Monday, October 31, 2011

Happy Hallowe'en and Hello November

Happy Hallowe'en! I hope you all had a fun day/night. Working in a school on Hallowe'en has its ups and downs. The ups: the students' costumes. Some students put a lot of effort and creativity into their costumes (of course others simply buy the skimpiest little thing in the cheap costume shop). The downs: candy being eaten everywhere, all day. Ugh. And the lack of Hallowe'en spirit displayed by my colleagues.

I was the only one in my department who dressed up today. Boy, did I feel a bit silly sitting in my office in my pirate costume while everyone else wore regular clothes.

I didn't take any pictures this year, but I do have one from three years ago when I made this costume. (I recycled this year.)

Here I am with the OnlyChild. She was in grade 11 that year.

I haven't had much time for sewing lately, but I have managed to do a bit of knitting in my down time. It's a more portable project so I can get a few stitches in here and there. I made one cowl (the grey underneath) and I'm working on another in green. These will either be gifts or will be for the OnlyChild to sell at a fundraiser in late November.

It's probably silly of me to be doing anything extra right now - sewing, knitting, whatever - because I'm up to my ears in marking, planning, writing as well as my course work. But, you know, just in case I get bored, I decided to add another project to my list:

Yep, I joined NaNoWriMo - National Novel Writing Month. It starts tomorrow and I'm supposed to write 1666 words per day to meet my goal of writing a 50,000 word novel by the end of November. Ha!

I did this challenge in 2003 and that novel is still languishing on my laptop, unfinished, unpublished. Maybe I'll go further with this one.


If you don't see me around for a while, I'm probably buried under a pile of paper or sitting glassy-eyed in front of the computer. Don't worry - I'll be back.

Friday, October 28, 2011

Bloggers' Quilt Festival, Fall Edition

Hello! I had almost forgotten about the Bloggers' Quilt Festival going on until November 4. Amy hosts one of these events twice a year and I love to see everyone's submissions. So much inspiration!

As my submission, I've chosen the O'Cherries quilt I made earlier this year. The pattern came from Moda Bake Shop, but I made a few adjustments. I started off with a honey bun of beautiful Oh Cherry Oh fabric:

And turned those strips into Irish Chain squares:

Which then became a quilt top:

Then the hard pick a quilting pattern. I chose feather wreaths for the white block centres:

Along with some straight-line quilting on the diagonal and feather garlands for the borders:

It wasn't nearly as difficult as I expected and soon I had a finished quilt:

I try to use up my scraps in the backs of my quilts. I love a good scrappy, pieced backing!

I made O'Cherries to match the Postage Stamp quilt that was made with an Oh Cherry Oh jelly roll. I also made a pillow with the scraps from that quilt. They all decorate my cute little guest room under the eaves.

Thanks for visiting! 
I hope you go over to Amy's Creative Side to see some more quilts in the Bloggers' Quilt Festival.

Saturday, October 22, 2011

In the mountains

I went to a conference this weekend (Thursday, Friday and home today) with pretty much my whole staff. The conference was kind of a bust, but we got to stay in Canmore, a beautiful little town in the Rocky Mountains. I love it there!

On Thursday afternoon/evening, I went shopping and out to dinner with my colleague Ray. He was looking for a gift for his wife who was joining him on Friday and I was, well, just looking. I saw the sign pictured above and thought, "Hey, this would be cool on a quilt or sampler." So, I took a photo.
Then, I found the jacket below.

I kept taking it off the rack and stroking the orange sleeves and then putting it back. I think I did that for about half an hour and didn't even try it on. "No, no," I kept telling myself, "you shouldn't."

All Thursday night, I thought about it and talked about it. My "roommates" Rose and Erminia made me describe it in exquisite detail. Friday, after our sessions, we went back downtown and I bought it. I'm in love!

The girls and I had such fun strolling around town. We took our pictures with the mountains as a backdrop. We shared a crepe (right before dinner, too!). We looked in every single store, I'm sure. They have such nice shops there - little boutiques that are so different from the chain stores in the city. My favourite has to be the shoe store called Gingerella. Just look at these fantastic boots:

The girl in the shop called them the Smartie Boots. Oh wait, you don't have Smarties in the U.S., do you? (They're like M&Ms but they come in more colours and don't taste as good.)

On the way home, we stopped for pictures at the Big Head.

He's great, isn't he? I told him some secrets...

I arrived home this evening very tired. Thank goodness there's still another weekend day before I have to go back to work!
I didn't bring home much marking...maybe there will be time for sewing tomorrow...

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Quoth the raven, "Nevermore."

I made this mini raven quilt to send to the OnlyChild as a little Halloween surprise. It was quick and easy and she can hang it on the wall or use it as a mug rug.

I'll give you some quick instructions to make one, although you could probably figure it out for yourselves fairly easily.

I started by looking online for a suitable image. I googled "crow silhouette" and found plenty. I had to pick one that didn't have too many skinny pieces (such as bird legs) because I wanted to appliqué the design, but I wasn't up for embroidery.

I chose this image from here. What I really liked about this picture was the opportunity to add some colour to the little quilt with the moon.

Ignore the watermark (it won't make a difference) and save the picture to your files. There are tons of great images available for Halloween - cats, witches and witches' hats, bats, ghosts...

Insert your chosen picture into a Word document so you can play with the size. I re-sized my image to 6"x6" and then printed it in black and white on plain paper.

Using my handy "light box", I traced the image to Heat n' Bond light.

Yes, my "light box" is my sewing room window. It works. I actually had the image taped to the window backwards so that I could have the bird facing right in my final product. But it doesn't matter - that was just a personal preference.

I didn't take any photos of the actual process, but I fused the Heat n' Bond to my black fabric, cut out the "moon" of my image and around the edges, and then fused the black fabric to a slightly larger piece of orange fabric.

Then I made a little quilt sandwich with the top, a piece of batting and another piece of black fabric. I spray basted these layers together with some 505 spray.

The next step was to sew around the raven, tree branch and moon with a straight stitch, right through all the layers, so I appliquéd and quilted in one step.

I trimmed my piece to 6"x6" and then, with a wide zig-zag, stitched around the outer edges. I could have put a binding on this little quilt, I suppose, but I liked the more primitive finish.


I think a few of these together would make a cute wall-hanging or table runner. Here are a few more images I might try (all images are clipart):

What fun! 

Monday, October 17, 2011

The two-times dress

Hallelujah! Tonight I finished the OnlyChild's dress.

This is Vogue 8615 and the pattern envelope says it's "very easy". It actually was a very easy pattern, but I call it the 2x dress because it's completely lined so everything had to be done twice. Except for the zipper. Once is enough for that job.

I felt like doing a little dance when I pulled out that last pin after hand-sewing the bodice lining to the skirt.

Here are a couple of awful photos of it. Keep in mind, it's late, it's dark and the fabric is navy blue. Not exactly the best situation for good pictures - sorry.

The OnlyChild isn't here to try it on, so I'm debating whether I should mail it to her or wait until she comes home in a couple of weeks. Hmmm...

And, in case you were wondering how Thanksgiving went, it was fabulous! Great company, great food, total turkey overindulgence.

Mr. P does such a nice job with the dinner. The pumpkin cheesecake was a hit, as was the apple pie.  Here are a couple of snaps of our table:

Sunflower centrepiece (the last of the sunflowers this year).

Five of us around our tiny table. It was cosy.

I made soup the next day with the turkey carcass:

I know it doesn't look good, but it was really yummy! I plan to post the recipe sometime soon.

Things are humming along here. Busy as usual. I think I'm second-guessing my plan to make a queen-sized bow-tie quilt. I have 108 out of 200-and-something blocks needed. It's not making the rest of the blocks that deters me; rather, I looked around my bedroom and decided it needs something brighter and cheerier than red and grey. I'm going to finish the bow-ties but maybe in a smaller version. And I'm seriously considering making a Swoon quilt for the bedroom. I've loved that pattern since the first time I saw it.

Of course, I'll have to finish up a few other things before I even start that project. Of course...

Saturday, October 08, 2011

Getting ready

for Thanksgiving tomorrow.

The OnlyChild is home for the weekend. Hurray!

She bought me a university sweatshirt

Mr. P took her out to buy a new ukelele (hers broke during the move). Why can't this kid take a picture that's not goofy?

We baked apple pie for tomorrow's dessert. My apple pie is famous (well, within my little family).

With the leftover pastry and apples, I made little tarts. Those are for today. Numnumnum. They're pretty much all gone by now.

I also made pumpkin cheesecake from Anna's recipe.  It's been a long time since I baked a cheesecake. I remembered it being much harder to make. I had enough filling to make a mini version so I think we'll have to do some QC on the little one. You know, just to make sure it's good enough for Thanksgiving dinner. My friend Kim and her boyfriend are joining us.

AbbyDog and DerbyDog helped us with all the work. Sort of.

Once they realized nothing good was going to magically drop to the floor for them to gobble up, they got out from under our feet and took a nap instead.

A nap...what a great idea!

Happy Thanksgiving to my Canadian friends!

Wednesday, October 05, 2011

I am so


I wish I had something to show you. I made soup...but didn't take a picture. I made carrot cupcakes with cream cheese frosting (for my students)...but didn't take a picture.

And that's ALL I've made lately.

I wrote the paper for my master's course.
I cut out the OnlyChild's dress (no sewing done on it yet).
I painted my dining room ("Cornerstone" by Behr).
I have marked and marked and marked (of course I have).
I took some of my students to a conference on Monday (that was fun).
I bought my mother's birthday present (but haven't mailed it yet. Sorry Mum; it's going to be late.)

And I keep finding more projects that I want to do. Look at this:

 Photo from Sew Mama Sew

Plus, check out Anita's newest project here.

And how about these cute little pumpkins.

In addition, there are still the projects already on my to-do list: the dress, the Ghastlies quilt (yeah, probably not going to be done for Halloween this year), and the bow tie quilt I started back in the summer (but I knew that was going to be a long-term project).

And Christmas is coming. My friend Kim mentioned that she's going to make pillowcases for all her grade 6 students for Christmas and I thought, "What a brilliant idea! My students would love a pillowcase!" I must be crazy!

No pressure.