Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Sackboys & Beachboys

Here is my WIP for this week.

Disembodied arms and legs...yikes, it is like a sackboy massacre. These little babies have to be finished in the next couple of days for the Spring Fair, so that I can spend the rest of the week baking 100+ cupcakes :)

After that, it will be back to the Pirate quilt, which I have done a little bit of work on, but nothing very exciting to see, just more curved piecing for the background sea.

And my excuse for the lack of crafting this week? We spent this past weekend in Tofino, on the west coast of Vancouver Island. Our trip there consists of a ferry ride through the spectacular Gulf Islands, and a drive across the island, which always involves two mandatory stops: the first is at the Goats on Roof market in Coombs to pick up groceries and have lunch. There really are goats on the roof (of course they were being elusive and I only got one very blurry picture so I can't prove it to you), and the market is an eclectic mix of colour and whimsy that is so characteristic of Vancouver Islanders. Need a large ornamental elephant? This is your place.

After lunch, we had just one more stop to make. I find it impossible to drive past Cathedral Grove without stopping to marvel at the old growth Douglas Firs. The oldest ones here are about 800 years. They are majestic.

As soon as we arrived in Tofino, we headed straight for the beach:

And of course, stayed for the sunset.

The next day was to be our last day of sunshine (it is also known as the wet coast, after all), so we headed to Long Beach.

(Yes, those are surfers. Yes, this is Canada.)

The rest of our weekend was spent hottubbing (is that a verb?) in the rain, looking at the gorgeous scenery and breathing the forest-scented air. If you ever have the chance to visit, Tofino is a beautiful and unique place that will steal a little piece of your heart.

Now, before I stop chatting your ear off, don't forget about the new posts from the Let's Get Acquainted Blog Hop this week:

May 29
    Heidi from Fabric Mutt
    Amy from Amy's Crafty Shenanigans
May 31
    Jodi from Tickle and Hide
    Jennie from Porch Swing Quilts

Thanks for visiting me here on the internets!

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Curl up with Pearl

I skipped WIP wednesday this week, because while I'm still thinking about how I'm going to finish the Pirate quilt, I haven't actually done any work on it.

Because I don't have any WIP photos to share this week, I thought I would share pics of a pair of quilts I made after Christmas. Not quite two years ago, one of my friends died of cancer. We met in a park when her little one was just a few months old, and I was still pregnant with my youngest son. Our older boys immediately hit it off, they both had crazy hair and crazy energy. Pearl had that same vibrant energy, along with a warm personality and sharp sense of humour. She had a unique style and loved yard sales and thrift shopping. We continued to run into each other, our boys playing together at the park, and then when my oldest started Kindergarten, we found that the boys were in the same class. Our younger boys were in the same class at daycare and were best friends. It was heart wrenching to learn just a few short years later that Pearl would not get to see her boys grow up. After she passed away, I offered to take Pearl's clothes and make a quilt for each of her sons. I thought Pearl would appreciate her clothes seeing a second life, keeping her boys warm.

While memory quilts are a big part of the quilting tradition, they are not really in line with "Modern" quilting, which is often about designer fabrics and carefully chosen colour schemes, so it was a little challenging for me. Taking clothes of multiple fibres and colours and trying to make a cohesive quilt made me pretty nervous. I was also asked to make sure that certain special items were included, like these roses from a summer dress. I was pretty sure these quilts were destined to be fuglies.

I picked background colours that I thought were neutral and boy-friendly. There were a lot of rayons and knits, so I stabilized all those fabrics with a lightweight interfacing. The first quilt is a wonky log cabin style, and the background is Kona Cinnamon.

It is twin sized (65" x 88"). I backed it with a cotton sheet and some pieced remnants, and had a fabric in my stash that perfectly matched one of Pearl's dresses, and contained some of the cinnamon colour. I added the turquoise colour to liven it up a little bit. Pearl was very lively, but her wardrobe was actually quite neutral. It was quilted with an all over meander. This is the biggest quilt I've quilted on my home machine, and while it was challenging, it was certainly manageable.

The second quilt was a wonky cross quilt, with the same dimensions, using Kona Coal as the background, and Kona rich red for binding (the red matched one of the t-shirts).

I think the magic of quilting elevated them from fugliness - somehow everything seemed to come together and I was quite happy with how they turned out.

The reception that these quilts received when I dropped them off was worth every minute I spent on them, and then some. The fact alone that the boys pointed out the fabrics, saying "Remember Mama always wore that shirt!" made me so happy that I had done this.

This week also marks the start of the Let's Get Acquainted blog hop: if you want to hop on over to this week's participants, you will find some awesome projects and lovely blogs!

May 22
    Kelsey from Kelsey Sews
    Erin from Billy Button Designs

May 24
    Nik from Bold Goods
    Alyssa from Pile O Fabric

We are heading off this weekend for the wild west coast of Vancouver Island, so I probably won't have a lot of quilting/sewing to show next week, but I will have some photos to share of this magical place.

Thanks for visiting!

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Let's Get Acquainted!

I finished the Kindergarten quilt yesterday. I only took one picture yesterday, outside in the sun, planning to take some post-wash pics today. Of course today is grey and miserable, so I had to enlist my helpers to get a picture inside:

Here is the binding (yesterday in the sun):

I'm so happy to have this finished ahead of schedule.

I have mentioned in my last couple of posts that I had some exciting news, and I wasn't trying to be coy, I just kept running out of space, and really wanted to give it the focus it deserved, because of the effort put into organizing it by Beth of Plum and June.

I was really thrilled to be invited to join Beth's Let's Get Acquainted Blog Hop. Let's Get Acquainted showcases blogs started in 2011 and 2012, so while they are all new, some are fairly established, and some, like myself, are just starting out. Be sure to check out Plum and June if you're interested in meeting some new blog friends, Beth has organized a fabulous event, including guest bloggers, interviews and giveaways, starting next week and going all the way into August! (And she has a seven month old baby! At that point I considered showering a major accomplishment.) I'm looking forward to sharing a project with y'all on June 12th!

Plum and June

Our sunny Saturday involved some of this:

...and some of this:

Five and fearless!

Thanks for visiting ;)

Friday, May 18, 2012


Amy's Creative Side

If you haven't been here before, then welcome to Chez Roo! I have followed the Bloggers Quilt Festival at Amy's Creative Side for the last couple of years, but since I wasn't a blogger until recently, this year is my first entry. I made this quilt a few months ago for my husband's friend's new baby. I have loved this New Wave pattern since Elizabeth of Oh Fransson! first put it out - simple and geometric, wonderful to showcase favourite fabrics and colour schemes.

Pink, blue and brown is one of my favourite colour combos. I used mostly fabrics that I already had, buying only a couple of extra pinks, like the incredible Aladdin's Lamps by Lizzy House. It has a few prints from Momo It's a Hoot, which is one of my favourite collections, and some Amy Butler Love, and Aneela Hoey's sweet puppies from Sherbet Pips.

I bound it with an espresso polka dot (I cannot resist polka dots for bindings!), and backed with a cute flannel from the LQS.

The back of the binding is hand sewn, and this quilt has the (dubious?) distinction of being the first actual quilt that I free motion quilted, with a large meander. I just told myself that it was okay if it didn't turn out perfect, because the baby probably wouldn't notice. Guess what, the quilting was not perfect, and after it was washed you would never know! It was really tough to give this one away, but I still have enough of most of these fabrics that I could make an almost identical one for my daughter. It seems kind of crazy, given that life is short and there are so many other beautiful patterns and fabrics to make into lovely quilts, yet when you love something, what do you do? Do you ever replicate your favourite quilts?

I received a very sweet and appreciative note from the baby's mum, and while "thank you"s aren't the reason that I give handmade gifts, it certainly is nice to know that what was made will be loved.

There are now over three hundred entries in the festival - check it out!

I did allude to exciting news in my last post, but I will be saving it until tomorrow, when hopefully I will also have a finish to share with you!

Thanks for visiting!


Wednesday, May 16, 2012

FOs beat WIPs 2:1

...as long as you don't count all the WIPs hanging around on the floor in my sewing room :)

The only WIP that I touched this week was the Kindergarten quilt. I managed to convince myself that lying on the couch after the children had completely sapped all my lifeforce wasn't actually going to get that quilt finished (and there is a deadline approaching!), so I stitched up a little dedication, but decided to forgo the embroidered flowers (in the spirit of getting things finished and all).

I also decided to stick to appliqué for the rest of the block, I had thought about doing a paper pieced house and heart, but wanted the last block to blend in with the children's blocks. I made a simple little house filled with hearts, made with treasured scraps of Ruby Star Rising Ephemera.

I got most of the blocks put together last night, until I accidentally spilled a drink on one of the blocks, gasp! Who knew that you shouldn't place liquids next to your sewing machine? Thank goodness it was colourless. So I gently rinsed the block out and had to wait for it to dry to finish the top. I went to finish the top this morning, when my sewing machine, which was perfectly happy last night (not touched by the spill at all), started having major issues - I think it's a timing thing. Fortunately I still have a backup. Okay, two.

(I don't know why every picture I take of this quilt looks out of focus...)

Now it just needs basting, quilting and binding. The Reunion Years print is for the backing, and the little Xs (forget what line they are from) are for the binding. Should be done soon!

And, yay, this week there were FOs! (Yes, that means I ignored a bunch of WIPs to start something new - but I finished them, so it doesn't count, hah!) I have had this Amy Butler Barcelona skirt pattern on the agenda, with this Brooklyn Heights fabric, forever! As I was cutting out the pieces I realized that instead of shortening the pieces I could just leave the bottom section off - I am too short for such a long a-line skirt. I also took in the flare by about 11/2" each side (6" total) and am really happy with the shape.

While I was clicking around the internets, I discovered that this is Skirt Week at Crafterhours! So I am entering this in the A-line category, if you have whipped up some skirts recently, then run on over and enter! You have until June 8th.

I also picked up some knit dresses at the thrift store to make into yoga skirts for the summer, and this is the first one. It was originally a maxi dress from old navy, and now it will be my summer-hanging-out-at-the-park skirt, super comfy. I used the super easy tutorial from stayathomeartist. My daughter saw it and immediately demanded to have an identical skirt. Hmmm.

 (Until now, I had not experienced the torture of trying to take a decent picture of yourself!)

And speaking of small tyrants, I finished this Ice Cream Dress last week - at the request of the previously mentioned small tyrant, with fabrics picked with her very own little hands - and every time I go near her with it she shrieks and runs away. I think the problem is that the button isn't shiny enough? You think that girl in The Devil Wears Prada had it rough, I would take her job in a second!

 (This button, apparently, is not shiny enough.)

And the other small tyrant proclaimed that I also need to make a fish for the shark to eat on the pirate quilt. Yes, sir, I will get right on that.

FOs seem to be outweighing WIPs this week, but I guess that's a good thing!

I am linking up with WIP Wednesday at Freshly Pieced and at The Needle and Thread Network. There are sooo many fantastic blogs on both these sites if you want to check them out.

I'm sure you've listened to enough from me by now, so I will save my other exciting news for the next post.

Thanks for visiting, and have a lovely Wednesday!

Saturday, May 12, 2012

Mothers & Daughters

Today's post is a little recognition of my mum. My mothering journey has not been particularly easy, not in small part because I chose to have and raise my children on the other side of the country than both of our families with a partner who has to work long hours, sometimes months, away from his children, but I also realize that my mother's journey was not easy either. I don't think that mothering comes particularly naturally for either of us, and I also certainly recognize myself in some of her (not so positive) stories of her own mother, my Nana. I then look at my own daughter, and how challenging it can be to parent her in a positive way. I wonder about how my parenting will in turn affect her children, should she have any.

(This sweet little face doesn't always look so angelic, heh.)

For me, when they talk about how being a mother is the hardest job in the world, they're not talking about the sleepless nights, or the endless picking up toys/clothes/food off the floor, or the breaking up of fights/disputes/bloodbaths. They're talking about needing to recognize that the bad behaviour I see is a communication of a unmet need - and I can't just react, I also have to figure out what the need is and if/how I can meet it. They are talking about needing to have a deep reservoir of patience, suppressing the desire to tell my own offspring to hit the road when I've had enough of the whining, and truly putting someone else's needs ahead of my own. That is the hardest -- when I want to be whiney, sick, complainey, selfish, or childish, but I can't because I'm a mom. It's like having to be a real, no-time-outs, grown up.

Being a better mother is one of my most important, and constantly ongoing, goals. I don't really know any ideal moms, most of the real life moms I know are all human, go figure, but it helps to have an ideal to reach for (and I'm not talking about what Time Magazine is talking about, which really just serves to undermine all mothers and their choices). I don't feel that I need to be an ideal mom, I just need to be on the path. I know that my daughter, and my boys, are a blessing, but sometimes, usually around 6:45pm, when my tongue hurts from being bitten for so long, I forget that.

I recently saw a reminder, and I plan to embroider it and put it somewhere prominent:

"Love me when I least deserve it, 
because that is when I need it most."

True for all of us, right? Right.

Happy Mother's Day to all the moms out there, including my mum, and maybe one day, my daughter.

Thanks for visiting,

(Next post = sewing. Promise!)

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

We're Gonna Need a Bigger Boat.

So this week I have mostly been working on the Kindergarten quilt. My son's teacher did a lot of teaching about architecture, so I thought that having the kids make house blocks would be fitting. I brought in a box full of scraps, and had them choose their fabrics for their houses, cut the shapes and glue them onto the white blocks with plain glue sticks (encouraging them to use them sparingly!). I took them home, added a rainbow of Kona cotton borders, and appliqued the shapes onto the blocks with the batting behind. This is the same quilt-as-you-go method that Rachel used on her Bottled Rainbows qal, on Stitched in Colour. (And I'm going to make a ticker tape quilt one day soon!) I will add a backing after I join the blocks, and then do some minimal straight line quilting.

Here is the quilt so far...(with apologies for the atrocious lighting)

And here are some of my favourite blocks:

1. HQblock2, 2. HQblock3, 3. HQblock4, 4. HQblock1

I love that some of them did not feel constrained by the traditional house design, instead adding three roofs or cherry clouds! And I love the little bunny peeking out of the window. There were a few scraps of Halloween fabric in the pile that turned out to be very popular, I would probably have taken them out if I'd had the foresight!

For the missing block (there used to be 20 kids in the class, but one moved away last month) I plan to embroider a house and some flowers, with a little (meaning short) dedication to the teacher, and applique a heart inside. This teacher has truly been a gift to my son in his first year at school, so I wanted to collaborate with her students to make a gift for her that will show her how much she is appreciated.

{Teachers in BC currently struggle with a government that seeks to undermine the public school system and its teachers at every possible opportunity, and it makes me sad to see my children's teachers so stressed out, especially when I know that the lack of support for teachers in the classroom (eg., not enough, sometimes none at all, aides for high needs students) translates into a lack of support for their students.}

The other wip this week is the ongoing pirate quilt. I decided that we needed a shark in the sea below the pirate ship, and set out to find a paper pieced shark pattern, only to discover that there is no such thing! (At least not one that I could find.) So, using the Touchdraw app, I decided to try my hand at drawing one.

I don't quite have the hang of Touchdraw, so this took much longer than you would think! I sized this at 6", and some of those pieces are quite tiny. I made up a little practice block and added his eye with a french knot:

Does he look like a shark?

Here he is in action:

I think when I make him again I will size the block up to 8" and maybe make the tail fins a little larger. The water will be using the same technique as the sky, just darker. After I get his kinks worked out, and figure out how to put a file on a blog, I will post the pattern here. Just in case anyone feels that their universe is incomplete without a paper pieced shark.

I am linking up with The Needle & Thread Network for Canadian blogs WIP Wednesday, and Freshly Pieced's WIP Wednesday.

And I did actually finish some stuff this week, so stay tuned...

Thanks for visiting!

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

White Rabbits!

Ok - post title is because of Rachel-Lou at Made With Whimsy - I read her post this morning, and remembered that I used to start every month with "White Rabbits!" I had forgotten all about it!

Since it is the beginning of the month, I'm linking up with Lily's Quilts Fresh Sewing Day

Lily's Quilts

Here's what I managed to accomplish this month. It is more than I usually manage to get done, with three children pretty much ruling the roost around here, so I'm happy! (And I also figured out how to make a flickr mosaic, yay!)


The first is technically not finished, just a completed 24" block for my son's pirate quilt. I see there is not a lot of quilting happening these days, but many bags! And I haven't blogged the Swiss Miss Hand Warmers yet.I'm linking up with the Small Blog Meet again this month.

Lily's Quilts

If you came here via Lily's Quilts, then I look forward to visiting your site - just leave a comment! I have already found so many great blogs.

I'm also just discovered Monika's links for Canadian blogs, so I'm linking up there too (discovered thru fellow Vancouverite Felicity Quilts -- she is an awesome quilter if you want to go check out her blog!)

Thanks for visiting!