Thursday, February 24, 2011

Welcome, Stash Manicure followers!

Thanks for coming to visit! I don't have a lot of posts, I only started this blog in November but I hope you'll come back often.   I chose my name because I have lots of UFOs (and not just quilty ones) - I get easily distracted.  And my sister frequently tells me I am full of UBIs - useless bits of information, so every once in a while you might find those here too!

A little about myself.  I'm a mother of two grown daughters and have been a single parent since they were 3 and 1.  Now I have a beautiful grandson, Alex and a wee granddaughter on the way. On Wednesdays, I take my 2-year-old grandson for the day, and he is so good, I can still manage to get a bit of sewing in.  The other 4 weekdays, I've started working from an office (I'm a mortgage broker in my other life), which is really cutting into my play time!  I guess housework is just going to have suffer worse than it already does. The good news is since I started back at the office, I managed to sneak in the finish of a UFO!

Mother Nature cooperated by dropping a little snow just in time for picture-taking (but she could take the cold outflow winds with her). 

It took me two weeks to embroider 9 blocks and a morning to sew up the top (thanks to my cooperative grandson!)

The fabric is Moda's Faded Memories by 3 Sisters, a line that came out in 2005.  My daughter likes it so much that she would like a crib bedskirt to match, I was lucky enough to find a 1-1/2yd piece that is 108" wide from the same line last night.

Then we had to go play in the snow!

"Brr, it's cold, Momma!"

Most kids carry a stuffy - my little man carries a hammer!

Thursday, February 17, 2011

What's on my design wall!

A sweet bunny quilt for a sweet baby granddaughter, due to arrive about June 1st!  This quilt has moved from the UFO pile to the WIP pile.

(My apologies for the crappy picture - I do live on the "Wet" coast after all, and winter weather means rain and clouds.)

The pattern is called Cherished Memories from Rabbit's Haven by A. Neely,  a (somewhat) local designer from Vancouver Island.  I purchased it as a kit from my favourite quilt shop, Hamels, when I started back at quilting (for the third or fourth time) about 5 years ago. 

When I pulled it out about 2 weeks ago, I had only stitched 2 1/2 blocks before putting it away.  Since then, I have completed a total of 9 blocks, with only 3 to go.  I think I might finish this on time ;o)

Monday, February 14, 2011

Some Valentines for you!

These are part of a UFO I've had in the pile for 3 or more years.

6 of 13 blocks fused.

Buttonhole stitching started.

And not much else.

Except these pretty blocks to admire!

I'm moving this to the Works-In-Progess pile as soon as I find the pattern again!

It's called Vintage Valentine and I purchased this as a kit from my favourite quilt shop, Hamels Fabrics.  It is a very generous kit, and included over 25 fabrics (mostly fat quarters) for the Valentines.  They are now offering it again and when I was there this morning, they had all the fabrics pulled to make up the kits - and even though they are slightly different, they are just as beautiful as they were 4 years ago!

I added a few more that I had in my stash (to the right) just for a wee bit more variety!

The kit also included everything I needed to finish it, but alas, that is missing too!  I know it is in this house somewhere, now just to find it.

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Check out this video!

This video was posted over at Slow Poke Quilters (thanks, Ronda of and it is beautiful.  Great down-east music and such great inspiration - it makes me want to hide in my happy place and create!

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Don't you hate it when...

your job(s) gets in the way of having fun?  I have spent the last 4 days working hard and then crashing when I have a break, then yesterday I was so tired that I spent the day being lazy and watching TV, instead of getting up off my duff and playing.  It didn't help that I had to have a filling replaced yesterday as well, so for half the day my mouth was frozen.

The stupid thing is I know I would have felt better if I had taken the time to do something I enjoy.  I know this about myself and still I procrastinate.  Oh, well, today is a different day and now that I have caught up on my work, I can play with my little man (it's my thing to do on Wednesdays) and steal a little time in my happy place - my sewing room!

Alex is such a good boy and he'll play quite happily while I sew or putter.  His favourite toy (besides my toolbox) is my ancient cardboard cutting board - it's his castle!

Find me, Momma!


Friday, February 4, 2011

Evolution of a crafty room - Part Two

After I put together my ironing table (Evolution of a craft room - Part One), I cleared the room of everything that wasn't staying - all that was left was the table, my TV and my IKEA Expidit shelves.  I love how bright my room is, even though it is tecnically a basement room.  The window is large and faces south, so even on the rainiest days, it is light.

Here is a before (badly put-together) panoramic shot: 

I chose to paint it a sky blue, to minimize any lighting distortions.  The first colour I chose was too grey, but I had only painted the wall on the left, behind the Expidit so I left it as is and painted the other three walls in the new shade.

All the trim work was painted Bright White for a nice clean look.

Then I made another trip to IKEA for these:

A shelf for my favourite photos and collectibles (don't you just love the new wall colour?):
(Relax metal wall hanging from Michaels)

A small Expidit for my personal scrapbooking supplies :

Nestled in between my storage cubes from Michaels - these hold the rest of my scrapbooking supplies.

 Two VIKA tables to form an L-shaped work station:   

I repurposed a lazy susan to hold my baby computer.  That way I can view it from either side - I use it to view instructions when I'm tackling something new (or surf blogs while I'm sewing).

I also bought a BYGEL hanging rod and containers for those little things that like to clutter my workspace:

And finally, this magnetic chalk board - it covers an ugly electrical panel.  I painted it with one of my accent colours and I'm going to make some little patchwork panels to cover the useless brown bottom part.  My other accent colours are hot pink and bright blue or aqua.

I hope you are enjoying my little tour.  Part 3 will be about repurposing what I have on hand and organizing my many bins of crafts and sewing.

Thursday, February 3, 2011

I figured out the buttons!

Finally, I found the right gadget!  I can start adding buttons to some of my favourite blogs or programs I'm following - for those who need to know, you use the "ADD HTML" gadget and copy/paste the code from the blog you want to feature!  Now to go back and find them.

**Edited to add:  I was too quick on the draw.  I haven't quite figured where to find the code for those who don't have the little code box underneath. When I figure that out, I'll share it as well.

January Finishes - warning picture-heavy!

I have never had a more productive month and I have to thank all the lovely quilting and sewing bloggers out there!  I get so inspired when I see pictures and read about what they are doing, so much so that I put my little netbook computer in my sewing room so I can easily look things up!

Here's my little parade of projects.  First up, a 3-year-old UFO - a table runner for my sister.  I started this while her family was living with me after they suffered a devastating fire.  She picked Lava Red for her new kitchen colour, and when I saw this little charm pack that featured cats, I couldn't help but think of her!  It must have been one of Moda's first charm packs, because it was only 4-inch squares (the fabric is "Cats that Cook").

I put it aside because of those pesky triangles.  I forgot that when you cut a square in half, you lose 7/8's of an inch due to seams, so when I tried to put my rows together of course nothing would line up. I put it away until this month.  Then, when I went to machine quilt it, I discovered that I can't lower the feed dogs on my sewing machine - what gives?  My 30-year-old machine could, so I expected this 15-year-old machine would - nope.  I persevered and it turns out it does a pretty good job with no puckers, even without a walking foot.  I used a featherstitch to do the quilting.

Here is the finished table runner in its new home!  I forgot to take a photo of the back but it has an inset of the blocks.

Next up was another UFO that I finished up for a good friend of mine.  About 3-4 years ago, I purchased a small fat quarter pack and had enough to make 2 lap-size tops.  It was so nice to pull one of these out and finish it off with a cream Minkee backing.  I tried machine quilting again with a leafy vine design in the ditch and I only had one small pucker in the back.

I let myself start a new project since I was so good to finish 2 UFO's.  I kept it small so as not to add to the pile!  I made a Modern Valentine table runner (pattern by Sherri at A Quilting Life).  Bloggers are so generous, Sherri and her friends put together a "blog tour" and shared seven days of beautiful Valentine-inspired projects.  I found the blog tour through one of those elusive buttons on another blogger's site.

Made using scraps and a few pieces broken out of one of my precious Honey Buns - Oh, Cherry, Oh from Moda. 

Then I made 2 of these:

Roll-up high chairs!  This is a pattern of my own design that dates back to when I had my babies.  My twin nieces had babies last summer, 3 weeks apart, and now that the little ones are sitting up, I made these for their diaper bags.  Very handy when you are visiting, in a restaurant without high chairs or even in a shopping cart.

This was also my first attempt at machine-sewing the binding.  My first bit (the T-shaped piece) was pretty lousy as I did the sewing from the wrong side.

I did better on the second one.  I reviewed some instructions on the internet and realized that you sew the binding on the same as if you were hand-stitching it down; then from the front, you machine-stitch in the ditch and hopefully you'll catch the binding in the back.  It also helps to keep your stitches straighter.

In this picture you can see the front of the larger piece on the bottom (much better), the front of the T-shaped piece in the middle (yuck), and the back of the larger piece on top (much better, but I should have made that run to the store for matching thread.  You can also see the flap on the back to hook over a chairback when you are using it as a "high chair".

And my last finish (although it doesn'l look like it), is a bench cushion for the top of my cedar chest.  How I finished the back is the subject for another post.  It involves recycling!

I also busted out 3 BOMs that have been in limbo and started on those, plus picked up the newest "Buck a Block" Thangles program at my favourite local quilt shop, Hamels.  More on those later as well.

All in all, I had a great month and I'm so happy I got my sewing groove back.  I have completed more things in the last 4 months, than I have in the last 5 years!  Thanks everyone for your inspiration and hopefully I can inspire you too.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Feeling guilty (almost)

I'm watching the weather reports about the impending storm on central Canada and the Northeastern US and remember when I used to live in Ontario - you have my complete sympathy.  Boy, am I glad I live out here in Lotus Land.  Today was gorgeous and sunny (a little chilly at 4C/40F), no wind to speak of and this was my view driving home today!

Pardon the quality, I only had my cell phone, but I did pull over ;o).  I've lived from one end of Canada to the other in my lifetime, but I love my mountains and the fact that I can visit the snow if I want, but only have to shovel it once or twice a year.  In fact, the foot of snow I showed a couple of weeks ago was gone by the end of the next day.  I live about 10 minutes from where I took this picture and see this mountain range if I look east from my front window.  Unfortunately, I'm that much closer to it so the trees and houses block most of it.

It's the beginning of a new month, so I'm going to try something new.  I'm trying to post something everyday - just to see if I can.  Later tonight, I'm going to post my January finishes and an update on my WIPs, including some UFOs that have made it to the top of the pile