Thursday, April 29, 2010

What happened this week?

I haven't been around for a few days. So, what's been happening? you ask.

Well... it's been raining,

Picture from the Edmonton Journal.

which is good, because we needed rain. It will probably continue for the next few days.

I went to Home Depot on Monday and picked up a piece of dowel, but it took me until this afternoon to actually hang A Tisket a Tasket. I can't find the little bag of buttons and other embellishments I was collecting for it, so I had to hang it up without them. I'll add them when I find them, I guess.

I'm not ecstatic about the quilting job on this one. There's a reason I don't like straight-line quilting. I think it's because my lines are never straight.

But it fills the space nicely and matches my yo-yo tree. Ha! There was a method to my madness when I made that little accessory.

I started a yoga class (no pictures of me there because I can't bend and stretch and take a photo of myself).

Yoga is hard. Am I the only one who finds it really really difficult? It feels good, though. Especially at the end when we lie quietly, listening to soothing music, and the teacher covers us with blankets and puts lavender eye pillows on our eyes. Ahhhh...

I got a pedicure...

I received three spa gift certificates for my birthday so it's about time I used one of them.

And I met a "celebrity"...

...Member of Parliament and Opposition Critic for Youth and Multiculturalism Justin Trudeau. He's also the eldest son of the late former prime minister Pierre Trudeau. He came to speak at my school yesterday afternoon.

Yes, he's as charming as he is good looking. Plus he's wealthy, educated, intelligent, articulate... sigh... and married with two children. He had the girls (and women on staff) in a tizzy. It was fun.

And tonight, I'm off to dance class.

Monday, April 26, 2010

Go ahead and laugh

I wanted to title this post "La Bonne Fleur" or something else pretty, and have it look all ladylike and sweet (and in the process give you a totally false impression of who I am...), but when you see the photo below, you will laugh.

And that's okay.

This is my Bonne Fleur dress. Nice, right? I like it.

What I'm not quite so fond of is the fact that my bra is showing in this picture... and in all the other dress photos taken by the OnlyChild yesterday.

I can't believe she didn't notice that when she was snapping pictures.

Oh well, in addition to the bra showing, my smile is "smooshy" and goofy, I have no make-up on (hey, it was Sunday afternoon), my hair had just been pulled out of a ponytail for the photo, and my legs needed to be shaved and probably my armpits too (but you can't see them so...).

I just really wanted you to see the dress.

And now you have.

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Small finishes

Last weekend, Mr. P and I went to Home Depot. He bought two new garbage cans (because someone actually stole ours from the back alley - can you imagine?) and I needed a length of dowel for the Black and White in Paris wallhanging I made for my friend Sandi. At the dowel display, Mr. P said to me, "Do you need more than one?" and I replied, "Why would I need more than one?" I took one piece and we went to the checkout to pay.


Do I need more than one piece of dowel? OF COURSE I needed more than one piece. I had totally forgotten about A Tisket a Tasket which... Ta Da!... I finished last night.

Can't hang it up yet though. No dowel. I guess another trip to Home Depot is in order before I can hang it up and take some photos.

I do, however, have a couple of smaller finishes to show you. I was in a creative mood this weekend, but didn't want to make a commitment to anything big (and time-consuming). Plus, before I start something new, I really must get the Checkerboard quilt basted, quilted and bound.

So, this is what I did to satisfy my creative urges and my desire to finish something:

I made a little zipper bag - not quite big enough to be a make-up bag, but a bit too big for a change purse. It is the perfect size for keeping some lip gloss and powder, or maybe jewellery when travelling. I used Sharon's A Tutorial like no other (she had 13 exclamation marks after the title), which I find easy to follow and easy to adapt to any size.


This afternoon, after my marking was done, I put together a notebook cover for the OnlyChild using a fat quarter of fabric we bought last year and didn't know what we would make with it. I love this fabric; I wish I'd bought a couple of metres of it because it would have made a cute skirt.

There are lots of good tutorials on making notebook covers, like this one or this one. I didn't actually follow any instructions, though. I just winged it and it turned out quite well. The only thing I would do differently, I think, is to make the cover a bit bigger, quilt it, and then cut it down to the correct size - rather than cutting it to the finished size right from the start.

I think I'll go and iron my Bonne Fleur dress and get the OnlyChild to take some photos of me so I can post them tomorrow. You'll have to wait a day or two for A Tisket a Tasket, though. I need to get a piece of dowel... Sigh.

Friday, April 23, 2010


Sometime last night (or perhaps today), this happened:

The wind was blowing quite hard. It knocked over the umbrella, which came smashing down on the table. The only reason the umbrella was open in the first place was because it was broken and wouldn't wind down so we could shut it. So, now we have a broken umbrella and a broken table.

Wow - hasn't it been a fun week?

After work today, I cleaned the laundry room where Rex lives. It was disgusting, and the smell is still not completely gone. It doesn't matter anyway; in a couple of days it will be just as bad again.

Oh Rex... I don't know how much more of this I can take.

The "T" key on my laptop isn't working properly. I have to press it very hard to get it to work. I don't know what's wrong with it. Have you ever noticed how many times you use the letter T? Lots! Maybe I could jus ype wihou using he leer . Would you undersand wha I was rying o say?

Ha! I didn't think so.

I finished quilting A Tisket a Tasket last night. Now just the binding to do and a few more ends to sew in. I know... it's about time! As soon as I finish those last bits, I'll show pics. And, I will get the OnlyChild to take some photos of me in my Bonne Fleur dress this weekend too.

Finishes are GOOD!

Happy Friday!

(p.s. I didn't end up going to Banff with Mr. P after all. But that's okay, really, because he sent me a text this morning saying they got 6" of snow last night. Ugh.)

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Home Alone with Stinkaroo

Mr. P has gone on a business trip.

The OnlyChild went to a grad retreat.

I'm home alone.

Well, not quite alone. I have the company of AbbyDog:

and DerbyDog:

and RexCat, who should henceforth be renamed Stinkaroo.

My whole house smells like cat pee, thanks to Stinkaroo. He has totally lost control of his faculties (and, ahem, some other parts too). He wanders around meowling at high pitch and volume, dropping his little lumps, piles and rivers of stinkiness all over the laundry room. Yes, the laundry room is now his kingdom. We can't have him loose in the house when we're not home during the day.

We try to stay on top of cleaning up after him, but I think we're losing the battle. The. Whole. House stinks. It's all I could smell when I walked in the door after work today. I lit my Lampe Berger, which is supposed to clean the air, as well as my oil burner from the Body Shop. Maybe the stench is in my nostrils now, but I can still smell cat piss.

I spoke to the vet about him a month or so ago. She says this is very common in older cats (he's almost 19) and it's up to us whether we want to endure it any longer. However, she also asked me a slew of questions about his health and happiness and concluded that his quality of life is probably still quite high - he's eating, drinking, still affectionate, etc.

So... we decided that maybe now is not the right time to say goodbye to our old kitty; maybe it's not his "time" yet.

But maybe I've had enough of poo and pee and the god-awful, nausea-inducing, gut-wrenching, nostril-searing stench. Maybe.

I don't know what to do. Sigh.


On another, not quite so ear-splitting, note, I finished my Bonne Fleur dress last night. I hand-stitched the hem while (sort of) watching a very disappointing episode of Law and Order with Mr. P. See, I'm trying to combine my love of sewing with his love of the television, so we can do things together.

I'd show you a picture of the dress but, as I was saying to Jen, the results of my attempts to photograph myself it in were hilarious. I got one picture in which both the dress and I were obliterated by the flash in the mirror (duh), another couple of the door frame when I tried to use the self-timer, and another of mainly my feet when I attempted to take the photo from the top down. I'll get the OnlyChild to take some pictures when she gets home from her retreat. I will not, however, get her to take them on her camera. I might never get them. Remember the birthday party photos? Of course you don't - you've never seen them and neither have I, because they're still on her computer. Boo-ha!

Well, the wind is whistling, my tummy is burning (dyspepsia? I've had it for a couple of days now), and I might have a mess to clean up in the basement... if I dare to look. I could live without going down there...

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

For Today...

Outside my window... The leaves are finally blooming on the trees. It's the first sign of green this spring!

I am thinking... I really enjoyed the yoga class I went to last night.

I am thankful for... a strong body and no health problems.

I am wearing... Lululemon pants and a New York t-shirt stolen from the OnlyChild. I just got home from the gym.

I am remembering... planting my garden last year and riding my bike to water every night.

I am going... to Banff with Mr. P this weekend. Maybe.

From the kitchen... nothing. Someone will have to make the first move and get supper started. I hope that someone doesn't have to be me.

I am creating... a dress to wear to commencement. Only the zipper and hem left to do.

I am wondering... why I am always so reluctant to do something different, to step out of the routine.

I am noticing... that DerbyDog whines a lot and it's annoying.

Pondering these words... "The creative is the place where no one else has ever been. You have to leave the city of your comfort and go into the wilderness of your intuition. What you'll discover will be wonderful. What you'll discover is yourself." - Alan Alda (who, coincidentally, shares my birthday)

Around the house... I put away all my Winter clothes today and brought out the Spring and Summer wear. I hope it doesn't snow.

One of my favorite songs... "Parting Gift" by Fiona Apple

From my picture journal...

My front porch, where I spent a lot of time in the Summer. It's time to clean it up and get it ready for lazy Sunday afternoons spent reading.
(This picture was taken last year in May)

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Saturday, April 17, 2010

On Friday night

I cut out my new dress.

But no sewing yet because I need thread to match. All my red thread is too bright for this "Faded Red Bonne Fleur" fabric. I'll have to go shopping for thread and a zipper today so I can get started.

Instead, I did something else RED.


Today is up for grabs... no plans yet... the sun is shining... the birds are singing.

So why am I still in my pajamas?

Friday, April 16, 2010

Where all the cool chicks will be tonight

In their sewing rooms of course...

for the Friday Night Sew-in.

Should I work on
  • A Tisket a Tasket? I have only the outer borders to quilt then the binding to sew on.
  • Fix Mr. P's jacket that has ripped under the arms? That doesn't sound very exciting.
  • Start my new dress? Hmmm... maybe.
  • Or do something entirely new? Naughty naughty.
I know what I should do first... go to the gym. Or at least take one of the dogs for a walk. It's a beautiful evening and the weekend promises to be sunny and warm.

I already cleaned (well, the downstairs anyway... cleaning the upstairs involves lugging the vacuum cleaner, scrubbing the bathroom, and changing bedsheets... it can wait).

Ahhh... Friday afternoon... the possibilities are endless...

What are YOU doing this weekend?

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

My next project

So... yesterday I realized that in a month, the OnlyChild will be graduating from high school. We (she attends school where I teach) hold the commencement and banquet in May so students can get it all over with before having to write provincial exams in June.

One Month! Yikes!

Good news and bad news on that front. The good news? I will not be required to make her a grad dress after all. Phew. At one point, it looked like I would be spending the month of April sweating over some princess gown, but she found a lovely dress for a not-too-bad price so I'm off the hook. The bad news? Well, now I have a month to lose that last 10 lbs that's been clinging to me (primarily around my belly) so that I can fit into my dress for the Friday night banquet. Sigh.

For Thursday night's commencement, I have decided to make a dress.

This is the pattern - the middle one on the right. I've had it forever - well, at least since I taught sewing in junior high, so about 4 or 5 years. It's probably desperately out of style by now, but that's never bothered me. We'll call it "retro chic".

This is the fabric - Rouenneries Faded Red Bonne Fleur by French General. I didn't buy it to make a dress, but I like it so much AND I have enough. I figure with a bit of dark brown ribbon trim, it will do perfectly.

Last year, I made my skirt for commencement, too. Remember the Très Chic Skirt with the net underskirt? Come to think of it, I made the dress I wore to Friday night's festivities too. Haute couture, indeed.

Anyway, once I mentioned to the OnlyChild that I would be making a dress for me, she decided she needs a dress for Thursday night, too. I don't know why - it will be covered by the gaudy blue nylon grad gown she has to wear, with the stylish square cap to match.

How long can I hold her off, I wonder...

And, Oh My Goodness! My child is graduating from high school. Gulp!

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Wanna see?

Hooray! I finished the Black and White in Paris quilt! Wanna see? Of course you do!

I love it! It's going to be very hard to give this one away. It's hanging in my entry way right now, where my Open Hearts quilt usually hangs, and it looks good there. So very good.

But, no. I made it for my friend, Sandi, who is my travelling partner this summer.

Can you see what it is? It's a stamp! €0.85 is the cost of sending a letter from France to Canada; 07 24 10 is the date we arrive in Paris; and of course there is the Eiffel Tower, the quintessential symbol of France!

I put the yellow baby ric-rac around two sides of the 'stamp' because that's all that was included in the package sent to me by Pat Sloan. I searched this city high and low for larger, off-white ric-rac, but it was nowhere to be found - not at the local fabric shop, not at Michael's, not even at Sprawl-Mart. My LQS doesn't sell trims at all. So, I had to make do.

And I used the circle cutter I bought on the weekend to make the yoyos. It's a fun little gadget and I have more plans for it in the near future. So, thumbs up on the circle cutter - a good purchase!

I'm so happy to have another finish for 2010. They've been small ones so far. Now... let's get that Tisket a Tasket finished. Finally.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

A tale of two quilt magazines

Way back in November, my school had a magazine fundraiser so I ordered subscriptions to two quilting magazines: Quiltmaker and BHG's American Patchwork and Quilting. My first issues of each arrived this week (took long enough!).

Quiltmaker was always the magazine of choice among my quilting friends when I lived up north and actually had a circle of quilting friends with whom I met regularly (now I quilt in isolation, but that is another story entirely).

We loved the variety of patterns, and the fact that they were rated very accurately for skill. I haven't bought a copy of this magazine for a few years and I have to say that I was quite disappointed in this issue. The patterns seem a bit 'silly' to me, and there is only one that I would even consider doing. I do, however, like the Inspirations section where new products are reviewed.

I've always like American Patchwork and Quilting and I wasn't let down with this month's issue. It contained some new twists on traditional patterns, which is more to my taste than appliqued teddy bears and such.

There is an article in this issue about Minick & Simpson (you can see it listed on the cover) and I swear I read almost the exact same story in another magazine a few years ago (and I could probably find it in my magazine library if I cared to look). I don't appreciate that kind of repetition, since there are so many new designers in quiltland who could be featured.

APQ had an advertisement for one of these:

Have you tried this rotary circle cutter? I went out and bought one because it looked so cool. I got it at Michael's with my 40% off coupon this week and when all was said and done, it cost $22. I usually don't jump at new trends and I definitely don't buy a lot of things I don't 'need' (I have a husband to spend our money that way haha), but this seemed like a fun little tool and I have a project in mind for it already. Uh oh... another project. I haven't used my new toy yet, but I'll review it when I do.

I haven't got much work done on my Paris quilt yet this weekend - my time has been taken up with other things not necessarily of my choosing, but that's the way things go, isn't it? I'll have to get moving on it, because it needs to be finished by April 15th if I want to enter Pat Sloan's Black and White in Paris contest. I've been calling it "Springtime in Paris" but that's not correct. Duh.

Anyway, I hear the vacuum cleaner downstairs so I have to go and start feeling guilty because Mr. P is doing the housework instead of me... or I could just ignore it, turn on my music, and get on with sewing...

Enjoy your Sunday!

Friday, April 09, 2010

Friday fill-ins

Sara regularly posts these Friday fill-ins on her blog. I always enjoy reading hers and today I was inspired to write my own. If you want to play along, click here.
  1. In 1992 I was a very new wife and I was awaiting the birth of my daughter.
  2. Every day should include some laughter and smiles.
  3. Do what you can do with what you have been given where you are at the moment.
  4. Paris is where I'd like to be - always. But I'd be happy to be back home on the east coast, too.
  5. The trees and flowers are telling me that they'd really appreciate the opportunity to bloom. Helloooo Spring - you can come out now!
  6. It's this darn Canadian winter that just keeps going on.
  7. And as for the weekend, tonight I'm looking forward to relaxing (I already had a little nap) and maybe doing some sewing, tomorrow my plans include having coffee with a friend, doing some work and helping the OnlyChild with a school assignment, and Sunday I want to finish the Paris in Springtime quilt for my friend Sandi. The deadline is Wednesday or Thursday (I'll have to check that).
I'm so glad it's Friday - and a weekend ahead without too much marking. Hurray! The weather stinks, with temperatures barely above freezing forecast for the next week, so there will be lots of indoor time and, hopefully, Bernice and I will have some quality time together. She's feeling a bit neglected and I'm feeling a bit creatively stilted.

And I really should get moving on the Tisket a Tasket quilt. I only have the borders left to quilt, but I'm almost out of the red thread I'm using so I'll have to make a trip to the fabric store soon.

No worries... my power snooze after work today has rejuvenated me and I'm ready to get things done! I hope to have progress to report by the end of the weekend.

What are YOU working on?

Thursday, April 08, 2010

Oh seriously...

Spring? What Spring?

We're in the middle of a blizzard here. The temperature is 0 degrees celsius (32 F), the wind is blowing, and the world is once again white.

Maybe we'll have a 'snow day' tomorrow. haha. Never.

On the upside, we do need the moisture, since Alberta is already recording drought conditions.

Plus, since it's April, we know it won't stick around long.

But seriously... Snow? Now?

Monday, April 05, 2010

Back to reality...

but first a recap of the grand visit with my bestest friend, Cheryl.

In addition to our shopping and movie-watching, we spent a lot of time (a lot!) hanging around in the dining room drinking tea or coffee or whatever and catching up.

And colouring (yes, really - it's very therapeutic, don't you know).

We had some cuddle time with Cheryl's new granddaughter, who was born just two days before she came out to visit. Cheryl is a very young grammy! (I had to make that clear, because she is the same age as me and I'm quite sure there are no grandchildren in my immediate future... right, OnlyChild?)

One more photo... we couldn't get enough of this cuteness.

Hmmm... what else? We lay in the sun when we could.

I did some cooking (yes, it does happen sometimes):

I snuck in some fabric time and started on the Springtime in Paris quilt for my friend Sandi.

And I made a new candle cosy to match the Spring Spell quilt and table runner. I thought it was about time to put away the Christmas bird.

And we enjoyed a yummy Easter dinner cooked by Mr. P. It's wonderful to have a husband who doesn't mind cooking (or has at least resigned himself to the fact that he'd starve if he didn't do it).

We participated in no risky activities, nor did we have grand adventures. If you're familiar with Cheryl's blog and have read some of her earlier posts, you'll know that she hasn't been well. It was fantastic that she was able to travel all this way (4500 km or about 2800 miles) to see me! I didn't want to wear her out... however, with all the late nights and all-nighters we pulled, it might be me who's worn out and tomorrow I have to go back to work and back to reality.

So today, guess what I'm doing?

If you said "marking", you would be correct. Gold star for you!

Friday, April 02, 2010

An Unbelievable Mess

(Inspired by my inability to find something I was looking for this morning.)

Welcome to my 'sewing room'. It is such an unbelievable mess that I should be embarrassed to post these photos.

Look at all that stuff.

Fabric everywhere - in the dresser, on the ironing board, in baskets, in rubbermaid containers, on the floor... you get the picture.

And my computer, scrapbooking supplies, knitting supplies, sewing machine, serger, half-finished projects, other craft stuff.

I just can't stand it any longer.

I think some Spring Cleaning is in order, don't you?

The rest of my house (with the exception of the OnlyChild's basement abode) is clean and tidy. Some days things get a bit messy, but it's never allowed to get out of control.

But this sewing room... yikes!

My plan? I will remove everything from this room then put back neatly only what will fit. I will give away or throw away anything that is old, dirty, useless, or ugly.

When will I do this? Uh... I don't know. But I'll keep you posted.

(And I did eventually find what I was looking for. Messy yet organized. Ha!)