Monday, January 31, 2011

School Bag

This is my school bag. I bought it in Paris a couple of years ago so I could bring back all the goodies I had found there.

I love it. It's so cute with its little Toulouse-Lautrec black cat.
It's roomy and sturdy, and it holds all my "stuff".
It's been carted around everywhere for almost two years.

But lately something bad has started to happen to my school bag.
The lining is disintegrating. I find little specks of black plastic all over everything I put in my bag.
It's also getting to be a bit shabby-looking, with the fabric fraying on the corners.

I decided I needed a new school bag... so I made one!

This is the Mail Sack made with a pattern from Pink Chalk Fabrics.
I used a cheery yellow and white home-dec weight fabric for the outside and a dark grey Kona cotton for the lining. Have I told you how much I love Kona cotton?

The lady at the fabric store suggested a chocolate brown lining - she didn't think grey would look nice with the yellow - but when I got home, I decided the brown was too dull. So, even though I had asked for her opinion (and she was nice enough to give it), I ignored her advice. As usual.

The bag is plenty big. Not as big as my French bag, maybe, but that just means I won't be able to bring home as much marking. haha.

It has one divided inner pocket.

And one lined, zippered inner pocket.

And a lovely long strap that goes across the body (which is how I like to wear my bags).

Forgive the messy hair and clothes. I just got home from kettlebells class and I wanted to show you this right away (because I finished making it right before I went to kettlebells).

But look at my big smile! Je suis très content de mon nouveau sac!

I linked this project for Fabric Tuesday on Quilt Story. Go and take a look!

Friday, January 28, 2011

It's been a while

And I've been busy. Here's what's been going on while I've been absent from the Land of Blog:

* I've been marking government exams. You might recall I did this in June and last January (and numerous times before that). It makes my head hurt, but it's interesting work (sometimes) and they pay me extra to do it. More money = more fabric.

* I dropped my master's course. The professor had us doing "live" online sessions... not a problem if I lived in the same time zone, but these sessions were scheduled for times when I am teaching. There were other issues that I won't get into. I'm relieved, but at the same time I'm unhappy about this. I wanted to be finished the degree by summer and now I can't.

* I've done very little sewing this week. I did manage to quilt one block of my Green and White sampler.

This is called Pipe Maze. I started another block but my bobbin ran out part-way through and I was just too tired to refill it. Really - too tired! I went to bed with a movie on my laptop instead (and, of course, I fell asleep watching it).

* And, finally, I celebrated a birthday. Well, "celebrated" may not be the right word. My birthday is today. I marked. I came home. In a few minutes I'm going to drive the OnlyChild to her writing conference. I might go to the fabric store (that would be celebratory). Then I will come back home. I have to get up early again tomorrow for the final day of exam marking so it won't be a late night for me.

Last year's birthday was traumatic. I couldn't stop thinking of that dreaded number (ending with zero) for the entire year preceding it. This year... I actually forgot it was my birthday. Mr. P and I agreed to not exchange gifts this year too. My mother, on the other hand, sent me a wonderful birthday package. She got a copy of my grandmother's birth certificate and had it framed for me. She also sent me a book and tool for making pinwheel quilts and a beautiful pink scarf. Thanks, Mum! (I will be calling you tonight or tomorrow.)

Happy Weekend!

Monday, January 24, 2011

Beyond Stippling

Since the Green and White is a "sampler" quilt made from twelve different blocks, why not sample some free-motion quilting patterns too?


Small Meander




Flowing Glass

I have been inspired by Leah's blog and all her free-motion quilting tutorials. This is much more fun than stippling the whole quilt.

If I thought this Green and White would be an easy, quick quilting project, I was wrong! The free-motion designs are time consuming, but well worth the effort.

Sunday, January 23, 2011


Sunday morning. It's Mr. P's birthday today.

I'm working up the courage to quilt my Green and White.

I will start with stitch-in-the-ditch and then do some free-motion quilting in the blocks. That's the plan right now - all plans are subject to change without notice.

Barb mentioned this blog on Facebook so I went over to take a look. It's worth the time to browse - really! It's helping with the courage thing - in more ways than one.

Last night I finished the Snowman in the Woods top!

Am I allowed to say that I think mine is nicer than the one in the pattern?

I like my one red mitten.

I am going to pin-baste it at school tomorrow. I have the backing and batting all ready to go!

This morning we had the most beautiful sunrise. I had to share it with you. Such gorgeous colours in the sky.

And, I'm pretty sure all my ATC swap group members have received their card from me this month so I'll show that to you too. The theme was White on White. With all the crazy snow we've been having lately, what better interpretation of the theme than a snowflake? And, of course, I prefer fabric to paper.

I loved making this one. It was such a great theme chosen by Deb.

So...that's my Sunday so far. How is yours going? What are you working on today?

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Fun Friday!

I snuck in some sewing time for the FNSI yesterday afternoon when I got home from work:

All the snowmen got arms!

The pattern calls for brown 1/4" bias tape, but I made up my own using brown fabric and Heat n Bond (I love that stuff).

We went out with another couple for Chinese food, but got home early enough so that I could sneak in another hour of sewing before bed. Sewing helps to burn all the calories from beef and brocolli, lemon chicken, cashew chicken and fried rice. Right?

Not very much got done in that hour because I was also chatting on Skype with Cheryl (a.k.a. She Who Seldom Blogs). Then she ditched me for a movie and bed and I figured she had the right idea, so I took my iPad and my book and hopped in between the covers.

My snowmen and tree blocks are now all sewn into rows which just have to be attached with sashing strips. Then the borders will be added and the top will be done!

No progress on the Green and White quilt yet. Maybe Sunday after I finish my BIG pile of marking...

Thursday, January 20, 2011

The Friday Night Sew-In is Back!

Tomorrow night is FNSI and I couldn't be happier.

It's good to set aside time to do what you love!

Mr. P and I have been invited out for dinner tomorrow night, but I'm still going to do some sewing before and/or after.

I pin-basted the Green and White quilt, so that could be a finish this weekend.

And, even though I said I was going to finish my UFOs before starting something new, I bought this pattern from Pink Chalk Fabrics.

I could make one of these - but it would mean another trip to the fabric store first.

Or, I could continue with Snowman in the Woods. It's coming along slowly but surely.

Lots of choices!

If you plan to join us for Friday Night Sew-In, visit Heidi and link up. There are prizes to be won ;)

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Slow progress

But progress nonetheless.

Snowmen with noses...

And with BIG eyes.

Or with small eyes.
The pattern calls for embroidered eyes;
I'm using buttons instead.
(I have loads of buttons)

The trees have trunks too.
These blocks aren't sewn together - there will be sashing in between them.
That's the next step.

Back to the things I'm supposed to be doing right now (a list which, unfortunately, does not include playing on the computer or sewing)...

Saturday, January 15, 2011


Alternate post title: Third Time Lucky.

The process of paper-piecing, which was giving me so much grief these past few days, finally clicked. Last night I was able to make all seven trees needed for the Snowman in the Woods wallhanging.

And here they are, each one a little different from the others.

I'm so glad I decided to make the smaller size quilt instead of the full-size, 25-block version that required 20 trees. I think I would have gone a little crazy.

Now it's time to move onto the next step and put these blocks together. But, marking first. Always marking first...

p.s. This was my 400th post. And I missed my 2-year blogiversary on January 4. Milestones, I guess.

Friday, January 14, 2011

If at first you don't succeed...

Try again.

And if you don't succeed the second time...

Look at those lopped-off corners. Bad, BAD corners.
I don't much like the colours in this block anyway. Too dull.

Well, you just try a third time, right?

I'll figure out this paper piecing. I will.

It's just frustrating because, really, I don't usually struggle with this kind of stuff.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

The Missing Days

I so wanted to do a little bit of sewing every day, but I should have known that wasn't going to happen, that I would be tripped up by marking and other obligations. Monday and Tuesday escaped me so I was determined to sit down at the machine tonight and put together some paper-pieced tree blocks to go with my little snowmen from Sunday.

Obviously, though, I am not a proficient paper piecer.

I got frustrated.

I cut my scraps too small.

I really should have known better. I started too late tonight.

After Kettlebells class, I took a bath (to ensure I will not be sore tomorrow), and while I was leisurely soaking, I realized with a slight panic that over the past couple of days, sewing wasn't the only thing I had neglected. I had completely forgotten about posting for my new master's course.


That meant I had to devote some time to reading and writing for the course...instead of sewing. It wasn't until 9:30 pm that I even got to play with Bernice.

And that, my friends, is just a bit too late for me.


p.s. If you have any tips for paper piecing, I'd be happy to hear them. I've done very little of it - only when I made my second Union Jack Pillow, and that was a couple of years ago.

Sunday, January 09, 2011

Little Snowmen

I'd go outside and make a real snowman with all that crazy snow we got over the last couple of days, but the temperature has been dropping and dropping. In fact, it's forecast that we will hit -30º Celsius (-22 ºF) by tomorrow. Bbbrrr.

Luckily, I had Plan B - Snowmen in the Woods.

Look at those cute little snowman bodies, just waiting for their noses and eyes. I love the batik snowflake fabric and, even more, I love this Kona white solid. I bought about 7 or 8 different colours of this in a pre-Christmas nobody-else-will-buy-it-for-me binge (and I don't regret a single inch of it).

Of course, these snowmen were sewn after I had finished all my marking for the weekend. I've started going to a little bookstore/coffee shop around the corner. They open at 9:00 am on Sundays. Perfect! I don't have to drive there (or find parking), I get the marking done and out of the way, and I'm home by lunchtime with plenty of time to do other things... like laundry and housework quilting.

Tomorrow after work, I'm hoping I have time to play for a bit and do some paper piecing on the little tree blocks in this quilt. I don't know why I put off making this for two years. I'm enjoying the process very much.

And soon, when the roads are plowed and the marking craziness has slowed down, I will take a trip to the fabric store to pick up some batting and backing fabric so I can finish the Green and White quilt. Until then, however, I've got lots of projects to keep me busy and content ☺

Saturday, January 08, 2011

No batting

I finished the Green and White quilt top this afternoon.

I don't have enough fabric to do the top and bottom rows of sashing, so I will have to make do. I also don't have any batting... or backing, for that matter.

This is what it looked like outside earlier today (and it's still snowing):

Our poor little Christmas tree in the back yard waiting to be taken away to the chipper :(

I'm not going anywhere in that weather (and I'd have to wait until I'm at school to baste anyway) so onto other things.

I have an itch to start something new, but I'm trying to exercise some self-control here. And I really do want to finish some other projects that I've already started. So...

Snowman in the Woods...? (been begging to be made since 2009)

or Authentic...? (not quite as old)

What are you working on?

Friday, January 07, 2011


All 12 blocks in the Green and White Swap quilt are now finished!

I like this arrangement (although I might switch a couple of blocks around).

I'm trying to decide if I want to add sashing and borders, or just have this a smaller lap-sized quilt.

What do you think?

Tuesday, January 04, 2011


I'm not yet buried under an avalanche of semester's-end marking but it's coming. As surely as the snow is coming down outside (and it's coming down!). My grade 12 students are going to figure out sometime in the next couple of days that their deadline for all coursework is Monday. And then the panic will begin. And then the frenzied marking will ensue.

However, since that hasn't yet happened, I decided to play around a little after work today.

I started Sandi's Season's of the Heart calendar quilt two years ago. I got 10 1/2 blocks finished... then I stalled. Tonight I made December's block, using a different pattern than she offered. (This one is from Wee Folk Art.)

I just have to do the stitching on November's block now. But I can't find it. It disappeared, probably around the time I cleaned my sewing room. I panicked for about 5 minutes, then I realized that it will show up someday...and that I have plenty of other things to keep me busy until then.

Like my Green and White Swap blocks. Another project started a long time ago. Last year in January, Pat organized this swap. Twelve participants chose block patterns from this site and cut fabrics for their chosen block x 12. We sent our baggies to Pat and she mailed everyone out the fixings for a quilt.

I got 6 blocks done right away (well, right away is a relative term). Now I have 8 out of the 12 done.

Hey, I could get all my unfinished projects done in 2011. I could...right?

I hope you did some playing today too!

Monday, January 03, 2011

First Finish of the Year!

All day at work, I just wanted to rush home and finish the Dragonfly wallhanging I started last night.

But I had to wait until after supper to get back to the sewing machine.

All I had left to do was to put on the binding, because I stayed up a little later last night to get the quilting done. I wasn't going to be able to sleep until I did.

It might just make it to my sister-in-law for her birthday on January 21.

p.s. My first finish of 2010 happened on January 19, so I'm ahead of the game ☺

Sunday, January 02, 2011

Hi Ho, Hi Ho

It's back to work I go.


It has been such a GREAT Christmas break. Last year I returned to work feeling bitter and twisted because all I did was mark thoughout the vacation. This year, I visited with friends, finished a couple of gifts before the holiday, made mittens, finished my Checkerboard quilt, went to yoga classes, cooked a bit, and hosted a New Year's party.

And today, I made this:

This is the Dragonfly wallhanging for my sister-in-law. Her birthday is January 21, so I'm kind of hoping to get it done in time to mail it to her within the next two weeks. It's not my first "finish" of 2011 since I haven't quilted it yet, but I'm so excited that I actually got to do something I love on my last day of Christmas vacation.

Of course, that was after I took down all the snowmen, Christmas decorations and the tree this morning (I was supposed to do it yesterday, but a nap seemed like a better idea). The house is now back to normal and we'll all get back into a routine and, hopefully, I'll stop eating everything in sight ;)

I'm off to check out my closet and if I have any decent work clothes that still fit me. Goodbye days spent in pajamas...

Saturday, January 01, 2011

1-1-11 (How cool is that?)

Last night we had a party. Just a little party - a few friends, Mr. P, the OnlyChild (once she got off work), and me.

It was a blast - good people, good drink, great food!

And I didn't take one single picture. Not one.

Not even a photo of the devilled eggs, mini quiche, bacon-wrapped scallops, crab spread, peanut brittle, fruitcake, Battenburg cake, meat pies, cheese and sausage platter.

No snaps of people laughing at silly jokes or stuffing their faces.

There isn't a picture of Mr. P playing bartender.

I can't believe I didn't have my camera out for the champagne toast at countdown.

Sigh. Oh well. Take my word for it - it was a wonderful night!

Hope yours was too. Here's to a fantastic 2011! Cheers!