Tuesday, August 31, 2010

I'm a bad blogger...

Both Itty Bitty and my mom have scolded me for not updating, so prepare for a big post.

I don't know what it is I've been doing that's made me so busy...I certainly haven't accomplished very much!  I did finish a baby quilt, and presented it at a baby shower I attended on Sunday, but I didn't get a photo.  Can you believe that???

I've been working on quilting the School of Rock quilt:

I'm down 21 pounds. I checked my measurements last week, and the weight seems to be coming off my lower abdomen (my hip measurement was down 5.5") - - couldn't be better!

Yesterday, Value Village had their 50% off everything sale, and I went a little crazy.  I definitely needed some office wear for my practicum placement (which I hope! hope! hope! will be in a law office - I interview tomorrow morning) but I don't want to spend a ton, because I expect to lose more weight.  For around $70, I got two dresses, three skirts, two suits (jacket & skirt) four blouses, slacks, a light sweater, a t-shirt and a nightgown.

The public library has a vendor's booth at the Horton Street Market on Saturday mornings, and I recently picked up 5 magazines for $1. Here's a few things I discovered in those magazines that have been inspiring me:

I have been looking for a watch like one of these for weeks.  I love the idea of a charm bracelet, and I look in every jewellery store I see, but nothing like these.  So far, I've only found silver with STUPID juevenile charms (purses, shoes, etc.).  The websites listed in the magazine included:
https://www.chickspicksbyhillary.com/ which is worth a look, it's very inspiring (however, watch is not available).  I guess I'll keep looking.

A couple of recipes that I'd like to try:

The economy being what it is...I noticed lots of money related articles,

Since Itty Bitty will be going off to post-secondary school in one short year, the first sentence caught my eye:

"These days there's an element of sticker shock when you add up the costs of higher learning – a four-year degree for a student living away from home currently costs $77,000." 

The tip I liked in this article was about automated savings, whereby money is automatically put into a savings account each time you use your debit card.  I've been a TD Canada Trust customer for my entire adult life, and had no idea they offered this program.  It's called Simply Save. I think I'll sign up!

The important link here is Smart Cookies. There are lots of very interesting, and not the least bit scary tools and downloads for getting a handle on your money.

Frozen lemons instead of ice cubes!  Yum!  I'll just have to add lemons to the grocery list.  I've been drinking TONS of water (at least 2 litres daily!) to help with the weight loss.  Adding frozen lemons will be a special little treat.

Truth is, I'll probably never make one of these kits - but they are cute!  And you can download the stickers.

Loved this tear out folder from Sico. A very simple to copy idea for collecting and storing ideas, fabric swatches, photos, paint chips, etc.  for decorating.

And lastly, I wanted to share this article from Orderly Lives

Simplify Your Life
A common theme in many books on organization is
the virtue of simplification. “Simplify your life-that's the key to organization”. But what does that mean? We all know that our lives are too hurried, too complex, and too full of clutter-both physical and emotional. But most of us cannot opt out, retreat to a desert isle and leave our cares behind. We want to honor our responsibilities yet feel overwhelmed by the process.

The benefits of simplification can be found by exploring different worlds. In 1995, for example,
North Americans enthusiastically rediscovered the
world of Jane Austen. Why are Austen's characters so
fascinating to us? Globe and Mail columnist Margaret
Wente offers this explanation: “They believe in restraint, decorum, civility, character and large, closeknit families. They marry for the love, but even more for respect. They are cheerful, pragmatic optimists.”

Austen's world portrays life with a sense of order.
We might think it is stifling by our standards but it is
none the less neat, orderly and predictable. Very similar, in fact to the world inhabited by the Amish in Sue Bender's excellent book Plain and Simple.
Bender describes her sojourns with two Amish families and one of the valuable lessons she learns: “To my surprise, keeping my attention steady and confined to a few activities built a whole new discipline. A single-minded focus - repetition, order, an inspired monotony -- wasn't wasteful and didn't limit me: the structure brought a different kind of freedom … I found no shortcuts. Satisfaction came from giving up wishing I was doing something else.”

The notion of simplifying one's life must come from the discipline to do only what really matters and to embrace mindfulness. It is only when we try to live in the moment, as the Amish do, that we may find the inner peace that can transcend itself to all aspects of our lives including our homes and workplaces.
We may never replicate Austen's orderly universe but we can incorporate its virtues into our hurried lives.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

just puttering around...

20 Days until the next semester begins.  GACK!!!!

In the meantime, I've just been puttering around.  Reading a little, making some stabs at that bedroom that needs painting (today I washed the walls, with the help of Itty Bitty), had a meeting last night at school to plan the 3rd Year student orientation event, running errands.

In the quilt realm:

1.Pieced together the 36 Candy Kisses blocks.  It's cute.  I'd like to put a creamy shade of Minkee on the back to make a very pretty baby blanket.

2. Put the border on the Jelly Roll 9-patch quilt I whipped up last week.

3. Pin basted the School of Rock quilt, all ready to quilt on my Janome.

Gotta show you this quilt made from repurposed shirts.  I visited Zany Quilter for the first time today - - you might as well just add this link to you favourites: http://zanyquilter.blogspot.com/ 'cuz it's a very cool blog!

Cara of Cara Quilts recently reviewed "Alice's Tulips" by Sandra Dallas; I book I enjoyed too.  So, I took a look at some of this author's other titles when I was at the library on Friday, and am now deeply into:

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Candy Kisses

I finished 36 blocks, and have 4 strips left over from the jelly roll (it was a 40 strip jelly roll).  I need to square these up (probably about 7.5" unfinished, I believe).


Is your cat plotting to kill you?

A Report: Friday Night Sew-In & Saturday Morning Yard Sale Finds

Well, considering I had the whole evening to me, myself, and I....I didn't get a whole lot accomplished.

For the record, I have THIRTY Kimono blocks done.  I've packed them away for the time being until I find something for the sashing. 

I went to Cherished Pieces yesterday with my SIL--a new quilter, but definitely bitten by the quilt bug, HARD! -- where owner Cynthia is having a sale (ends today).  I couldn't resist a clearance priced jelly roll: Candy Kisses by Sandy Gervais.  So that's what I tinkered with last night.

I have an idea of what I'm doing, but just plastered the finished blocks up on my design wall in order to sort them.  I'll put them in some semblance of a quilt top as I complete more blocks.

The yard sales were pretty good this morning, though I limited myself to only a few purchases: some school supplies, a shirt to repurpose, and these two tins of sewing treasures.

The seller let me have both tins for $3.  The round one seems to be mostly buttons.  Okay...so I didn't really NEED any of this stuff, but I was inspired by a podcast I listened to last night: GreenStitch, which Vesuviusmama referred to in her blog (thank you, Erin!).  Episode 3 featured an interview with Ginger Hendrix, of Weinerdog Tricks who recommended maintaining a 'stash' in order to promote creativity, but also stressed the necessity of "culling" the stash in order to prevent the stash from taking over!

In the realm of what has been inspiring me laterly, I made a trip to the public library last night, and found this book by Cassie Barden.

Not only did I find inspiration in some of the really sweet projects, including the "Birdwatcher Messenger Bag"...

and the "Novella Composition Book Cover"...

...but I also liked what the author had to say in her introduction, answering the question: what is the "new homemade"?

"...we're experiencing a resurgence of all things handmade.  You see it in food, in art, and especially in crafts like sewing, knitting, quilting, and embroidery. As the world gets larger and more complex, more plugged in and surrounded by automation and technology and gadgets, as we become more separated from the processes that create our food, our clothing, and our homes, we're starting to miss the connection to the things around us.  We want to feel like we took part in the process, whether it's making a meal from scratch or wearing a piece of clothing we constructed ourselves."

Doesn't that explain it exactly???  I had a conversation with my SIL on the drive to Tilsonburg yesterday, discussing this very idea: the immensely satisfying sense of accomplishment that one feels when able to give form to, and shape a part of her world independantly.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Oh! I forgot to show you my 'thing'

I was at a meeting last night with some fellow classmates to plan an orientation event for the 3rd year BSW students.  One of them gave me this cute little bottle carrier.

So now, of course, I need to figure out how to make one.  I'll share a tutorial as soon as I get it worked out.  It has pockets all around, and has batting withing all the layers as well as the carrying handle.  The top is elasticised.

But I thought I would post this photo first, just in case there is already a tutorial out there somewhere, that someone can link me to, in order to spare me the work of trying to create one on my own!  tee hee!

However, I would make one change for certain -- the bottle inside the carrier is 710 mL, but I would want it shortened in order to carry a 500 mL bottle.

Oh, Gibson!

Poor schweepy kitteh!  Too tired to quilt!

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

More Kimonos...more Books!

 I am in LOVE, LOVE, LOVE with "Diary of an Ordinary Woman". While I was searching for a link to information about this book, I was devastated to learn that I had somehow overlooked the two tiny words "A novel" on the cover...because I wanted so much to believe Millicent King was a real person (doubly so when I started reading about her entry into social work as her second career!)  I picked this up at the library, so if you're local, you'll have to wait until I'm finished with it! 

Meanwhile, I'm still dabbling with Kimonos. I'm up to 21 now.

I was at school today for an appointment with the Practicum Coordinator... I still don't have a Practicum placement for 4th year.  I'm not sure how I feel about that.  Part of me wishes the matter was settled, so I could start gearing myself up for the next eight months--shop for appropriate clothing (important if I'm in a professional office), do some research about the clients and issues I'll be working with, practical considerations like parking, etc.-- but another part of me is afraid to settle, because I might miss some really fantastic experience or opportunity.

Gotta be honest...

We crossed the border yesterday to do some back-to-school shopping with Itty-Bitty and his friend-that-is-a-girl.  We stopped for a late lunch at one of those all-you-can-eat buffets.

I was standing at the steam table, scooping brussels sprouts onto my plate, when a young man (around nine or ten, I would reckon) spoke up:

"You know something funny?  I've never tried them before," he said pointing into the tray of brussels sprouts.

I hesitated for a minute. If this child and I shared genetic material, my knee-jerk response would have been completely different. I would have insisted he put a couple on his plate, and give them a try.

But instead I suggested, "Really? If I were you, I'd skip 'em.  Most people hate them. Me?  I love brussels sprouts, but then, I'm a little weird."

He solemnly nodded his understanding, and whispered, "thanks".

Shopping is DONE though.  It was a simple process.  I handed him cash, and let the two of them run wild in the mall while Hubby and I strolled around.  I didn't buy anything, because I don't want to spend money on clothes while I'm still in the process of losing weight (down 16.2 lbs). Itty Bitty did pretty good - with the cash I gave him, he managed to buy 4 pairs of jeans, 4 or 5 shirts, binders & supplies, and new strings for his bass guitar.

Saturday, August 14, 2010

...a weird week

While ordinarily I relish and revel in every opportunity to complain-- the longer and louder the better I always say! -- I hate to say this: it's been a weird week.

It has lasted exactly 14 hours.  That must be the truth of it, because I can't believe that a week has passed by so quickly. Where are the brakes on this crazy time machine?!?!?!?  I'm not ready for another school year yet!!!!

ughhhhhhh...four more weeks until I embark on the final year of my undergrad degree. Can you believe it?  Doesn't it seem like just yesterday I was just beginning my FIRST year??

Very unsettling.  And plain weird.

Anyhoooooo....Hubby and I went out yard sale-ing bright and early this morning, despite the fact that I was still wide-eyed at 3 in the morning reading a completely engrossing trashy novel. 

Born to rough cloth in working-class London in 1748, Mary Saunders hungers for linen and lace. Her lust for a shiny red ribbon leads her to a life of prostitution at a young age, where she encounters a freedom unknown to virtuous young women. But a dangerous misstep sends her fleeing to Monmouth and the refuge of the middle-class household of Mrs. Jones, to become the seamstress her mother always expected her to be and to live the ordinary life of an ordinary girl. Although Mary becomes a close confidante of Mrs. Jones, her desire for a better life leads her back to prostitution. She remains true only to the three rules she learned on the streets of London: Never give up your liberty; Clothes make the woman; Clothes are the greatest lie ever told. In the end, it is clothes, their splendor and their deception, that lead Mary to disaster.

Emma Donoghue's daring, sensually charged prose casts a new sheen on the squalor and glamour of eighteenth-century England. Accurate, masterfully written, and infused with themes that still bedevil us today, Slammerkin is historical fiction for all readers. http://www.fantasticfiction.co.uk/d/emma-donoghue/slammerkin.htm

We didn't find too many treasures; I picked up four quilting books for 25¢ a piece: A Thimbleberries Housewarming, Santa's Coming by Art to Heart, Fat Quarters are Beautiful, and Finish It with Alex Anderson, plus a shirt that will be repurposed for 50¢.

All the excitement seemed to be at the Horton Street Market this morning!  We couldn't walk 10 feet without tripping over someone we knew, if indeed were not related to!  -- even both of our mothers!  I got some more peaches from the same farmer I bought from last week.  They were so deliciously sweet and juicy, Itty Bitty and I had to sit on the porch to eat because of the drippiness of them.

Friday, August 13, 2010

Funny Itty Bitty

10 am yesterday

ME: Oh! I CANNOT possibly be any lazier. (as I reach for a quilt, so I can lay down for a rest on top of my already made bed.)

ITTY BITTY: (calling from another room) Yes you could.  You could go back to bed. Now THAT would be the epitome of lazy!

Not much going on around here, really.  Same old construction noise, dust.  Same old stifling humidity and heat.  Starting to think about "Back to School".

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Making more Kimonos!

Oh - these are fun! 

And I think I'm going to make 24 or perhaps 36 all together, rather than stop at 12 (well, I've got 13 done, so I guess I've already passed that) as the pattern calls for, and use a narrow sashing to divide the individual blocks, sort of like traditional Japanese shoji.

shoji [ˈʃəʊʒiː -dʒiː] n pl -ji, -jis  1.a rice-paper screen in a sliding wooden frame, used in Japanese houses as a partition 2. any similar screen [from Japanese, from shō to separate + ji a piece]

Monday, August 9, 2010

What's on the Wall NOW?

While transferring stuff from hidey holes here and there to my yard sale find tower of drawers, I fell upon a pattern that I had printed off some time ago - - that I was sooooo keen to recreate that I had already printed off the paper foundation piecing patterns and had been collecting fabrics for several years.

So, I thought...what the heck! No time like the present! I'm seeing less and less Asian inspired fabrics in the fabric stores, so I believe I'm jumping on this trend just as it's petering out.

The patterns was a free download from In The Beginning Fabrics -- and there's lots of designs there, so take a look if you have the time. 

Now, the measurements for some of the pieces are incorrect.  It would be best to draft it out for yourself . Foundation A & B need to be 5.5" long x 2" wide. Also, I increased the width of the C and F rectangles, just to give a little wiggle room for error, and will square the blocks up to 12.5" later.

I asked Itty Bitty and Hubby, at separate times, to come have a look at the blocks on my design wall, and neither one of them could identify them as kimonos.  Am I deluding myself?  I think they look a LOT like kimonos!  UGH!

Anyway, I'm having a lot of fun making the blocks.  It's a lot like making little doll clothes!  I'm enjoying choosing the coordinating fabrics for each kimono, and perhaps doing a little fussy cutting to make sure the stripes are perfect, or the crane is centred just so.  They go together pretty fast too, because of the big pieces!  (The centre rectangle of the kimono is 5.5" x 10").

I must get a move on here...I've got an appointment to get my hair coloured this morning.  I've put it off, and put it off, because I wanted to do some research about the safety of hair colour, and effects of the chemicals in the different brands of products.  I've been colouring my hair for YEARS - I've been greying since I was 19, and I've got to be a good 70% white now, judging by my scary roots.  I've been contemplating going natural -- which idealistically would be better aligned with the new ideas I'm eager to embrace about living an authentic life of simple abundance.  But I'm just THAT vain! 

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Some quilty stuff...plus other junk

Seems I haven't given a Simple Abundance Project update for awhile.  First - I don't think there is much more I can get rid of, for at least a little while.  The house has been gone through, and anything that doesn't contribute to my ideal life has been eliminated.

There's still projects underway, and plans for future projects--most importantly--removing all the carpeting in the house and replacing it with bamboo hardwood flooring.

At last reckoning, I've lost 14 lbs.  Two people commented this past week that they can see that I've lost weight in my face.  Okay...wasn't going for head shrinking, but hey...it's a start! 

I went yard sale-ing yesterday morning and picked up this:

I'm pretty pleased with this tower of drawers - - I will tuck it into a corner, and load it up with precut kits and UFO's that are scattered in different places in my sewing studio.  That will certainly pare down the cluttered look!  I only paid $6 for all 3 three-drawer units, and they do stack one on top of the other.

I picked up the October 2010 issue of "American Patchwork & Quilting" last night, because I am in love with the cover quilt, which mimics the look of an old-time-y crocheted granny square afghan:

Granny Squares by Lissa Alexander

Not one to purchase a whole magazine for just one pattern, I'm itching to begin constructing these two as well:

Apple Crisp by Jan Ragaller

Plaid Tidings by Kathie Holland
The paper foundation piecing PDF for the square-in-a-square sub-blocks are downloadable from
www.AllPeopleQuilt.com/379 - very cool!  And this quilt looks soooo repurposed shirt friendly!

Friday, August 6, 2010

"Louisa", "Anne", and TWO "Lucy"s -- all the girls were here!

I spent a pleasant day with a Moda Jelly Roll in the "Louisa" collection, my Janome "Lucy", listening to "Anne of the Island" by Lucy Maude Montgomery.

So far, I've gotten the centre part done of Roslyn Mirrington's recipe at Moda Bake Shop.

Wendy (you naughty girl you!) got me hooked on LMM last summer, and if I'm not completely senile yet, I think it was she who got me hooked on Librivox.org too, where I downloaded both "Anne of Avonlea" and "Anne of the Island" to listen to while I sewed.

What I like about the LMM books, although initially intended for a much younger reader than I, is the words! Listening to her stories is like listening to music.  If you are looking for some "company" while you sew, I strongly recommend you download either of these from Librivox.

And speaking of words, I'd like to mention a new favourite podcast that I recently stumbled upon: A Way With Words.  Each program is nearly an hour long, and discusses neologisms, slang, grammar, old sayings, word origins, regional dialects, family expressions, and speaking and writing well.

Thursday, August 5, 2010


The "Bathroom Renovation from Hell" is finally complete, so it's time to move on to the next home project.

Now, we are going to remove all the carpet in our house, and replace it with bamboo hardwood flooring.  Even though our dear old house is 97 years old now, and one would expect there to be hardwood floors beneath the wall-to-wall, crying out to be restored, not so!  Instead, we have old painted pine floors.

This morning, Itty Bitty and I removed the furniture from Sailor Boy's old room, tore out the carpet, pulled up the tack strip, and are now set to commence the painting part of the re-do.  It might take me three weeks to pick out a colour... 

...and another three weeks just to paint the radiator!

Incidently, Gibby Kitty is completely worn out, and is sleeping on top of my cutting mat.  I just 'meowed' at him, and he gave me the most disgusted and condescending glare before slamming his eyes shut again.

I think I threw out my Hot Glue gun

I believe in my excitement to unburden myself of stuff, I tossed my hot glue gun.  And wouldn't you know it?  I could use it right now.

I saw some adorable little pin cushions while we were on our vacation, but decided I could probably make one myself.

stupid cat...camera insists on focusing on the cat's fur, and NOT the pin cushion

And I did create a pretty credible imitation, but the stem of the flower is a golf tee, which is meant to be poked into the hole of a spool of thread.  I found the golf tees (not to mention $3.14, and one American dime) in Hubby's golf bag in the basement this morning, but not the glue gun to attach them to the flower.

Gibby Kitty has picked up a rather bad habit.  He begins meowing Réveille at obscene hours of the morning (today it started at 5) and does not let up for HOURS! I wish he'd get laryngitis.

Sunday, August 1, 2010

Well...you have to know I brought home a few quilty treats...

While we were visiting The People's Quilt Museum, I came around one corner and thought, "Now here is a quilt for me!"

...and another!

Both of these quilts were stitched by quilter Elsie M. Campbell ... and wasn't I excited to see that copies of her book were available for sale that included patterns for both of these?