Friday 30 November 2012

From A - New Toy

As an avid reader I have long debated about adding an eReader to the household. I love physical books and wasn't sure I'd like the experience of reading without the book.

I finally caved this week and bought a Kobo Mini. In honour of Cyber Monday, they were priced at only $50.00 and I figured that at that price, it was worth a try. When I went looking for a case for my new toy, all that seemed to be available on this side of the drink (ie. North America) was a $20.00!!! piece of plastic that made the back of the device look pretty but did nothing to protect the screen.

Kobo Mini Sleeve

My crafty instinct kicked in and I found this tutorial, re-jigged the measurements so that it would fit, dug through the stash for supplies and bought some Velcro. For about 20 cents, I had enough supplies to make three cases.

Kobo Mini Sleeve

I used some leftover Storm Clouds by Tula Pink from my Swoon quilt for the exterior and some Four Square voile by Anna Maria Horner from one of the baby blankets I made for the lining. I used some Pellon Thermolam Plus for the inter-lining/padding from my Hoop Travel Bags. Not a huge fan of Pellon generally but the Thermolam is the perfect thickness/density for these padded pouch projects.

Kobo Mini Sleeve

After thirty minutes of planning, and 1 hour of sewing I had a perfectly tailored and not bulky at all sleeve. In fact my Kobo is way smaller than any book I've read lately. Perfect for my new life as a frequent traveller/long-distance wife effective January.

Kobo Mini Sleeve

In case you were also sucked into the sale and want to make one of your own I cut my fabric 6.75" wide and 11.25" long. I used a upside-down dinner plate as a template for the top flap.

Kobo Mini Sleeve

With Christmas now less than 4 weeks away, I will definitely make at least one more of these.

Wednesday 28 November 2012

From K - Three bags makes progress

It's official, I'm absolutely certain now that it is physically impossible to make just one travel hoop bag and stop there. When I started working on my first bag two weeks ago while visiting Amanda, she told me they were addictive... and now I can only agree. To support my theory, this past weekend I may have broken down and whipped up two more.... maybe...

These bags make for a very quick and rewarding project, which for a quilter, can sometimes be a rare occurrence, am I right? And even better, the pattern is stash friendly, and you could even get scrappy with it. For my first bag, I added a third row of fabric and I like the effect. I pulled some fabric from my stash such a Mezzanine from Grand Hotel by Jenean Morrison (top), and The Banks from Across the Pond by Michelle Engel Bencsko (middle), along with Memoir from Alchemy by Amy Butler (bottom).

For the second bag, I used some fabric that I picked up while in Toronto. I think I'm definitely going to need to incorporate more Raven Lace from Night Shade by Tula Pink into my life, and Tangled Threads from Sew Mama Sew might just become a stash staple. For the inside of this bag, I decided to go with Tapestry Sheeting from The Ghastlies by Alexander Henry and I think it was a perfect fit.

It sure didn't take me long to find something to fill these bags with. Last week a couple new cross stitch Christmas stocking kits arrived and were itching for a storage solution. These bags were put to good use right away and will help me stay on track. Is it a problem that I already want to make more?

Tuesday 27 November 2012

From A - Starting

It's been a long time since I've spent any quality time with my sewing machine. Every time I try, something more important seems to come up.

In an attempt to break the drought, I spent a bit of time cutting fabric for a baby quilt. Inspired by Kelsey's gorgeous plus quilt, I decided that with another 5 babies on the way in my immediate friend circle (that brings the count up to 14 in about 19 months) it was probably wise to invest in a few more baby gifts.

I'm using the left over squares from the layer cake I bought to make my Carnival quilt and some Kona Mushroom.

Can't wait to buy some matching thread later this week so I can finally dust off my old friend and get back to making quilts!

Friday 23 November 2012

From K - Staying organized

Although I spent all of last week on the road, I did manage to find a snippet of time at Amanda's to pull together a little project. I've been drooling over Amanda's recent travel hoop bags sewn up using a pattern by Frosted Pumpkin Stitchery.

Since I've been working on a couple different cross stitch projects lately, I thought I'd try my hand at getting organized by making my own hoop bag.

I absolutely love this bicycle print from Weekends by Erin McMorris, and have been holding it hostage in my stash for quite a while. I was happy to pull it out for this bag, and one little bicycle even got the honor of making a pretty label in the corner.

I paired it with a great gray print from Cherry Christmas by Aneela, and to add a bit of fun, I used Raindrops in Petal from Jack and Jenny by Laurie Wisbrun. Finally for good measure, I tossed on a hot pink zipper, because isn't that exactly what it needed?

Fast, rewarding, and oh so handy at helping me to stay organized. I see a couple more of these babies in my

Time to get stitching again!

Wednesday 21 November 2012

From A - Making Furniture

I recently registered for a class to learn some upholstery basics. Our class project was to make a small ottoman. Over the course of the last three weeks, I hammered together a foundation made of wood, covered my foundation in foam and batting, carefully sculpted the corners using extra foam scraps and finally did the actual upholstery.

The end result: a modern yet neutral addition my household.

I opted to use an upholstery weight fabric for the exterior and think it was the perfect choice. Not only did I get over my fear of sewing heavy duty fabric on my home sewing machine but I am left with a piece that is durable enough to stand up to my vacuum and other everyday wear and tear.

Some time was spent attempting to match the print at the seams. Although it isn't perfect because of the size of the pattern repeat, I'm very happy with how it all came together. It looks cohesive but not unnaturally perfect.

I picked up some silver furniture legs from Lee Valley in order to give my little cube a more elegant look. Kelsey helped me position and attach them while visiting last weekend.

All in all I can't stop admiring my handiwork from every angle (even from the bottom!).

I'm not sure how much more upholstery work I'll do going forward but I'm pleased as punch that this little guy started as a pile of wood and fabric and has turned into something that we will love and use for years to come.

Monday 19 November 2012

From K - Stocking up my Stash (3rd edition)

Another week away from home, equalled another week without a sewing machine nearby. The perk of being away though? I topped off a long week on the road for work, by spending an entire weekend with Amanda in Toronto! Highlights of the past few days included great people, amazing food and one fabulous sewing store.

While Amanda slaved away on her current WiPs, I found a couple hours to browse the fantastic modern fabric selection at The Workroom.

As always, a large portion of my purchase was simply stash building, with no specific project in mind.

New additions to my stash include: Raven Lace in Absinthe from Night Shade (Tula Pink), Ladder Dot from Chicopee (Denyse Schmidt), Memoir from Alchemy (Amy Butler), Purple from Hello Pilgrim (Lizzy House), Lei from Seven Wonders (Parson Gray), and Purple Tufts Outfoxed (Lizzy House).

I also stocked up on fabrics for two upcoming projects. One project will consists of prints from (left to right): Tapestry Sheeting from The Ghastlies (Alexander Henry), Raven Lace in Vapor from Night Shade (Tula Pink), Tangled Threads from Mama Said Sew (Sweetwater), and Spider Blossom from Night Shade (Tula Pink).

And the second project will include Sundials from Fieldstudy, Kaffe Fassett Shot Cotton in Aloe, and an amazing canvas print (of which I can't seem to track down a link for sorry!).

Add in a few notions, some Pellon, and some canvas and you have an extremely jam packed suitcase on the return flight home. Oh well, it was well worth all the cramming - I can't wait to whip up a couple new projects with these fabrics soon!

Wednesday 14 November 2012

From A - Halfway

After a few more hours of really satisfying hand sewing, I managed to finish my handpieced Sawtooth Star block.

Hand Pieced Sawtooth Star

I used Sweetwater's Grunge print in black for the cornerstones and one of the floral prints from Anna Maria Horner's Field Study line for the outside border. I really like how the semi-transparent polka-dots echo the Mirror Ball dots in the star points. I also like how the white background fabric (Lecien Whitewash) has subtle flowers in it which echo the poppies in the border print.

Hand Pieced Sawtooth Star

The finished block size is 20.5" x 20.5". I'm planning to turn it into a throw pillow for our bed.

Quilting My Star

After admiring it for a few days, I have finally taken the time to get this block basted and have started on the hand quilting. So far so good. Hopefully I'll have a finished pillow to snuggle up to soon!

Sunday 11 November 2012

From K - Snowed In

This week I've learned three very valuable things:

a) giant snowy blizzards really do make the season feel more festive;
b) I might have a slight obsession with the Frosted Pumpkin Stitchery's Kawaii Christmas mystery club;
c) getting stranded at an airport on a work trip because of A, makes B even more addictive.

Now I have to say, I'm all for snowy winters (up until Christmas and then it can melt please), but when you're stranded overnight at an airport because of a work trip...your opinion can really start to change. I also noticed that while I generally tend to do a lot of sewing in the colder months, this year I can't stop snuggling on the couch with a fun cross stitch pattern.

This week I found myself hunkered down and stitching away rather than working on my newest quilt. Maybe it doesn't look like I've made that much progress but stitching those frames with satin floss on vibrating planes takes time people! So does ripping out stitches when you notice around midnight that you were off by a row off (ugh!)

After finally getting home late Friday, I decided I needed to make the best of this snow storm before I got bitter about it. So I said bring on the hot chocolate, present wrapping and Christmas d├ęcor - and then  proceeded to do just that! Don't worry, I didn't go all crazy, but I did change out our fall mantle to something a tad more festive.

Finally today I made some headway on my modern Pow Wow quilt. It took a bit longer to piece than I had initially anticipated, but I'm pretty happy with the progress so far. 20 blocks down, 36 more to go.

I decided to go with Kona Water as my neutral solid and I'm a little on the fence as to whether it was a good idea or not. Hopefully it comes together as planned.

This next week I'm off on another work trip so there will likely be more cross stitching than sewing, while in transit, but luckily this one lets me spending the ENTIRE WEEKEND with none other than Amanda! *Seriously cousin, we're on a roll, two visits in three months - whoot whoot!
Here's hoping that mother nature cooperates a bit better this time, that or it leaves me stranded out east so I get even more time with my awesome cousin. I hope the weather has been treating you well, wherever you are, and maybe even bringing on some of that holiday cheer.

Thursday 8 November 2012

From A - Celebration

I have been fortunate enough to have many reasons to celebrate over the course of the last week or so. I had a birthday earlier in the week, one of my childhood friends had a long-awaited baby girl and my grandfather had his 80th birthday.

In honour of this important milestone, the hubs and I decided to plan a 24 hour trip to Winnipeg to join in on the 80th birthday festivities. With the help of some key family members, we decided to surprise my grandparents by showing up at his birthday dinner at a legendary Winnipeg restaurant.

We booked our airfare at the last minute and ended up with early morning flights both ways. Since we had some extra time we decided to go meet the new baby. This of course meant that I had to start a new project for the wee one.

Figuring that portable was good , I dug through the stash and found 4 skeins of Tanis Fibre Arts Yellow Label DK and decided to knit a striped baby blanket. I found this free pattern for a mitred blanket with a picot edge and cast on while sitting at the airport yesterday morning. I'm using four different colours and varying the width of my stripes to keep it from looking too uniform.

By days end I had managed to make it through the first couple sets of stripes. Still lots of work on this one but I'm hoping that it will be finished in time for the holidays. All in all it's been a week of good things.

Monday 5 November 2012

From K - SnOw cold

Winter settled in last week to stay, and the chilly nights have consistently led me to curled up on the couch with needle and thread. Last week I mentioned that I had ordered a little cross stitch pattern from 1-2-3 stitch and when it arrived I couldn't wait to get started.

With only 7 floss colors, it was beyond speedy to stitch up. I don't think it took me more than a couple evenings of Downton Abbey and hot tea to complete this project. To finish it off, I swung by Michael's over the weekend and picked up a darling 4x4 inch frame that fits this project perfectly.

I've since put in another order to the same online xstitch company, and I'm hoping my shipment arrives shortly. I tossed a couple christmas stocking projects in my basket, along with some more floss storage (I already maxed out last weeks box!). I'm hoping to complete some major stitch progress on my Kawaii christmas stitchery over the next few weeks before my stocking shipment arrives. As I make some more stitching progress I'll keep you posted.

Last night I organized my craft room and set up to start working on my modern pow wow quilt again. Here's hoping I make some major progress this week to show you shortly. All the cutting is done so it's time to sew some seams! What are you working on this week?

Sunday 4 November 2012

From A - Weekend Sized

I took advantage of my free time this weekend to make another Hoop Travel Bag. I'm using this one to hold my hand piecing stuff for the Sawtooth Star block I showed you last week.

Hoop Travel Bag

I used some fabric from Aneela Hoey's Little Apples line for the main part of the bag. I added a bit of quilting to the front of the bag to highlight the fabric and add a bit more interest to an otherwise simple project.

A nice blue chevron print for the lining and a turquoise zipper finished the whole thing off. I love the contrast between the yellow fabric at the top of the bag and that blue zipper. I love this little bag even more than the last one that I made and am glad to have another one of these handy pouches in my crafting arsenal.

Hoop Travel Bag 

Nothing like a quick-finish project to cap off another great weekend!