Friday, 28 June 2013

From A & K - Celebration

Last June we decided it was high time to take our near constant photo texting up a notch, so we bit the bullet and started this little blog together. Nothing too big or fancy, just a tiny nook in this colossal space we call the web where we could share our passion for making stuff with each other and with any like minded folk who happened by. Little did we know that starting this space would make living more than 2,000 km apart feel like we live next door or that this blog would add so much creative fuel to our sewing.

We have both recently been fortunate enough to have been touched by the generosity and kindness of others. Amanda through her epic ride, and Kelsey through the outpouring of selflessness that has seized the city of Calgary in the wake of the flood. In the hopes that we can share a kernel of this with one of you, we decided it was time to pay it forward with a small celebration of our own.

After much deliberation, we've pulled together a collection of some favourite crafty things that we'd like to send to one lucky reader. To enter our little giveaway, all you have to do is leave a comment. You can mention a favourite project or favourite post from the past year or even a well wish if you'd prefer.

For those who have been along for the ride, you may recognize many of these things from our posts. We have:
  1. A Kwik Klip for pin basting
  2. Magic Bobbin Winders to help perfect your quilting stitches
  3. A Supreme Slider to make your free motion quilting a little easier
  4. Clover Quick Clips (Amanda is totally obsessed)
  5. Liberty!!! in book form
  6. Three Charm packs (enough to make a Smitten quilt, if you're so inclined)
And just to sweeten the pot a little more, we'll throw in a digital copy of Rachel's Smitten pattern and this:

Downton Abbey

You know, just to shove you down the rabbit hole (you can thank us later). We'll close the comments on Friday July 5, 2013 at 11:00 p.m. EST and then randomly pick a winner shortly thereafter.

Thank you for a fantastic first year!

Thursday, 27 June 2013

From K - A City with a Big Heart

If you've been watching the news, you may have heard about severe flash flooding that has swept the southern half of the province of Alberta, and that hit my city hard last week. It came on seemingly without warning, at 3 pm I received an email from my company out of the blue, telling folks to make their way home as 3 communities close to our office building were under mandatory evacuation. In the 2 hours it took me to pack up and head home, that number went from 3 communities to 21. In total roughly 100,000 people were displaced in a two hour time frame.

In the above photo you can see an entire neighborhood underwater (the flooded river runs along the downtown core, nearly 1km from the hilltop that I took this photo from.
This post isn't about the flooding though, it's about the heartbeat that keeps this city going. Since all of downtown was evacuated, I spent most of the past week volunteering my time to help clean up affected communities. The City of Calgary put out a call for 600 volunteers one day and within 20 minutes 4000 of us showed up. I was just 1 of nearly 1/4 of a million people who threw on rain boots that day to help family, friends, and more often than not, complete strangers.

One of the houses that I helped clean up had water nearly 5 feet above ground. The photo below shows a prominent line on the garage and fence where muddy waters rose to.
I'm not sure what anonymous Calgarian wrote this sentiment, but my eyes were wet after reading it:

"Today I discovered the meaning of community. It is the ability to ask for help, and not have one or two people meekly offer, but to have an abundant amount of people to come forward and insist on helping. It is working elbow to elbow with strangers who arrived, not knowing anyone from areas as far as an hour away so they could help people in need (especially Eric from Cranston - that man was a machine). It was Peter's Drive-Thru doing not one, not two, but three food runs. Providing free burgers, fries, onion rings and delicious milkshakes. It was gutting a basement, hearing "do you need some fireman down there" and having a group of CFD join you and moments later having a group of Edmonton firefighters jump in too. It is working in a strangers basement and bumping into people you know. Because that's what Calgary does. It is having the Calgary Police Force come by handing out cold water and granola bars. It was the couple who showed up with cookies and casserole for a group of strangers and hand feeding us the cookies because our hands were in no condition to be near food. It was finishing with one house, and automatically moving to the next one. Let's clean this city up!"  - unnamed Calgarian
The 101st Calgary Stampede (sometimes referred to as the Greatest Outdoor Show on Earth) is slotted to begin a week from today and many Calgarians were quick to unofficially change the 2013 motto to "Come Hell or High Water". T-shirts to support flood victims with this motto are selling for $20 a piece, with proceeds from each t-shirt sale being donated to the Canadian Red Cross Alberta Floods Fund. I picked up a few myself from here.
I could go on for days sharing stories about the kindness of perfect strangers that I've expereienced both first hand and that I have heard from close friends. I could never be more proud than I am right now of the city that I choose to call home. People always talk about how Calgary is a big city with a small town feel, and this past week has surely solidified that thought. While my heart is heavy with the grief of many, it's also boasting with pride, for I know that that our city has an irreplaceable sense of community that will let us get through this together.

I love this city.

Tuesday, 25 June 2013

From A - The Gentle Art of GSD

I managed to finish my very long bike ride. It took almost 11 hours of riding over 2 days to get it done. The bad news was that at the end of day 1, I looked like this:

This didn't bode well for day 2. Although it was a bit of a rough start, the good news was that at the finish line I was able to pull it together enough to look like this:

It was such a fantastic and inspiring weekend. The ride was difficult and we really had to push ourselves to make it across that finish line. The rain held off and we were amazed at the kindness of the other participants and volunteers. We heard so many amazing and touching stories that I spent more than a few of the minutes on my bike in tears over the weekend.

For me, finishing one big goal usually generates enough momentum that I am able to finish another. This means that finishing usually begets more finishing. I have always called this interesting quirk the art of getting sh*#/stuff done or GSD.

In this case, the high of finishing my ride was somehow enough to spur me into heading to the storage locker across town where much of my fabric is being stored until the end of "the move" and digging out my long unfinished Smitten quilt.

I spent an afternoon squaring up the top and making a backing before boxing it up and sending it out to be quilted by a long arm quilter. Here's a little preview before it left.

It's the first quilt that I've sent to be quilted and I am pumped. This bad boy has been dragging towards finished for long enough that I am more than happy to pass the torch. Rarely has a trip to the post office been so satisfying.

Up next: that baby bonnet.

Wednesday, 12 June 2013

From K - Kaleidoscope-ing

One of the first modern quilts that I ever stumbled across was a modern variation of a kaleidoscope quilt. Ever since that day I haven't been able to shake the pattern from my mind. It took a bit of time but I have now successfully cut out 480 fabric pieces, getting one step closer to making my own kaleidoscope.

The pattern template pieces sew together remarkably quick and accurate. I haven't needed to use a single pin surprisingly, and yet my blocks are turning out quite square. I'm crossing my fingers and toes that these blocks will require only minimal trimming, and so far it's looking good!

I love seeing some of my favorite fabric lines come together and merge into one happy little place.

Nearly eight blocks down, only twenty-two more to go.

I'm really enjoying the process of watching my design wall grow with these vibrant colors. I often find that surrounding myself with a beautiful array of fabrics is all I need for motivation to keep on sewing. Hands down this quilt is shaping up to be one of my favorites to date.

Saturday, 8 June 2013

From A - Random Saturday

I was up at 5:00 a.m. this morning to participate in the Ride to Conquer Cancer. It is a more than 200km bike ride over two days. Both my husband and I were able to raise more than $2,500.00 each to participate in this year's ride.

I am a the very definition of "novice cyclist". I didn't even own bike shorts until 2 days ago but we have been training for the past few months and it is finally time to see whether our training has paid off.


That might be the worst photo of me ever taken (keep in mind that it's 5:00 a.m. and I'm not much of a morning person) but here you go!


Sewing wise, I have been slowly picking away at my hand-pieced star sampler quilt. It still doesn't look like much. But I am planning to bring it along on the Ride in order to infuse it with a few of the memories from this amazing challenge. Hopefully I'll have a second finished block to share with you soon!


These are pieces for my lone star block. Basically a miniature version of this quilt.

Hope you have a great weekend and please send a few "no rain" vibes my way if you have a chance...especially since we're sleeping in a tent tonight.

Wednesday, 5 June 2013

From K - Hedgerow Socks

I recently finished up my third pair of socks, a gift for an especially helpful friend. I followed the Hedgerow Sock pattern by Jane Cochran, and when all was said and done, I was truly happy with the end result.

I'm definitely a novice knitter (being that I only started this past February) but it hasn't taken me long to get a feel for what I like and don't like in a pattern. While Jane has clear instructions and the pattern is easy to follow, I think I'm just not a fan of switching so often between knits and pearls. I really really really love these socks, so don't get me wrong, but I just wasn't in love with the process.

I chose a lovely jewel tone skein of Tough Love Sock by SweetGeorgia in the colour Jade. A combination of 80% superwash merino wool and 20% nylon, these socks are sturdy and are sure to last. While I absolutely love these socks and will be very sad to see them leave, I'm looking forward to casting on a new pattern, and trying something a bit different. It definitely seems like I can't get enough knitting in my life these days. So many projects, so little time!<a href="">Follow my blog with Bloglovin</a>

Sunday, 2 June 2013

From A - Teeny Tiny

I have been trying to resist the urge to make super cute girly baby dresses for months now. Somehow the recent arrival of some new babies and the onslaught of adorable baby projects that have been appearing in my news feed was enough to snap my resolve.

Before I knew it, I found myself at the cutting table at Fabricland with some trim and a couple of too cute fabrics in my arms.

Itty Bitty Baby Dress Supplies 

An evening at home at the stack of fabric and trim had turned into this.

Itty Bitty Baby Dress

An Itty Bitty Baby dress by Rae. It's a free pattern that is available on her website. It is beyond cute!!

Itty Bitty Baby Dress

Fabricland didn't have any piping that I liked so I bought some bias binding and some cording and made my own.

Homemade piping

I don't own a serger and I hate raw edges inside garments so I used French seams to piece this little dress together.

Itty Bitty Baby Dess

I also lined the upper section and finished the raw edge by top stiching the waisband from the right side. I know that tacking this down by hand would have done a better job but I was anxious to get it finished.

Itty Bitty Baby Dress

I already have the pieces cut for a matching bonnet. Since, really, what is a cute dress without a cute bonnet to match.