Monday, January 31, 2011


Where on earth do people learn how to do all those cool things on their blogs?  Like add buttons, or link to pictures from their lists and all that stuff?  It's like wading through a swamp full of weeds.  Any suggestions where I start?

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Ironing and home-made spray starch

Following up my post about my home-made ironing board, I found this today from Nan of Pots and Pins - how to make your own low-cost spray starch

I just bought my first bottle of Mary-Ellen's Best Spray Starch and liked the results, so I was really excited to find out how to make it myself and make it in my favourite scents (I like Tea Tree Oil or Orange, not roses and lavendar).

Friday, January 28, 2011

Evolution of a crafty room - Part One

It all started with a dream of my very own space to create and an idea from the internet: 

After almost 10 years of kids moving in and out, there was light at the end of the tunnel.  My daughter, her husband and baby had been living with me for close to 2 years as he went through the immigration process (he is from New Zealand) and saved to purchase a home. With townhouse prices hovering near the quarter-million dollar mark, it was the only way for them to get into a home of their own and we were getting along great!  Finally, they were able to purchase right around the corner from me, almost next door to my other daughter - lucky me, both my girls live within a 2-minute walk.  They moved out on February 4, 2010 and I made a run to IKEA the following weekend!

My little man helped me build it (he is 17-months in this picture and loves tools!):

Please ignore the '90s - style sponge painting - that's why this is titled an evolution!

I bought Insul-brite batting and a pink-striped pillow ticking to make the cover.  I stapled the batting to the underside of the top (2 layers thick) and then realized the drawers wouldn't open and close properly - I couldn't face pulling all those staples so I haven't redone it as of yet.  I made the cover with a casing and just like my grandma's ironing board, I threaded it with kitchen string and pulled it tight.  I find it gives me a much better fit than elastic; call me funny that way!

So now I have a 17" x 6-ft long ironing table, complete with drawers and shelves.  This is how it looks today.  Cutting mat on one end, 3 projects piled on the other and a great ironing surface!

That is all I got done the first month.  I just had to go take this in, since it was taking place in my backyard:

This is as close as we could get to the 2010 Olympic cauldron without a 3-hour wait.

View of Robson St. looking towards the dome of BC Place Stadium. I've never seen so many people in one place.

The Vancouver Library - I proud to say my daughter designed the layout of the fifth floor!

Thousands of Inuksuks were built impromptly by visitors on the rock-lined shore of False Creek.  It was an amazing sight!

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Laid low...:o(

My little sweetie left me a little present after his visit Friday night - his stomach bug.  I haven't been that sick in a while and I'm still feeling punky.  The only thing I've done is work on a few hexies for a future project I'm calling Hexie Madness. 

I started this project on December 22nd, with the goal of completing one flower a day.  So far I have kept up and I'm even a few ahead.  They are 3/4" hexagons made from 30s reproduction prints from different lines like Washtub Club, Storybook collection and the like.

I learned how to make the hexagons from Bonnie Hunter's Quiltville blog (link to her tutorial here) and since I already had the hexagon punch and the prints, I decided to start yet another project!  I love her technique because you don't just end up with a pile of hexagons, you actually start sewing them together right away as part of your sewing. 

I don't have any idea what it will be in the end, but I'm leaning towards a summer coverlet. I've started grouping the flowers together in groups of nine, each flower represents each colour group that I have.  So far, no 2 flowers are exactly the same (out of 40) and I'm going to try to keep that up!  To make a twin-size coverlet, I need approximately 30 groups of 9 flowers or 270 flowers so it should take me about 9 months to make them at a flower a day.  It sounds way better counting that way than saying I need to sew 1890 hexies. 

Saturday, January 22, 2011

So much for that

Well, another Friday night sew-in got kiboshed again.  My sweet little fellow came for a sleepover in "his" new big bed and he wasn't here an hour before he got violently ill.  I let his parents enjoy their dinner, then called them to come pick him up.  I am so blessed that he takes comfort in just having me with him, and not crying for mommy and daddy, but Momma doesn't do sick overnight anymore (unless of course it's necessary).  So today is a sew day and I don't even plan on getting dressed until I make a trip to my LQS, where I will drop in on a Judy Niemeyer class and show off my Dragon Star flimsy and my tree skirt!

Friday, January 21, 2011

Friday Night Sew-In

Heidi over at Handmade by Heidi is hosting another sew-in - what a great incentive to sit at my sewing machine!  She usually has good prizes to offer, but this time it's 10% of your purchase at Canton Village Quilt Works through til Jan 28 (use the coupon code FNSI10).  There might still be surprises, so if you plan on sewing tonight (hint: Kim), join up on her website.  Since I'm supposed to be on a fabric diet, I better not go to Canton Village!

Thursday, January 20, 2011

The rest of 2010 finishes

Finally I have all my pictures downloaded, but I missed a couple of things - oh, well!

My final 2010 finish (literally, at 9:30pm on New Years eve) was Alex's cuddle quilt:

This was a simple quilt that I should have finished long ago.  The section of squares was purchased as a single unit in 2008, and I intended to do it as soon as I found out my daughter was having a boy -never happened as I wasn't feeling the sewing mojo then.  Move ahead a year and half, and I decided to make it large enough to cover a twin bed, bought some flannel for the top and bottom which didn't quite match, started tie-quilting it - still not feeling it, put it aside for another year.  Flash forward to Spring 2010 - I have a spare room for the first time in years, I painted it, bought some new tables, etc. and I now have a craft room.  When I was pulling out boxes and bins, I came across this and made up my mind I was going to finish it in 2010 come hell or high water and I did!  Done is better than perfect!

I decided to make pyjamas for Alex; I used an old pattern that my mom used for my brother.  Alex modeled the pants for me (somewhat relucantly):

They must have made kids differently back then - the pants would have fit a 4-year-old, but the tops barely fit a 1-year-old.  Alex used them to dress a teddy bear.

Shoulda caught that when I was cutting them out ;o)  So I went back for more fabric.  Of course I couldn't find it so settled on some solids and made bottoms to match the tops for gifts for my new grand-nephews!

I also made 2 Lazy Girl Wallets, 2 Long John money holders and a knitted eyelash yarn scarf since I started sewing again.  I am thanking the Craft Gods for giving my interest back!

Sunday, January 16, 2011

The project that started it all!

Back in November when I first started this blog (link to post here - November 16, 2010), I forget to mention the very first project that got me back into sewing.  I made this beautiful Petal Dress for my niece's new baby girl:

The pattern didn't come with matching panties, so of course I had to make them - every well-dressed baby needs them!  It was fully lined so I modified the neckline and made the dress reversible.  I used fabric yo-yos instead of buttons to make it softer for baby (with velcro to actually close it):

And of course, a matching hat (also reversible)!

Hopefully, it will fit next summer when she is a year old (yes, I was a little slow getting this done but now that I have a proper sewing room, I hope to do better!)

Friday, January 14, 2011

Giveaways on the 'net!

Since I've discovered quilting and sewing blogs, I have found that there are a huge amount of generous ladies out there giving away FREE stuff!  As I go through my boxes of stash, I'm putting aside some things I've never used, never finished, or just plain will never get to and will have a giveaway or two of my own down the road.  In the meantime, these lovely ladies ask that we share the news of their giveaways on our own blogs, so here is one I found today (now if I could only figure out how to put those cute buttons up!):

Jenn at Little Ladybugs Creations is giving away a honey bun (1 1/2 strips of a full fabric line) called Clementine by Me and My Sister Designs for MODA.  She is apparently lucky enought to live near the MODA warehouse.  This fabric line is full of sunny oranges, lavendars, sky blues, and lime greens with fun, funky prints and patterns. What a perfect way to add some sunshine to these gloomy winter days!  Here's a picture:


And for some great ideas for what to do with Honey Buns, Jelly Rolls, Charm Packs (and the definitions) check out MODA's Bake Shop - it's filled with free ideas and tutorials.

What Cross-Border shopping got me!

I am fortunate enough to live just 20 minutes from the nearest border crossing, so I have US mailing address that I can have parcels sent to.  I went on a little post-Christmas shopping spree last week and this what I got!

All of this cost me $95 including shipping and handling, taxes and minimal exchange.  My best estimate is that I saved about $60 IF I could have found the same items here.   I bought from 3 different shops, but could have saved more if I had been able to get it all at one.

Don't get me wrong - I normally prefer to shop local when I can and I have the best LQS within 10 minutes of my home, but some things just can't be found in Canada.  I've been waiting forever for PURE, but it's been difficult for the wholesalers to get enough stock in, I've been told.  And that Moda Scrap Bag - heavenly - I was lucky enough to get Happy! by My and My sisters.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

The $4 Design Wall that Almost Was!

My do-it-yourself project today was a Design Wall - I failed:

I've never had a design wall, but seeing them all over the blog world made me decide I would like one.  For a trial, I picked up this flannel-backed plastic tablecloth in the clearance bin for $3 and with a hank of velcro from the dollar store, I set about making one.  I don't have a blank wall in my 12x12 room so I put self-adhesive velcro dots along the top edge of my shelves, then set about stitching the velcro on to the tablecloth.  Being frugal, I thought to myself:  "Self, let's sew the fuzzy side of the velcro on to the back of the tablecloth so someday if I want to use this fugly plastic tablecloth, I can."  As you can see, I didn't really think that through!

At that point, I gave up for awhile and went outside with my sweetie and played in the snow!  He learned the pleasures of throwing snow.

Daisy had a wonderful time too, she looked like a rabbit hopping through the foot-deep snow, with her ears flying:

If dogs could smile!

Snow Day!

After all the troubles North America has had this winter, my little corner of the world finally got snow!  This is what I woke up to this morning - at 7:20 am the sun still isn't up here.

My poor little bug!

There won't be any snowplows coming down my road - rumour has it that the city only owns one!

Today is my day to babysit - doesn't he just look thrilled to have Momma sticking a camera in his face at 7:30 in the morning!

Alex has a fascination with tools, so today's selection was a shovel.  Normally, he carries a hammer with him everywhere he goes.

One nice thing about where I live - the snow doesn't stick.  It's already turning to rain, and the snow will be mostly gone by tomorrow.  By Saturday, we'll be back up to our seasonal temperatures of 8-10C (46-50F) and the snow will be a distant memory.  The only reason I have to shovel today is that I have a scrapbooking workshop tonight, and the diehards will be there!

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Quilting took over his family!

Check out this article in the Globe and Mail  I can so relate to this poor fellow, except I turned into a sewer, quilter, room taker-overer myself!

Sunday, January 9, 2011

3 Things

I struggle daily with motivation, actually the lack of.  It's a combination of my depression, control issues and lack of accountability to anyone but myself.  But I think I have found a magic combination that works for me - 3 Things.  This is a new realization so I'm counting it as one of my Change (Word of the Year) items, but I have been doing it for about a month.

Every night I make a list of 3 things that I want to accomplish the next day before I can do any "fun" stuff - like sewing, scrapbooking, or 'playing' with friends.  It can be as simple as doing the dishes, a load of laundry and taking out the garbage when I'm having really bad days; or X # of  hours of work-related chores, meeting a client and washing windows on a good day. 

Today was pretty simple, because it's Sunday so my chores were doing laundry including the quilt I finished yesterday (pics coming on my first finish for 2011!), cleaning the kitchen and preparing for tonight's dinner with my kids, and gathering all the recyclables for garbage day.  I was on a roll so I also washed the floor in the kitchen, made the bed (a miracle in this house!) before I would 'allow' myself to surf the net.  Next up, more sewing!! 

Friday, January 7, 2011

December Finishes

I still haven't downloaded all my pics from December yet, but here are a couple of finishes.  On a spur of the moment, Kim and I made microwave cooking bags for our daughters.  A slight miscalculation on my part meant we bought enough fabric to make 8, not 4 and some additions to our stash!

Lined with polka dots!

I even made up this cute recipe card to match:

And this tree skirt I'm counting as a finish because it made it under the tree, but I do still have to back it, quilt it and finish the edge.  It set off my purple and aqua decorations beautifully.  It is another Judy Niemeyer pattern and I picked up a sweet deal and bought four more patterns of hers, for just $17 total! 

I have a lot of UFOs at this flimsy stage, but this I don't count as a UFO yet because I finished the top within the same month as starting it AND it's still at the top of the pile for finishing.  A UFO (UnFinished Object) is one that has been abandoned for at least a year.  Believe me, I have a lot of those!

Monday, January 3, 2011

Button, button - who's got the button?

One of my earliest memories is playing with my mother's button box so it wasn't surprising that when I had a chance to pick something from my grandmother's estate, I chose a battered tin full of buttons.  When mom passed away 10 years ago, one of the things I took from her sewing room was her collection of buttons.  They used to reside in an old tobacco tin and when her granddaughters were little (she had six!), she would give them muffin tins and let them sort the buttons to keep them occupied.  Eventually, she got rid of the old tobacco tin and left the buttons sorted by colour in old baby food jars. I had all my buttons in an old plastic basket, but now that I've got a sewing room, I'm sorting all those old buttons and putting them in jelly jars on IKEA shelves.  They are going to look so pretty up there!

I won't be letting the grandson play with them any time soon, even if he doesn't put things in his mouth.  After all, he is only 2!

Sunday, January 2, 2011

New Year's Resolutions

1. Family comes first!  This is really my only resolution this year - I want to be 100% in the moment when it comes to family.  It is especially important this year, with having a 2-year-old grandson and another grandchild on the way.

The rest of these are just because:
2. Be a better blogger - update all 3 of my blogs at least once a week.
    (My other blogs are for my scrapbooking friends  and my family history findings).
3. Finish more UFO's than projects I start!
4. Learn how to properly machine quilt (this may require a new machine ;o)

(Image courtesy of

Word for the year is CHANGE.  Change the way I work, play and view the world. Change what I put in my body and what comes out of my mouth.  Change my outlook on life.

Last year's word was JOY and it helped me immensely to have a focus word.  The end result was I enjoyed the experience of being a grandmother more, rediscovered my joy of sewing and quilting, rediscovered some friends, and even found my chronic depression lifting - so much so that I may be able to make a change to my treatment plan!  That is the most exciting thing for me since I had it from most of life, it was diagnosed after 20 years of suffering, and I'm now 15 years after diagnosis.

Have you made any this year?

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Happy New Year!

I hope it's a great one for everyone!
And I have my first finish of the year -

I purchased this kit (x 2 - one for my BFF Kim as well) as a Christmas present for her and me from as a BOM.  (Great quick service, BTW).  It is based on Nancy Halvorsen's Count on It Book and each block kit includes all the buttons and accessories that the book uses. I still have to finish the rest of the numbers for the month, so each day for the next 11 days I'll be doing one (if I don't get time at my machine sooner).