it for something, if not its intended purpose).

I asked Sara, 'cause she's my sewing guru, about what I may have gone wrong..she told me consistent seam allowances, lots of steam...I feel I did that....but to not avail. I think I just need to keep practicing. Sorry Michelle if this block doesn't work out.....Mug rug?? Penny on Sewtakeahike posted this week about messing up bee blocks...good to know I'm not alone (although her block still looks pretty great to me!)

Not to be discouraged, I pushed on and tackled Sara's quilt block for March. Completing this block confirmed what I have long suspected. Improv is more my style. I made it up as I went along, had a ball, and am pleased with the results. The process got my wheels turning towards April, 'cause it's my turn to be Queen Bee....I'm making plans and hope to work on cutting fabrics up this weekend. I'm going to be attacking my colour coded scrap bins and am planning a scrapbuster....stay tuned!

- Donna

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Instant Gratification

I made this for Donna as part of her housewarming present:
I recommend making one as it is a quick and fun little project - a little instant gratification never hurt anyone! Tutorial can be found over here at in color order. I followed suit and used vintage sheets, but any combination of fabrics would look sweet, I'm sure of it.

I can't help but buy vintage sheets when I see them which means I have way more than I'll ever need ...and that's an understatement. Are you a vintage sheet stasher? Are you able to come by them easily in your area? Have you seen any creative projects around using vintage sheets?


Sunday, March 6, 2011

Fabric Shopping {local vs. online}

I am all for supporting local business, especially local businesses run by local women, but to be frank, the local fabric scene in my area stinks. I'll paint the picture - there's one large chain store where the fabric scores are hit and miss, but they do carry all the supplies and have good sales regularly and the staff always take good care of me.
At the other end of the spectrum, there is a teeny tiny little quilt shop (you can barely turn around with a bolt of fabric in your arms - not kidding!) that carries quilter's fabric only. I've gone in there a few times over the past 15 years and other than there being less fabric on the bolts, the fabric scene in there has not changed.
In the middle of those two on the spectrum is a shop that sells machines, supplies and fabric on top of offering lessons, etc. but it's highly overpriced, the selection is dated and the staff have zero personality.
I went on a little tour last week and this is what I scored:
I was so surprised to see this on the shelf! I had no immediate need for it, but couldn't be expected to leave it there at $3.50/m now could I? I bought 3 meteres. Here it is next to the meter I already had - barely even resemble one another, right?!
Next up some sweet little dots. These were on sale for just around $3/m, so two meters of each hopped in my cart.

Now just look at this piece of sweetness! It'll be the back to an all yellow quilt I have swimming around in my head. Cute, right? Also $3/m.

So all in all a few good scores, but how can this compare to online fabric shopping? You can do it from the comfort of your bed if you wish, you can comparison shop, you can mix and match colors and patterns without carrying the heavy and cumbersom bolts around the store with you and above all, the selection can't be beat! Sure, it's a little more on the expensive side, especially for us canucks, but I think the price can be justified especially when it just isn't available in your area!
A few of my favorite spots to shop online are: Quilt Taffy for precuts, Pink Chalk for Kona solids, Hawthorne Threads for their extensive selection and finally, I love the custom bundles that Fabric Worm puts together.
What do you do when it comes time to buy fabric? Do you prefer local or online? What are your favorite online shops?

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Easy Street

Two months later and they're finished! Seeing as though my mom's birthday is Wednesday, I couldn't very well let Christmas and her birthday pass without handing them over. Depending on which way you look at it, I am either two months late or a couple of days early!
They were actually quite time consuming considering their size and that there are only 4. What made my life so much easier was yesterday's purchase - a walking foot! Walking foot, where have you been all of my life? Oh my. A whole new world of possibilities just opened up with that little piece of magic.
I don't really get what's going on when it's on there, but it works and that's all that really matters! Best $51.95 I've spent in a long while. I wasn't sure my old machine would accomodate such a foot, but I'm having a hard time finding something that old lug can't do!
I see lots and lots of straight lines (sans puckering) in my very near future! This week has been a busy week in my sewing space. I have two baby quilts on the go, finished up these placemats and took a little trip to two local fabric shops. I'll share my loot later this week. I scored.