Sunday, December 30, 2012


Merry Christmas, Joyeux Noel, Feliz Navidad!

I may have earned a bit of quilter's burn out, and that could be why I haven't posted. The pre-Christmas rush to make gifts left me with no desire to sew....Haven't touched thread or machine in a week! But pre-Christmas - I was a friggin' Elf, I tell you.

Baking? Not much. Mincemeat tarts, gingerbread boys, fruitcake.

Sewing? Knitting? Crocheting? Loads of mittens, a touque, a few notebooks, two aprons, two stuffed animals, doll diapers & wipes, and the project that kept me awake long past bedtime for several nights: The Precious Book.

It is a quiet book full of activities designed to entertain, increase skills, keep kids quiet, and most important of all - be chewed on. Books are a food group for my little Punk. Every single book that enters this house gets guarded vigilantly or it gets eaten. You can see the taggies that I put on the back cover in order to be chewed on and fiddled with.

Zippers, hair braiding, (panties on the doll!).

A maze of ribbons and beads, a basket that opens to reveal strawberries.

Shoe tying, and our most favorite page: The Sandwich. The cheese, tomatoes, lettuce, and top bread are all attached on one small edge so that the sandwich can be stacked and restacked in any order. I especially love how the lettuce turned out. My Pixie loves that the shoe fits her foot.

Button flaps hide candy and treats. The little dog and his bone are attached with elastic so they don't get lost. One of my major goals was keeping every piece in this book - nothing detaches.

And the last pages: [cherry] pie crust weaving and fishing. The fish are attached and can stay in the water or be slipped into the boat. The sails move, too.

I am exceedingly proud of how this book turned out. I used no patterns at all! Every piece came out of my little head (although some basic ideas I saw while creeping on Pinterest). Projects like this are the reason why quilters keep such huge fabric stashes. I didn't buy a single new fabric or notion for this homemade Christmas gift.

So what have I been doing this week? I cut out a Christmas apron, and three gift bags of various sizes: all are awaiting the day when I start sewing again.

And I've been playing with the short people: Here is my Pixie this morning, wearing her new apron.

And here is my Punk, playing with the gift of the year: a Bilibo given to her by Nanny. Next to her is the snake I made for her. It used to be the leg of an old pair of jeans, painted with craft paint, appliqued, and stuffed with beans for weight.

She calls it "Snicketer." Knee socks courtesy of Santa.
I might fire up the sewing machine tonight for a twenty minute session of creation. In the absence of my Husband (who is very good about evening backrubs) I need a hot rice bag!

Or three.

Sunday, December 9, 2012


Achievement unlocked: Thread Sketching.

I impress myself sometimes.

This looks exactly the way I imagined it would look.

It was made even more perfect by the other Unlocked Achievement: Two Colour Binding. I found the tutorial for the binding in the nick of time and worked last evening while the kids watched "Babe."

I hung this lovely little quilt on the wall behind the TV; this way I have something pleasant to look at while pretending to pay attention to the kids' cartoons.

It's the perfect touch!

Friday, December 7, 2012

Swirls and Photos

I've been doing a bit of this:

It doesn't take long for such a small piece, and I'd like to think that I've got pretty good control over my stitches - especially after this summer's Free Motion Sampler. I'm using high quality thread (Aurifil 50wt). I took my machine apart to clean and oil before I started. I put in a new size 90 quilting needle.

So why, on a piece no bigger than 20"x35", does my thread break 8 times?!?? It frustrates me. It's a good thing this wasn't a bigger quilt!

I quilted with swirls, to remind the viewer of that white stuff that punctuates Canadian winters. Here is the first layer of quilting complete. Now to switch colours and add details (also to applique the shapes!). It looks great in my head, and I hope my idea translates well to fabric and thread. I'll use black for the next layer....and it's Aurifil again, so I'm crossing my fingers that there will not be as much breakage! I knew there was a reason I love using King Tut for quilting. This is my first time using Aurifil for anything other than piecing. It is stellar for piecing.

What else has been going on? My Pixie has decided that the camera is her domain. In the past few days she has taken over 150 photos! Most of it showcases the world of  a three-year old. It's a unique many three year olds can add photography to their resume?

She takes pictures of her bedroom:

Made the bed all by herself.

Elmo is going to find a new home soon, to make room for mommy-made toys.
Her pets:


Ralph - so old he spends most of his days sleeping on a heat register.

Peebee, who requires petting at 9 o'clock, morning and night.
Her favorite toys:

"Patsy" the apatasaurus.

Other friends from the dinosaur bucket.

The Blue Baby tucked into the cradle Mama used at the Pixie's age.
And many, many shots of herself:

She takes pictures of her family, too, and her security blanket. A lot of her pictures get deleted from the camera before making it to the computer files because they're too blurry or weird subjects (like the lino in the kitchen).

And that is how we un-school a toddler....who is currently heavily involved in today's episode of "My Pet Monster." Sometimes un-schooling a toddler is complete fail....but she is a great artist! That's a full win!

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

A Gentleman's Christmas

Sometimes coming up with a cohesive post is a pain in the backside. My projects are all over the place right gifts, decorations, quilts, clothing - basically anything random but it needs to be done this month. And often needs to be mailed away as well, so there is a bit of time crunch.

Let's start with knitting.

Tiny mittens for decorating a tiny tree.
Moving on to paper.

I'm making these to give to teachers as gifts.
Can't forget fabric!

My entire collection of snack prints - I cut a 4" strip from each to use for journal cover creation.
Must include quilting!

Loosely trace around an existing stocking and make a sammich with backing and batting only.

Cover with quilt as you go strips. Lesson here: start with the heel next time.

Trim and sew to backside of stocking. Add a hanging loop and bind. No cuff necessary.

The truth is, this stocking is for the only Gentleman that I could love and my husband wouldn't be jealous. His caretaker doesn't celebrate Christmas (she's more than generous all year long!), but I saw no reason for the Gentleman to be left out. We'll pop in a gift card so that he can pick out his own treat....because it'd be very expensive to ship what we had planned to include.

Please keep or re-gift as needed. Good ending either way.
Lastly, some cuteness, because I can.

Now get back to work! The countdown is on.

Monday, December 3, 2012

9 O'Clock

The morning is always a great time to be productive, wouldn't you agree?

I discovered that if I set the bread sponge the night before, I can knead dough at 7:30, and by 9 o'clock I have a bowl full of potential.

This magically transformed itself in two loaves of bread, two pans of cinnamon buns, and some fry dough for lunch.

Sunday was the first advent. In our house this is the official start of Christmas. We celebrate all season (first advent until 12th night). Our tree went up, the lighting problem was solved by my genius husband, and the Pixie and I are planning to decorate before the Punk gets home from school today.

9 o'clock in the morning is also a good time to celebrate Valentine's Day. My kids can be a little weird they are sorting valentines while I play with bread dough.

Early morning productivity also means that I can show you these little creations. Call them mug rugs, candle mats, centerpieces, lampmats, etc.

No matter their use, making them is fun and using them is a delight. I'm not sure how I feel about the multi-coloured binding. I think it's too much. Something calmer next time. These were claimed by my mother for her Christmas gift.

9pm is also a great hour in this house. 9pm is bedtime for my kids! Are there any sweeter words than, "Time for bed, Girls!" ?

After the offspring was safe in their beds, 9 o'clock was time to finish some Christmas aprons and wrap them up. I'm determined to stay on top of the wrapping this Christmas Eve all-nighter for me, thankyouverymuch.

Pixie flavour

Punk flavour
The one other thing I got done was make a sandwich....a quilt sandwich, that is!

Look! It's just plain muslin.....but if you put some shapes on.....draw some lines to follow.....

Today might be a good day for some FMQ. It's also a great day to get the library and decorate the Christmas tree.

I have one goal this season. Between today and 12th night, I will try to cut back on computer time. The goal is to have more time to notice my babies (because Christmas is a bit overwhelming and stressful for little guys). The vehicle for more time is a bann on the internet between the hours of 9am and 9pm.

Here's hoping! I'm posting this at 9:05. Perhaps I should say, no internet after the morning splurge and none before 9pm?

Wish me luck!