Monday, April 30, 2012

What's Cooking Good Looking?

My mother in law really wanted us to get a portrait of Levi done when he turned one. I'm partial to the kind of family photos where a professional photographer hangs out with you in a park or garden and takes candid shots, but these sessions come with a hefty price tag. Plus, you have to actually find and hire a photographer and time was ticking. Enter Sears portrait studio. I was skeptical. Would we end up with decent photos? Would they look cheap? Would we have to use lame props?

The answers to those questions were yes, no and yes. But the props totally worked to our advantage! You see, Levi does NOT smile on demand. The kid really made us work! Still, we ended up with several great photos which will make all the grandparents happy. 

My smile is a tad over enthusiastic in the family shot, but we're all smiling and looking at the camera so SUCCESS!  Also, how adorable is my husband? Check out those dimples.

Levi only spent about a minute on this horse but there were about 45 seconds of happiness and the photographer caught it. Both of these photos are very Levi. Yippee!

Yeeesh! My parents are such dolts. Enough with the funny faces already!

Sunday, April 29, 2012

Vintage Sunday

It was a beautiful Sunday here in Toronto and my husband was itching to get outside so off we went on a family outing. We were planning to explore the Distillery district but the King streetcar took so long, we decided to get off near St. Lawrence market instead and I am SO glad we did.

My first stop was at Jan's lovely tables. Jan runs an Etsy shop called Fabrique Fantastique and blogs at A Passion for Vintage Textiles.

Her tables were full of vintage quilty goodness. There were vintage quilts, flimsies (quilt tops) and yardage.

I selected a lovely vintage floral print.  Three whole yards of it! I think it is destined to be the back of my Flora HST Quilt.

Later on, I happened upon a duvet cover and two pillow cases that someone was selling for only three dollars. Three dollars? SOLD! The pillow cases aren't in good shape but the duvet cover is lovely. I'm going to separate the layers and use it for quilt backs. Check it the pretty floral print.

My final stop was a sweet shop called Ephemera Too. It looks like it's a permanent shop and it's located in the north building.  There were stacks of vintage fabric, as well as finished vintage textiles like napkins, sheets, quilts and so forth.

I've been looking for a new table cloth and when I saw this print I thought it was just perfect.  My husband diplomatically commented that it "wasn't to his taste" but I didn't let that stop me. The piece is more than two yards and I think if I add a strip of natural linen along each width, it will be fantastic. 


I also got this black and white Waverly cotton piece. One of the great things about markets is that you can bargain with sellers. The kitchen print was a bit pricey at $25, while the Waverly print was only $8. I asked the seller if I could get both for $25 and she agreed. Score!

Now, if that isn't an excellent Sunday afternoon, I don't know what is.

Saturday, April 28, 2012

Open Toe Perfection

Usually when I use the phrase "open toe" I'm talking about shoes. I do love me some shoes, just ask my colleagues. But today's post isn't about shoes.  No, I'm talking about presser feet.  I've been on the look out for an open toe walking foot for my sewing machine for a while now. I used one at The Workroom and found it so much easier to quilt with because you can really see what you're doing. Alas, I've had zero luck finding an open toe walking foot for my Kenmore. I'm thinking I might need to special order a Janome one, if only I can find the exact one I need to fit my machine (Kenmore's are made by Janome and the accessories are interchangeable from what I understand).

So, I was on Queen street today and decided to pop in to the World Sewing Centre. On a whim I checked out the presser foot selection and noticed a Janome open toe foot. It's not a walking foot but I figured an open toe would be great for piecing too. When I asked the name of the foot I learned it was a quarter foot. I already have a quarter inch foot, but mine is the kind with the little metal strip at the edge and I've never really liked it.  With the open toe foot, you are meant to line your seam up with the edge of the foot to get a scant quarter inch seam.

After sewing with this foot for a couple hours tonight I can honestly say that my seams have never been this accurate. I think I'm in love!

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

WIP Wednesday: The Where'd the Week Go Edition

Seriously, you guys! How is it already Wednesday again?! I'm sitting here trying to think of what I got done this week and I'm drawing a blank. I know I did something. 
Oh yes! I started a secret project. Wheeeee! Except I can't blog about it. Hrmph. 
Oh, I know! I finished another Farmer's Wife block. But I already blogged about it here.
Wait! I'm handpiecing my first FW block. That's new. There are sixteen tiny HSTs which I've pieced together. Here they are all laid out. Excuse the instagram photo - my camera battery needed charging.
Ummm, I picked out the fabrics for my Sew Happy Quilt back. You can see it here.  I checked in with Kelly who's running the My Precious QAL and she said I could enter it if I wanted but it feels like cheating since most of the quilt is already done. Although...Grand Bazaar was definitely PRECIOUS and once this quilt is completed it will be all gone. I need to think about it more.

So, all in all, not the most productive week ever. I hope you were able to get more done than me. 

WIP status report
Flora Charm Quilt - HSTs are in progress
Farmer's Wife QAL - four more blocks done!
We Bee Learning Bee - April block is done
Levi's Growth Chart - no progress
NY Beauty QAL - fabric has arrived!
Sew. Happy. Quilt. top  - fabrics are chosen
Give a Day quilt - gathering ideas
Hibernating projects
Levi's Bed Quilt - This should probably come off the list

I'm linking up with WIP Wednesdays at Freshly Pieced and the Canadian Needle and Thread Network. Check out what everyone else is up to. There's so much creativity out there.

WIP Wednesday at Freshly Pieced

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Using the Pretty

I know I'm not the only one who gets anxious about using up my favorite fabrics. In fact, Kelly of Kelby Sews is hosting a quilt-a-long to address this very phenomenon. It's called the My Precious QAL and the idea is to use fabric from your stash that you've been saving or reluctant to cut in to because you love it oh so much and the idea of using it all strikes fear in your heart. Or something like that.

I'm haven't decided whether I'm going to join the QAL officially, but perhaps I should because tonight as I lay out my scrappy back for my Sew Happy Quilt, I felt more than a little uncertainty about using my entire yard of purple Jewels from Outfoxed and all my Tomato Spatter Dots from Retro Basics. Plus I'm going to use my ONLY full FQ left from the Grand Bazaar bundle that was the basis of my SHQ top.  I'm pretty sure this colourway of Jewels is sold out at The Workroom and I have no idea if it's possible to get more Spatter Dots (although it's listed on the Michael Miller site so maybe it's around). Getting more yardage isn't really the point. It's the idea that once I use the fabric, it's no longer in my stash to pull for future projects. Which, when I really think about it, is ridiculous because isn't the point of having gorgeous prints to USE them to create beautiful pieces?! Of course it is! And so, use them I will. Here's what the back of my Sew Happy Quilt will look like (excuse the fact that I haven't ironed yet please!):

Okay, enough blogging. There's an episode of Mad Men to be watched. I will leave you with a final pretty - my baby boy. If this isn't the sweetest photo, I don't know what is!

Saturday, April 21, 2012

When One Becomes Four

Today was the spring City of Craft, an indi juried craft sale and this season it was held in my 'hood which meant I had to go.  Check out the LookBook to get an idea of the vendors. Karyn sent an email to The Workroom news list alerting us that they would be selling half pound Assorted Scrap Bundles for the first time ever. There were only going to be a hundred of them so I knew I needed to get there early. I bundled Levi into the Ergo and arrived right at the show was opening. I intended to buy one bundle.

I got four. Oops. They were too delicious to resist. Plus, they contain over four years of bolt ends and scraps from fabric lines gone by. It will be years before The Workroom has enough scraps to do this again! My bundles did not disappoint! The top left one is full of pretty pinks and the bottom right is oranges. The turquoise ones will be great for my Farmer's Wife Sampler quilt. In fact, I cut into one of the scraps already (on the left, below). 

I've decided to give hand piecing a try. I don't really like using templates to cut fabric, which is why all of my Farmer's Wife blocks have been paper pieced, but I decided to put aside my reservations and make an attempt. These triangles are going to be block #11, Broken Dishes.  I finished up block #12 and I love it. FMS blocks are so addictive!

I picked up a cute needle book and pin cushion from Needlebook at the craft show. I know I could make these myself, but they were too adorable to resist.

I hope your day was as lovely as mine was!

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

WIP Wednesday: Wherein Actual Progress is Made

I'm pretty pleased with the progress I've made this week. Given the level of unhappiness in our family (hello teething!) it's amazing I got any sewing done. 
First up, my Flora Charm Quilt. I'd estimate I've finished about a third of my HSTs and the sure are purrrrrdy.

After a brief hiatus, I'm back on the horse. Yes, I've started farming again. I got two blocks done this week and a third is very close to complete. First up is Spool, made with my very favorite print of all time - jewels. I have it in almost every colour available.

Next up is Buzzard's Roost.  This one's a bit too busy, and maybe not enough contrast happening, but I'm not redoing it.

And in progress is being made on Broken Sugar Bowl. I LOVE the cream fabric. You probably can't see this but it's got gold in it. So lovely.

Last, but certainly not least, I have finished my Wonky Log Cabin Placemats.  And just in time because my dining room table could use some colour.  I'll post photos once I run them through the wash and they get all crinkly.

I'm considering adding a new project to my ever growing list. Jenna at Sew Happy Geek is hosting a mini quilt competition. The idea is to choose a card from a standard deck and design a mini quilt based on it. The prizes are excellent. I've got my thinking cap on and if I can come up with an idea that's interesting enough, I'm in.

WIP status report
Flora Charm Quilt - HSTs are in progress
Farmer's Wife QAL - three more blocks done!
We Bee Learning Bee - April block is done
Wonky Log Cabin Placemats -  DONE!
Levi's Growth Chart - no progress
NY Beauty QAL - fabric has arrived!
Give a Day quilt - gathering ideas
Hibernating projects
Sew. Happy. Quilt. QAL
Levi's Bed Quilt - This should probably come off the list

I'm linking up with WIP Wednesdays at Freshly Pieced and the Canadian Needle and Thread Network. Check out what everyone else is up to. There's so much creativity out there.

WIP Wednesday at Freshly Pieced

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Petting the Pretty

Does anyone else get crazy joy out of organizing their stash? I sure do. There's something so relaxing and almost meditative about arranging my fat quarters in colour order and lining them all up like so.

It gives me a chance to revisit favourites I've forgotten about and consider projects to come. There are some pinks in there that must be brought out to play with in the near future.

It's been a rough couple of days. Levi has been Fussy McFusserson. He has Mommy-itis and no one else will do. He wanted to be in my arms all the time, is on a nursing strike (please don't be weaning - Mama isn't really yet!), has been crying much more than usual and is generally a crankpot. It's very unusual and I'm guessing that his molars will be making their appearance any day now.  In the meantime, no one is getting much sleep around here.

Suffice it to say, playing with my pretty stash was definitely the right way to spend some quiet time tonight. 

Friday, April 13, 2012

Vanity, Thy Name is Mommy

Accidents happen. Of course they do. As a new mother, I realize that I have hundreds of accidents ahead of me. Levi will experience bumps and bruises, cuts and sores. Often I'll be there to kiss the owwies, but sometimes I won't be. And that's okay. I'm ready for it.

I wasn't ready for this:

Yes, those are two very chipped front teeth. My FOURTEEN MONTH OLD baby's teeth! Excuse me while I hyperventilate...

Okay, I'm back. Here's how it went down. My husband and I had the day off work for Passover, but we decided to send Levi to daycare so we could catch up on sleep and relax. A friend stopped by in the afternoon to hang out with my husband and I went out for some me time. When I got home, I was surprised to see Levi. "You decided to pick him up early?" "Well...not exactly..."  Turns out that daycare had called.  My husband doesn't use the phone during chag (a category of Jewish holiday similar to Shabbat, when observant Jews don't work, use electricity and or do a bunch of other stuff) so he didn't answer the phone, but thankfully, he noticed the daycare name on the call display. Figuring they would only call if something was wrong, he walked over where he found some very upset daycare ladies. Levi, on the other hand, was happily eating yogurt. Turns out he was pushing a fire truck and it got too far ahead of him, leading to him falling he  face first on the floor and chipping two teeth. His caregivers were more upset than he was and who can blame them? It must be extremely stressful for them when this type of thing happens, not knowing how the parents will react and all. Of course, we don't blame them at all. Yes, there was some blood and tears, but hugs and snuggles were all it took before Levi was back to happy.

Me? Not so much. My baby is gorgeous. I know all moms think their kids are beautiful. I'm no different. I just can't wrap my head around the fact that my stunning little boy is going to have chips in his two front teeth for the next six or seven YEARS until they fall out. I feel like they are the first thing that everyone will see when they look at him and this just bothers me to no end. I know it's totally superficial and vain and he's still adorable and yet...

Of course, I'll be making an appointment with a pediatric dentist to make sure there's no damage I can't see and to ask about our options. At the very least I think the left tooth needs to be filed down a bit because those little points are sharp. It's ridiculous, but part of me hopes that this can be fixed somehow. Even though I know it's unlikely. I've seen and read about other little kids who chip their teeth and since they are baby teeth, they are just left alone. You've seen photos of Dooce's daughter Marlo right?

I know in the grand scheme of things my baby is fine and still as adorable as ever. People won't see the chips and think I'm a bad mom. But I still would do anything to undo today's accident.

Thursday, April 12, 2012

New Plan!

I have once again changed my mind about my Flora charm quilt! Indecision, her name is Lisaleh. I just can't get excited about putting together granny squares. I think it's the idea of cutting up all my charms into quarters. I don't know why but it isn't appealing to me.

I came across a quilt on Flicker (via Pinterest) of a quilt made of HSTs using charms and I think this is the direction I'm going to take. The great thing about HSTs is after making them all, I can play around with my layout. The quilt is by Jessica and guess what? She works in HR too! A kindred spirit! Check out her blog.  Here's her Recess Baby Quilt:

I'm going to start working on my HSTs right away! I'm not sure I'll use the same exact same layout as she did, but I am going to use white as my background colour. Here goes...

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

WIP Wednesday: The More Sew Less Blog Edition

I'm anxious to get to my machine today, so this WIP Wednesday is going to be short and sweet. Having been away for several days celebrating Passover with my family, my sewing time was minimal. I did manage to get one block done last night though. Jane chose a Whirlygiggle block her month in the We Bee Learning bee.

The block came together extremely quickly and was easy to make. I was a bit thrown because you end up with wonky edges which just feels wrong, but since CrazyMomQuilt's block in the tutorial has wonky edges, I'm going with it! I measured and it does work out to be 11 inches. I used Fresh Romance which is from Art Gallery's Dreaming in French line. This was a nice opportunity to use a girly fabric, which it out of the ordinary for me, as I tend to go for bright, modern prints.  

Other news: I've volunteered to make a quilt to be given away as a prize at work for the Give A Day campaign for World Aids Day.  I have until November to make it. I'm thinking a baby quilt made of charms or perhaps jelly roll strips. 

WIP status report
Flora Charm Quilt - charms are cut
Farmer's Wife QAL - fabric has been pulled for the next block
We Bee Learning Bee - April block is done
Wonky Log Cabin Placemats -  3 complete, 1 to go
Levi's Growth Chart - no progress
Levi's Bed Quilt - This should probably come off the list...
NY Beauty QAL - fabric has arrived!
Give a Day quilt - gathering ideas
Sew. Happy. Quilt. QAL - top is DONE!

As always, I'm linking up with WIP Wednesdays at Freshly Pieced and the Canadian Needle and Thread Network. Do take the time to check out what my talented internet friends are working on. There's so much inspiration just waiting for you!

WIP Wednesday at Freshly Pieced

Monday, April 9, 2012

Ottawa Goodies

What's a trip out of town without visiting a new (to me) fabric shop, right? Last time I was in Ottawa, I wanted to check out The Running Stitch, but it was closed between xmas and New Years. This time around I was determined to stop by and I'm so glad I did. This is one fantastic quilt shop! In fact, of the three I visited in Ottawa, The Running Stitch is far and away the best of the bunch. They have a huge stock of fabric, more notions than I have ever seen in one place and threads galore.

I've read about Thangles on a few blogs and wanted to try them out, so I was thrilled to find them in stock. They only had BIG Thangles but that's okay. I'll let you know how they work out.

I chose two variegated Sulky Blendable threads. The first is Moss Medley and the other is Summer Garden. I like using variegated threads for quilting and one of these is destined for my Sew Happy Quilt.

I have a pet peeve to share with you and it's one that I realized is unavoidable. I hate when I buy a fat quarter and there isn't a selvedge with the fabric line printed on it.  Often I know the line, but not always. The Workroom shows the names of the fabrics you buy on their receipts, which is awesome and much appreciated. They even have the information saved in their computer system so you can go back weeks or months later and they can look up what you bought! Unfortunately, my receipt from The Running Stitch only says FQ (8 @ $4.25). Bummer.

Maybe you can help me out? Do you know the name of the fabric in the top row, second from the right? And also the bottom row, the lime green one with white rings? I know what all the others are, but not those two. I particularly want to know what the one with pink roses is because I bought it especially for my April We Bee Learning block and I like to be able to tell people what I've used in the blocks I send out. Thanks all!

UPDATE! I found the pink fabric! It's from Art Gallery's Dreaming in French line and it's called Fresh Romance. I had a hunch it would be an Art Gallery print. I'm so often drawn to their designs.

UPDATE 2: The green fabric is from the Metro Living line by Robert Kaufman. It's listed as chartreuse.

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

WIP Wednesday: The Beauty Edition

Look at what was waiting for me in my mailbox when I got home this afternoon!  If that isn't the prettiest bundle, I don't know what is. You're looking at 25 fat eighths of Westminster Shot Cotton.  I'm super impressed with how quickly Pam at Mad About Patchwork got this to me. I put in the order Monday night, it shipped yesterday and was here today! I'm diving right into this bundle and starting the first block of the New York Beauty QAL as soon as I finish this post. I ordered some Essex Linen in Ivory which I'll be using as the background for my NY Beauties. I've never sewn with linen before and I'm looking forward to trying it.

I also ordered various Kona FQs in the off-white range: bone, cream, champagne, cream, eggshell and ivory (and ash, but that was to round out my grey line). Can you tell which is which? Pam was kind enough to label them for me. I'm planning to keep swatches of each for future reference. I have snow, white and the bleach white so my set is pretty much complete.

This week has seen very little progress on the project front, I'm sad to say. I got a bit more binding sewn on my wonky log cabin placemats. Only one and a half to go. I also cut charms of the solids for my Flora granny square quilt, but you'll recall I remain undecided about what size of block to make.  Oh, and I selected fabric for my next two farmer's wife blocks. A step forward!

This next week be involve absolutely zero sewing. It's Passover and we're traveling to Ottawa to celebrate with family from Friday to Monday.  I'm looking forward to the trip but I'm also anxious to log some time on my sewing machine.

WIP status report
Flora Charm Quilt - charms are cut
Farmer's Wife QAL - no actual progress
Sew. Happy. Quilt. QAL - top is DONE!
We Bee Learning Bee - Our April hostess hasn't posted her block yet. I hope she does soon!
Wonky Log Cabin Placemats - 2.5 complete, 1.5 to go
Levi's Growth Chart - no progress
Levi's Bed Quilt - This should probably come off the list...
NY Beauty QAL - fabric purchased and ready to roll!

As always, I'm linking up with WIP Wednesdays at Freshly Pieced and the Canadian Needle and Thread Network. Do take the time to check out what my talented internet friends are working on. There's so much inspiration just waiting for you!

WIP Wednesday at Freshly Pieced

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Sewing Summit 2012! I'm IN!

Sewing Summit, here I come! It would be difficult to overstate just how totally excited I am to be going to this sewing and blogging conference this coming October.  Did you hear that it sold out in less than twelve hours? Apparently they were 100 registrants in the first MINUTE. AND I WAS ONE OF THEM!!!  In fact, I was one of the first 50 and snagged one of the $50 off tickets. W00t!

I suspected that tickets might go quickly, so I planned ahead. I set an alarm in Outlook for 15 minutes before registration started. When the alarm went off I headed straight to the registration page. At t-minus three minutes I started refreshing the page. I panicked when I got a message about there being too many people trying to access the server.  Luckily, a few refreshes later I was IN. Yay!

The google group, flickr group and blogs are already full of sewists getting to know each other and sharing excitement about the summit.  

Anyone else going? And are you as stoked as I am?

Monday, April 2, 2012


Now that my Sew Happy Quilt top is complete, I keep flip flopping on where to put to focus my quilty energy. The obvious choice would be to decide how I'd like to back it and get piecing and basting. But I'm not feeling it right now. Part of me just wants to buy a queen sized sheet from The Bay and send the the whole thing out to a long arm quilter. But I'm undecided. I should do it myself shouldn't I?

You'll recall that I recently bought the fabric for my Flora charm quilt, which will be a granny square quilt. I've cut the solids into charms, not including the background fabric. I just can't settle on whether I want to make large granny squares, or cut my charms in quarters and go for the more traditional version. I laid out a few grannies using uncut charms and they weren't speaking to me.

So, rather than make a decision, I pulled out my farmer's wife sampler book and selected five blocks. I printed out the paper piecing patterns and starting choosing my fabrics last night. But did I make it to the sewing machine? Nope.

Instead, I watched some television and worked on hand sewing the bindings on my wonky log cabin placements. Two are done and the third is well on its way. I'm really enjoying working with my hands.

Tonight I was certain I would plug in my sewing machine. Except, Mad About Patchwork is having a sale on designer bundles and I've been eyeing the shot cotton sampler for weeks. Plus, I just happened to be reading blogs and Elizabeth Dackson posted today about using oakshot shot cotton for the New York Beauty QAL and if that isn't fate I don't know what is! So instead of sewing I put in an order for the solids and now have New York Beauties on the brain. This link brings you to the patterns for the blocks the QAL is based on - so awesome.

I have a meeting tomorrow night, Wednesday night is Survivor night and we leave for Ottawa on Friday for Passover so it's unlikely I'll be getting much of anything done this week. I suppose that's for the best though, since I obviously can't decide what I want to work on!