Friday, December 20, 2019

Preparing for Christmas

I have been busy getting some things ready for Christmas, this week. Parcels need to be packed and mailed to far away family. Goodies need to be baked. sewing and knitting needs to be finished.

I made an apron to go into one parcel. In celebration of a move to the north, I thought this was the suitable gift.

I lined it, because, as the older ladies from my youth would say, it keeps the gravy from soaking through. Of course, the instructions that come with the panel say to turn all the edges under with a narrow hem. I tried that once and it takes forever, so now, I just line them. Much quicker and easier.

I took pictures of the process, so if anyone is interested, I'll post pictures of how to make a lined apron.

This is the lining.

The fabric is called Canadian Capers. I bought some extra for other silly projects.

The tree is up, and my grandson helped me decorate.

He got a stool, so he could put the stuffies up high, then never moved the stool, so they are all on the same side.  Who am I to argue with his creative vision?

Meanwhile, Mystique has set up residence under the tree.

She reaches up and knocks the stuffies off the tree, so my grandson gets to redecorate every time he is over.

I have a whole box of beautiful, fragile ornaments, packed away. Maybe, someday, when there are no cats, dogs or preschoolers, I might put them on the tree, again. Then, again, I kind of like the current collection.

Thursday, December 12, 2019


I was born near Christmas. We lived with my grandmother, and every year she told the story of how, when my parents brought me home from hospital, I raised my head off my grandmother's shoulder, to look at the lights on the Christmas tree.

My grandmother was a hard working single mother of 5, who cared for her parents in their old age, while looking after her 5 kids. After her parents died, she went to work as a practical nurse, in a long term care facility. She always volunteered to work on Christmas Eve, so the younger staff could be home with their families. On Christmas Eve, she wore a Christmas brooch on her uniform, and carried jingle bells in her pocket, to the delight of her patients, I'm sure.

This is Nanny's brooch. I received it for my 18th birthday. I love it, and people always notice it when I wear it.

My research leads me to believe it is late 1940's costume jewelry, gilded white metal with rhinestones as the candle flames. It has no marks on it, so I have no idea where it might have come from.

I can't wear it without thinking about Nanny. She lived to 88, and enjoyed herself the whole time. I have pictures of her with my kids, and I cherish those. She was a special lady in my life and I loved spending time with her (even if she did cheat at cards).

I am not sure who I will pass the brooch onto, but I hope she understands the value of family.

Thursday, December 5, 2019

Little Gifts

Our church has a Christmas project that will provide backpacks full of essentials to women living on the streets in our city. The quilting group decided that an essential would be a pouch to keep small things in to make them easier to find in the backpack.

Last week, we started making them, and I brought the finished ones, and some that needed finishing home with me. They are simple but big enough to hold a toothbrush, paste, lip balm, and things that size.

I think they look great. Some of the ladies plan to make some for giving with gift cards to teachers and friends.

Meanwhile, a friend of mine asked for some Sweetpea Pods for Christmas stockings.

I made two at retreat that I had already given her. They are in this picture along with the bibs for the baby shower, and some lip balm holders.

This week, I made 4 more.

These are for grandsons, with police cars on two and vintage computer fabric on two. 

I  still have some mitten clips to make in the next while, as well as a couple of other sewing projects.

Wednesday, November 20, 2019

Making Things

When talking to people, I am more likely to call myself a maker, than an artist. While artist is the goal, I'm still striving towards that. this week, I got a bit of a boost.

My quilt group had a challenge last month. We received a roughly six inch square of fabric and asked to create a sewing accessory from it. We could add more fabric from our stashes, but we were suppose to keep it small. It was suppose to be a quick and easy challenge.

This was the fabric.

It came with a clip and my brain wanted to do something with the clip as well.

After a couple of false starts, I ended up with this.

It is a hand sewing wallet. The stash fabric was a birthday gift from a friend, last year.

The challenge fabric became a zippered pocket, to hold the scissors, thimble, and other little notions.

There is a piece of wool felt for the needles and pins and a strap of fabric to hold the clips. The lining fabric is straight pins.

Entries were due last Monday. A total of 13 accessories returned, and there was a viewer's choice balloting. Everyone got to choose their 3 favourites. Sadly, nobody thought to take a picture of the whole group.

Surprise! I got the most votes! Not sure what the attraction was, but I did hear a lot of comments about the clip strap.

The prize...

Some fabric, and a needle threader. I needed  a needle threader for my wallet.

The threader is really cute, with a tiny cutter and a hook to grab the thread.

In the sock area, I finished the socks I started in May.

They have been my knitting project for appointments, meetings, anytime I need some easy mindless knitting. I have lost the ball band, so I have no idea what yarn it is, but someone will like them for Christmas.

Monday, November 11, 2019

A Baby Shower

When my oldest was in middle school, he introduced me to the family of his good friend. His friend was a young lady with interests and a personality much like his. Her mother and I became friends, as we tried to survive their preteen and teen years. Our friendship solidified when we both went to post graduate studies in our forties, and often shared bus rides to school together. We graduated at the same time (though from different faculties) and drifted apart when we both went back to full time employment. Since retirement, we have renewed our friendship.

Her daughter is having her first baby, and my friend will be joining the ranks of Grandmas. There was a baby shower on Saturday, and I made a collection of handmade goodies for the new babe.

While I was at retreat I made a couple of Bandana Bibs. I did fish, because Grandpa is an avid fisherman. I did ambulances because Mommie is a paramedic (as is my son, her buddy).

For the last couple of weeks, the push has been on to finish this chenille baby blanket. It is so soft a cuddly, perfect for a newborn.

I made a large flannel blanket, because they are so useful with a newborn. This one is about 1 metre square.

 I made a sock and hat set from leftover yarn from socks I made for my favourite paramedic.

Since they don't want to know the gender of the baby in advance, I went for "neutral" colours, like purple and rainbow.

I have a gift in mind for my friend, the new Grandma. It is on my to do list.

Thursday, October 31, 2019


I was going to show you pictures of retreat, but that can wait.

Today, I have a little bag I made this morning.

I made a trick or treat bag for my little guy, from a fat quarter I was gifted.

I thought the fabric was not at all to my taste, but one of the clearings of the give away table at my quilt group turned up this , and it was handed to me because it had cats on it. The colours are kind of Christmas meets Halloween. Red and green, cream and orange, I found it a very odd combination.

So, this morning it became a small tote bag.

Here is a closeup of the fabric.

The bag took less than an hour to make and it even has fleece padded handles. All those bags I have made have taught me a few tricks.

It is just the right size for a three year old.

Thursday, October 24, 2019

Ring Sling Bag

I have managed to finish my Ring Sling. It was the Bag of the Month Club pattern from January, and I started with the best of intentions in February. I finished it at my retreat this past weekend, and I think it was worth waiting for.

It has a nice long cross body strap, and four exterior pockets.

There is a nice big zippered interior pocket.

I sized the slip pockets to hold my usual notebook and my phone.

I used zipper by the yard for the first time. I think it looks quite classy.

I put it immediately into service to carry my things to the polling station on Monday, where I spent the day as an Information Officer.

The pattern is now available for individual purchase from Patterns by Mrs. H.  I notice that it says it is a quick sew. Well, maybe for some.

I finished some other things and my friends did too, but I will save that for another post.

My sweetheart, Doug Dog, celebrated his 5th "Gotcha Day" with us, this week.  His party included french fries and dried sardines. His friends loved it.

Monday, October 14, 2019


In this part of the world, the harvest is pretty well finished by mid October. We are getting frost warnings most evenings. So, it makes sense that we give thanks for the harvest in October. Our vegetable gardening is nearly non existent these days, especially since there is an excellent Farmers' Market about 5 minutes away, in the parking lot at Best Buy! I can buy lovely vegetables, grown pesticide free, and support local agriculture.

However, the seeds from one of last year's squash decided to grown out of our compost bin this year, and without any work we have a bumper crop of squash.

I haven't cooked any yet. I hope they taste good.

The sewing room reno continues. The Kallax has been built.

Today, I was adding bins and labelling them.

I have found a few WIP that I plan to finish soon.

I started the Ring Sling back in February. You can see the lining here.

Then I cut the exterior of the bag, by putting the cut line on the fold and I cut on the fold line, leaving me with something unusable. Progress came to a complete halt, until today.

The exterior is now cut correctly.

Here it is with the exterior pocket.  I think fall needs a little Tula Pink. This is Tabby Lane, that I have been hoarding for awhile. Fingers crossed I can finish the bag with no more disasters.

I saw a tip the other day that you should store your interfacing rolled inside a paper towel tube. I just laughed. I buy my interfacing 5 metres at a time. I saved one of the pieces of packing from the Kallax and it is just the right size to make a bolt for my interfacing.

It will fit nicely beside the shelf.

Thursday, October 3, 2019

Clean Sweep

Last week, we put all the items we wanted from IKEA on a list and actually bought them. We finally got the new bed we have been wanting. We got my little guy his big bed, as his third birthday present. And, I got a Kallax shelving unit to store my fabric in. The price of shipping is per delivery not per item, so it just made sense.

If you live without IKEA then you might not know about this marvelous piece of furniture. It is a box of cubic holes, that you can place storage bins into, or store books, or use their drawer insert and add a cat bed.

This is the one I bought:

And, of course, I picked up the cat bed for it.

So, the next order of business is to move the boxes and bins out of my sewing room, so I can put the shelving in to store them.

Progress is being made, but I need to move some more out. I am not showing you the mess that is still to be moved. At the same time, I am pulling fabric for some projects for my upcoming quilt retreat.On the couch, you can see the start of that. Not much sewing is being done, but I am hopeful that I will have some better organization soon.

I have been knitting.

One of a pair of baby socks, the yarn is leftover from an adult pair in Turtlepurl OM colourway. The pattern is Kate Atherley's baby sock, my favourite baby sock pattern. There might even be a hat from the leftovers.

It was garbage day on Tuesday,  and you always see the most interesting things.

A crow (or possibly a raven) is inspecting the neighbours' garbage for items they were suppose to put into the organic composting bin.  Obviously the city is getting serious about keeping organics out the landfill, and they have hired this guy to check our bins.

Wednesday, September 25, 2019

Autumnal Equinox

Last week, the weather here turned hot and humid. Just when we were sorting clothes for cooler weather, we had to pull out shorts again. Needless to say, my sewing suffered. I did some knitting, but don't have much to show for it, so today, I thought I would show you what my world looks like just now.

The garden that we ripped out in July, and replaced with planters, has taken off gloriously.


Now looks like this:

Hard to believe it is the same space.

A little rose bush I picked up at the grocery store, is covered in flowers.

The Acidanthera is adding a bit of exotic beauty to the mix.

However, we are seeing signs that despite the warm weather, winter is coming.

My neighbourhood was built over fifty years ago, and the trees are big and beautiful.

Last week it was all green, now it will change quickly.

This is a "Parsley Worm", snacking on some parsley in a pot on the back patio. Next spring, it will become a Swallowtail Butterfly. Eat fast, little guy. The frost will be here soon and the parsley will be gone.

Monday, September 9, 2019


Flora is the first bag of the fall collection of patterns from the Bag of the Month Club.  The pattern is by Janelle MacKay of Emmaline Bags and is exclusive to club members until December.

Since my favourite colour is purple, of course, my camera will not render purple properly. This is my best effort.

On my monitor this is the closest to the actual colour of the fabric.

It is a simple bag. There are only six pattern pieces.

Of course, I added a zipper pocket. (This fabric is actually bright purple.)

And a credit card pocket (or two). More purple!

The bag has a recessed zipper.

The bag has these wonderful pleats.

Although the pictures don't do it justice, the hardware is rainbow iridescence.

I think this is the first time I managed to finish the Bag of the Month Pattern in the month it was released.

In case you were wondering, I think one of my dear ones is planning to claim this one.