Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Difficult week

Yes, I know it's only Tuesday, but it's been a difficult week so far.

Sunday night, I had an awful sleep. I tossed and turned, sweated and froze, felt sick to my stomach. Yesterday morning, I woke up still feeling sick and with a pounding headache. Given the choice between calling a sub and making lesson plans for the day or sucking it up and going to work, I opted for the latter. Usually if I'm not feeling well, once I get busy with students and classes, I don't even think about it.

But...when I got to school yesterday, it just got worse. I received some very, very bad news.

When I started working at my school, six years ago, I had a fresh batch of grade ten students in my advisee group. One of them was a sweet girl from Belarus. She stayed with me until the middle of grade 12 when she switched to a school that was closer to where she lived. She had been having some difficulties at home and had moved into a group home earlier in the school year and was finding the commute too long. We stayed in touch after she left the school; she would drop in and visit every once in a while and once brought me some gifts after a trip back to Europe. It had been a year or so, though, since I last saw her.

Over the weekend, she committed suicide. She was 20 years old. As you can imagine, I am just beside myself. I don't even know how to feel - sad, of course, but also angry and dismayed. Her mother had recently started working at our school, taking on a maternity leave position, so the shock has hit more than her former teachers; it has also affected our entire school community. Kat's funeral is scheduled for Thursday morning. If you're the praying type (and I'm really not myself), please say a prayer for her and her family.

I'll be back in a few days.

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Paris Jacket

I finished my Paris Jacket last night and...

Well, I don't know...

What I like:
  • the pattern was easy to follow
  • the details are lovely - the button tabs and the buttons I bought at the flea market in Paris
  • I did a good job of the sewing - seams are even, hems lie flat, etc. etc.

What I don't like:
  • I wanted yellow but couldn't find anything in the right shade or weight so settled for beige, which is one of my least-favourite colours. What was I thinking? I had a Groupon for a really nice fabric shop that was about to expire
  • the fabric I chose (corduroy) is too bulky and, therefore, I look and feel bulky wearing it. I bought the fabric back in November and remembered it as being a much finer-wale cord; maybe, like me, it gained a few pounds over December and January...
  • it looks very short on me (and I'm only 5'3")

I certainly don't look like this svelte model in it:

I'm home alone so there was nobody around to take decent photos of me wearing the jacket. I tried the self-timer with the camera on a stack of books. I even tried hanging it from the chandelier. The pictures are all goofy.

But here's one... (ignore the crazy look - focus on the Eiffel Tower, I mean the jacket)

In other news, Winter finally made an appearance in my part of the world. We've had a little snow here and there since November but nothing like the dump we got last night and today.

The sky is white - more snow to come?

Poor Bettie, first she gets all dirty from the thaw and now she's covered in white stuff.

 The little piggy that guards our house also got snowed under.

I went to my dance class today then headed straight home. No use staying out in this awful weather when I could be home sewing. But I've been home for nearly 3 hours and have done nothing.

Swoon? More Dresden plates?

Sunday, February 19, 2012


Katy has decided to host a contest for the ugliest Swoon block. The entries will be posted over on the Swoon Quilt Along Flickr group.

This morning, I whipped up this specimen to enter in the contest.

I bought the "royal" fabric from Ebay a few years ago and made a cute little bag for my Mum by carefully cutting to display the faces of our favourite kings and queens. I later saw the same fabric for sale at Walmart, which kind of ruined it for me. Since then, the remaining yardage (and there was quite a bit) has sat in a drawer in my sewing room.

The OnlyChild thought the block wouldn't be ugly at all. She hasn't seen the finished product yet. It's a bit hard on the eyes for sure, but I don't know...is it actually ugly? I think it's kind of neat and, since it's Queen Elizabeth's Diamond Jubilee this year, it's a little tribute to her.

(Hey Mum, do you want a wallhanging or table quilt to match your bag?)

Saturday, February 18, 2012

How I spent my FNSI

I made two more Dresden blocks:

 Block 5

Block 6

The first six blocks together. 

I like the white background and I'm thinking about grey for the centre circles.How many more blocks will I make, I wonder... If I make 12 in total, I will have a pretty decent-sized quilt. (And to think, I predicted I'd only make one of these.)

And, because it was my FNSI goal, I cut out my Paris Jacket.

A bit of a tedious job, especially since I didn't want to cut the pattern pieces. I pinned and marked, then removed the pattern and cut on my markings. Too much time spent on my knees on the floor! I always find the cutting the hardest part so I'm excited about starting to sew this garment.

Not many scraps left over. I got my money's worth out of 2m of fabric!
At the end of a few hours' work play, I put my outside clothes back on (i.e. not pajamas or yoga pants) and went with Mr. P to pick up the OnlyChild from the bus station. We stayed up gabbing until 2 am. She's still in bed - of course - and I'm off to my dance class.

It's a long weekend here (Family Day) and the extra day off to spend with my girl is much appreciated. I hope you all have a lovely weekend too!

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Stay in, Sew-in

Tomorrow is Friday Night Sew-in night again!

Last month during FNSI, I worked on Swoon. I'm still undecided about my next step with this quilt, so I think I'll start something entirely new. Why not?

I have the fabric for this Paris Jacket pattern from Sew Serendipity and making a garment will be a nice change from rotary cutting and sewing 1/4" seams.

Tomorrow night, the OnlyChild also comes home for Reading Week. She tells me she's been "knitting like mad lately" so I can't wait to see what she's created.

I hope you join us for FNSI! You can sign up here.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Do you Valentine?

We don't. Not really.

The other night, Mr. P and I had a discussion in the car about Valentine's Day. He thinks it's a made-up, consumer holiday. I tend to agree. But, I don't think there's anything wrong with showing or telling somebody you love them, on any day of the year, and if we need a special day to remind us to be grateful for each other, well...what's the problem with that?

I didn't expect any flowers or chocolates or diamonds from my Mr. P for Valentine's Day and, needless to say, he didn't disappoint me. He brought home nothing.

I, on the other hand (being the romantic that I am), emailed him this:

Social Studies/History teacher humour. Maybe you gotta be one of us to find it funny...

Happy Valentine's Day, no matter how you celebrate it (or not).

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Now what?

Despite some resistance from an unnamed family member,

What do you mean get off your Swoon block?

I managed to finished Swoon Block #9 this afternoon.

So, all nine blocks are completed.

Now what?

Friday, February 10, 2012

Celtic heart

Amongst the busyness of work and the icky cold (which is much better now, thank you) a little bit of sewing happened this past week.

First, I want to show you the Valentine I made for the OnlyChild. Now that its safe delivery has been confirmed, I can reveal it.

My embroidery skills are not stellar, but I practiced my backstitch while making this little Celtic heart knot mini. I then machine quilted two rows of echo stitch around the design and edged it by machine also. It measures about 8" square. 

I made this mini while Skyping with the OnlyChild Sunday evening. I'd do a few stitches, type a message, stitch some more...it took forever!
Also on Sunday night, I made another Dresden block. After I posted about my other blocks, I just wasn't ready to put it all away and go to bed so I cut a couple more fabrics and made this.

I'm really loving these. I still have no idea what I'll do with them.

It was kind of a busy/tiring week (aren't they all?) so I didn't get back to my sewing machine until last night. When I got home from work yesterday, I had a to-do list about a mile long: laundry, vacuum, bake banana bread, clean the bathroom. None of that got done. Instead, I spent some time working on Block 8 of Swoon. I got most of it done and finished off the last couple of seams tonight.

Eight blocks completed! Now I'm starting to get nervous. With only one block left to make, I'll soon have to decide what I'm doing with this quilt. How will I quilt it? Will I quilt it myself? I don't like making these kinds of decisions but I don't want it to be folded up and put aside. This one's for my bed! (And it might just encourage me to paint the bedroom, a job that needs to be done.)

On the homestretch with Swoon...sort of.

Sunday, February 05, 2012

Seven and Dresdens

Good things happened this weekend:

1.  I spoke to the OnlyChild twice on the phone and once on Skype. Awww...she misses her mum. She's applied to a university here in town so she may be moving home to finish her degree.

2.  I started a new dance class yesterday. The teacher I took lessons from for 6 1/2 years decided to start teaching again. I missed her first two Saturday classes because of prior commitments (a workshop and exam marking) so it was really nice to finally get to go. I now take dance classes on Mondays and Saturdays as well as yoga on Wednesdays.

3.  Block 7 of Swoon is finished. I cut out the pieces Friday night (after I cleaned the house - good to get it done) and then sewed it all up yesterday.

4.  I had some time last night and today to work on Dresdens. Now I have three completed. Anne of Bunny Hill posted the new tutorial about the middle circles so once I decide on a background fabric I can put the blocks together. I'm still not sure what I will make from them, but I'm loving the process and the blocks so far.

I also worked on a special little Valentine's project this afternoon but I can't show you yet (in case somebody is watching...).

It's clear from reading this that I don't have a life haha. I did nothing but dance and sew all weekend. Hey, I'm okay with that. I actually turned down a couple of invitations, mainly because I have a yucky cold, stuffy head, sneezy nose and sore throat. Nothing too bad, but a good enough excuse to stay home with Bernice.

Thursday, February 02, 2012

And then there were six

Six Swoon blocks, that is.

Yes, I know...I've talked about nothing but Swoon since the new year began. Maybe I need to find an in-between project to mix it up a bit so you don't get bored.

But anyway...I fixed up Block 3, which had been in pieces on the spare-room bed:

I'm now 2/3 of the way done with Swoon blocks. Here are the first six:

And a view from a different angle.

I don't know what I'm going to do when all nine blocks are completed - where will I lay them out to photograph them? I don't have a large floor space anywhere in the house. I guess I'll have to move the table out of the dining room ;-)

Now that I feel like progress is being made on this quilt, I'm starting to think about the actual quilting. This one's going to be huge - bigger than anything I've made before, big enough to fit on my queen-sized bed (once I get the sashing and borders on it) and I'm concerned that I won't be able to quilt it myself on my little Bernina. Over on the Flickr group, there has been a discussion about the quilt-as-you-go method. It looks interesting but I'm not convinced - any thoughts on that? What would you all recommend for quilting designs? Ideas are always welcome!

Oh...Happy February! I changed up the d├ęcor in the front entry and put out the Valentine Mini quilt I made along with my Tisket a Tasket quilt and a yo-yo tree. It's nice and red and white in there now.