Wednesday, May 30, 2012

May 30, 2012

The clematis in our garden is producing tons of blossoms this year.  We planted it three years ago and have been patient: watching it produce more and more every year.  It's now at a point where I can bring some indoors without stripping the vines bare:

I'm so glad I bought this white pitcher at a thrift store a few years ago: all flowers look good in it and there are no stems or cloudy water to see!  I have another one that's a bit larger for bigger bouquets - my peonies look fantastic in that one.

I turned my bird-in-cherry blossoms cross stitch into a little pillow today: it's stuffed with fiberfill with a bit of dried lavender.

While I was at the sewing machine I gave my lavender dryer bags a make-over.  They were previously made with natural muslin, but that's too boring!  While organizing my fabric I found some remnants from a sheet and thought it would be nice for dryer bags.  Since I have to keep them out in the open to remind myself to use them, they might as well be pretty!

The weather is still gorgeous here, though it is cooling down a bit today.  It has been nice to be able to stitch or read outside, and generally just enjoy the late spring weather.  Now that June is almost upon us there are things that will need to be done before school ends.  I always love the weather in June, but it is usually too busy to enjoy the last kid-free days before summer vacation.  We will have to see if this is the year I get all the old photos printed off before school ends!

Monday, May 28, 2012

May 28, 2012

Today is so fabulous - not only is the weather absolutely gorgeous, but more importantly, my cross stitch prize from Brooke's Books Publishing came in the mail!!  I'm so excited!  I have been anxiously watching the mailbox for weeks now, hoping everyday my prize would come in.  Here are the six charts I chose:

We have the Spirit of Quilting Angel: Spirit of Cross Stitching Angel; Spirit of Holiday Giving Angel; and from the Bride's Tree Ornaments, Eternity; Happiness and Love.  Aren't they beautiful?  I just can't wait to start stitching them.  I think it's the best prize I have ever won!

Last night I started a small chart, available from Le Chalet des Perelles.  This is another gorgeous French site with lots of free pretty little charts.  I just have to stitch the border and then it's done.

I used some of my own hand-dyed threads and two of the DMC Colour Variations.  I stitched on white monaco, but I think I might stitch it again on natural linen because it's so quick.

We had a great weekend.  Again the weather was lovely so we tried to spend as much time outside as possible.  My Favourite Girl was in a production of 'Hairspray' and we saw her perform on Saturday morning.  It was so good: let's just say I cried every time I saw her on stage.  I have to stop being embarrassed when I get so emotional watching my kids do stuff in public, because now I'm doing it all the time.  I only have to think about them doing it and I choke up.  I've turned into one of those mothers, but since it's about my kids I don't care!  At least they know I'm proud of them:)

Now I'm off to tea dye some cross stitch fabric and enjoy the sunshine!

Thanks for visiting:)

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

May 23, 2012

Happiness is....

Seeing my baby girl win both races at her very first track meet today!  If I could upload the video I would, because I am bursting with pride and wibbly-wobbly tears of happiness.  It's probably lucky for you that I can't, because I'm sure it wouldn't have the same effect for you:)
She was awesome.  I told her I prayed God would give her wings on her feet today.  She won the 100 metre sprint and absolutely owned the 200 meter dash.  I'm still getting teary just thinking about it.

Happiness is also successfully using the macro setting on my camera to capture flowers from my yard.  I have to give you something to look at don't I?

Life is awesome.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

May 22, 2012

We just had a long weekend, and I think it was one of the best ever.  The weather was absolutely gorgeous, and we managed to get equal amounts of chores, rest, and fun in.
Saturday morning I headed off to the hardware store in search of ferns and spray paint.

This year I decided to re-paint my patio pots bright yellow.  I loved the aqua from last year, but this year I needed yellow!

Next up was to divide the ferns I bought: one into four; the other into two.  I had forgotten how difficult this is, and am now crossing my fingers that they will all survive.  I put the two halves in the planters under our long garage windows.  The four quarters go into the four smaller yellow pots, which sit in the corners of our 'urban gazebo' on the deck.  

The other pot I painted holds the violas that used to be in the garage window planters.  It now sits on the patio table under the gazebo.

I really wanted bright colours for outside this year, so only the yellow and orange flowers made it to the back.  The purples and pinks are staying out front.  I got the yellow straw mat from the dollar store, and the mosaic candle holders are the ones the kids made last year at my 'summer camp'.  I realize now that the yellow spray paint I picked is the same colour my bedroom furniture was painted when I was a kid.  No wonder I love it!

This is a picture of our back deck from the kitchen.  I hope the ferns live because they are a nice low-maintenance plant that will last the whole summer.  I think the yellow pots will make up for the colour usually supplied by the flowers I normally put there.  

Once all the work was done I told everyone I was just going to cross stitch all weekend, and that's pretty much what I did.  I wanted to try my new dyed floss and thought this design of fall leaves would showcase them well. 

 I used 8 different shades of green, yellow and orange in this free design I found here: Le Blog de vava.  This design is on page 6 of the Grilles gratuites/Freebies link on the right hand column.  This talented stitcher has 36 pages of free designs so get a coffee if you plan on perusing it!  I think I may have exceeded my download limit here alone:)
Oh, and what's cross stitching outside without a little summery drink at hand?

The kids got to crafting as well: I bought two unfinished birdhouses at the dollar store and now we have two more colourful decorations for our yard:

We also had two very interesting comments from our kids: 
 We had to go to a funeral home for a viewing on Saturday.  We didn't know if it was going to be an open or closed casket, so thought we would prepare the kids just in case it was open.  It turned out to be a closed casket, and as we were speaking with one of the family members My Favourite Boy came up and asked:  "What's in the box?"  It was just a little awkward!

On Saturday at dinner My Favourite Girl told us she was going to become a vegetarian once she finished her meal.  Mr. Crafty World asked her why and she replied that it was cruel to eat animals.  I said, "You know you are telling us this as you're eating about three kinds of meat in those meatballs".
"I know", she replied, "that's why I said I was going to become a vegetarian after I eat my supper!" 
Those two make life so much more interesting!

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

May 16, 2012

Yesterday's little jug of happy from my garden:

Yesterday I tried my hand at over-dyeing cotton embroidery floss.  I have dyed floss before, but it never occurred to me you could use any colour other than white or ecru.  I also did not know how to get the subtle colour variations you find in over-dyed floss.
Inspired by Becky's success with over-dyeing, and a little help from here and here; I thought I would give it a go.

I have a box of DMC floss I thrifted a few years ago for four dollars, so I didn't have to dip into my normal stash of threads. 

(The victims)

The results:

I am quite pleased at how they turned out.  I dyed fifty yesterday and forty more today.  Today's venture was much less haphazard and messy, now that I had some experience under my belt!  They are still on the drying rack so I will show you next time.

One thing I learned is that you can't expect anything!  Each colour is truly unique, and it was almost impossible to predict what you would get.  Some of them don't seem to have any colour variation - it was impossible to get any of the dark greys or reds to take more colour.  Some of them are ho-hum, but some are lovely.  I am happy with the results though, and not only because it saves me mucho $$ in hand dyed floss:)  I do wish I had done this before I started Quaker Bluebirds:  it would look much nicer than what I am using on it.  It almost makes me want to start it over; almost!
The biggest pain about the whole process was winding the bobbins.  Oh my goodness it took me all afternoon!  Thankfully it was a gorgeous, sunny day so I could dry the floss and wind it outdoors.  Next time I'll hang them in loose hanks!

(Yellow mini-carnations with lemon balm)

Thanks for visiting!

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Happy Mothers Day!!

(Mothers Day roses and lilacs pilfered from the neighbours tree)

A gift from My Favourite Girl:  two length of finger knitting that I turned into coasters.  One for downstairs crafting, the other for upstairs sewing.

My Favourite Boy made me a card at school, en francais.  Roughly translated it says:

  "I love you when you make my lunch.  My favourite moment with you is when you make my snack.  You are my favourite because you are my mother." 

 Male sentiment for sure!

Today is also special because Mr. Craftyworld and I got married 17 years ago today.  I could not find any cards I liked at the store so I decided to make him one.  I wanted to capture all the facets of a marriage; the ups and the downs, so I ended up with 7 drawings and made the card into a small booklet.  I think everything is pretty explanatory:

And there it is: Marriage in Seven Frames.  Mr. Craftyworld liked it:)

Today promises to be warm and possibly sunny, so I'm looking forward to a day of fun and family and a great dinner cooked by Mr. Craftyworld.  Oh, and the champagne too!

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

May 8, 2012

I don't know if you will be able to see this or not:  I took it through the window.  I bought this bird feeder in the hopes that the squirrels could not get to it.  Indeed I have spotted them eyeing it up and trying to get close, but so far only the birds have been able to get at the seeds.  Until this morning that is, when I spied this bugger in a feat of squirrel gymnastics munching away on my bird seed:

I spent the rest of the morning tackling another project from the Liberty Book of Home Sewing.  Bear with me on this; I am determined to make more of the projects so I can do a proper book review on Amazon for it.  When I say a proper review, I mean one in which the projects were actually made and then reviewed in terms of difficulty/ease.  I find a lot of reviews by people on crafting books are done just as they get the book from the shop.  They say things like, "Everything looks nice - I can't wait to try it!"  I don't find this very helpful myself.

Today I made the Jewelry Roll:

I used some blue cottons from my stash.  I wish I had used something bright and cheerful, because today is very foggy and moody.

The pattern is reasonably straightforward.  I had a bit of trouble keeping the pieces straight in the beginning; it would have been better for me to have labelled them piece A, B, etc, instead of large lining panel, small lining panel, pocket panel.  I also wish there were more photos of the finished piece.

I did not have an 8 inch zipper, but found a 7 inch works perfectly.  I tried to keep all the stripes lined up, but could not do it with the ring holder.  I think it still looks OK though.

There are three pockets at one end; a stuffed tube ring holder that snaps closed on one side; and a zippered pocket. (That rose ring was one of my birthday gifts!)
 I think the three pockets are too deep for smaller pieces, but that could be adjusted at construction.  It won't hold a ton of jewelry; it would be best on a weekend outing.  With some forethought you could make it longer and add more pockets.  The only change I made was to use ribbon for the ties instead of fabric.  Other than that, it was fine to make, and I give it a thumbs up.  I will probably make another one, and that is the indication for me whether a pattern is a good one or not.  It took me four hours altogether (a good 45 minutes of that was picking the fabric), but it always goes faster the second time around.

The next thing I want to make from the book is the Peacock Pincushion.  I was hoping to get started on it today, but I see it's time to get some baking done before school ends.  I am always thinking things will get finished quicker than they actually do.  If I had 26 hours in a day I would want 28!  I did just realize that today is only Tuesday, not Wednesday, so I will have another free day to work on it.  Lucky me!

Monday, May 7, 2012

May 7, 2012

Hello, Handsome.  
We have lots of cardinals this year, and they never fail to make me excited to see them.  This one was looking for moths to eat.  This is my happy photo of the day.

It occurred to me the other day that I have been sewing for 30 years.  Thirty years!  After that 'wow' moment, it also occurred to me that I really should be better at it.  I have never been one to be careful about sewing; for me the object is just to get finished.  I take short-cuts; I make things up as I go along; I spend a lot of time trying to correct a mistake I made previously without having to take everything apart.    I am more of a fly by the seat of my pants kind of seamstress, and that applies to most of my other hobbies as well.  That is probably why my quilt squares never really line up, and the clothes I used to make for myself never really fit that well.  However, I do still really enjoy myself when I'm at the machine, so I imagine I will continue to make things just as I have for the last three decades.
I did resolve to do a REALLY GOOD JOB when I sewed the Tote Bag from the Liberty Book of Home Sewing (mentioned in my last post).  Buoyed by the success of the shopping bags, I attempted the much larger Tote Bag.  I can't really say if it's quick to go together or not, because I could not sit down for any length of time and just work on it.  I also made some changes which added some time as well. 
 For the most part the instructions are good and it is a fairly easy thing to sew.  My biggest complaint is that the bottom is so wide across (7.5 inches) that it really isn't practical for an everyday kind of tote bag, unless you are planning on doing some mega shopping.  I didn't make it any narrower (although you could if you took fabric off the bottom and sides) so a large bag is what I got.  

I used a heavy sage green linen for the bottom, and a rosy, stone coloured drapery fabric for the rest.  I just love this fabric; in fact I have six more meters of it in my closet for the day I can finally have a rosy-girly room and use it for drapes!
I used a very disagreeable fabric for the lining: it's a pink and brown striped nubbly fabric that reminds me of ponchos.  It stretches a lot and was such a pain, but it coordinated with the outer fabric and I was able to use it all up and get it out of my stash.

What caused me to stretch my brain cells was the putting in of a zipper.  I figured a bag this size needed something to keep it closed, but I wasn't sure how I would put one in as the pattern does not call for it.  I finally came up with this solution:

I only attached it at one end, so when it's open I can pull the sides farther apart.

All in all I am happy with it.  When I look at it, I think I succeeded in doing a REALLY GOOD JOB, and think that perhaps I should try to do that with my next project too:)

This is also one of the only bags I have made that had a purpose to it:  such a big bag will work perfectly as a crochet work-in-progress holder, eliminating all those loose balls of yarn from the ottoman and floor of the family room:

Mr. Crafty World will be most impressed with the lack of yarn-mess I think.

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

May 2, 2012

I just made Banbury Cakes for the first time.  I can say it's in response to the power marathon watching of all four seasons of Lark Rise to Candleford.

 We could not get enough of the series, which I think should be voted Best Series Ever.  I am even going to say it's better than Downton Abbey.  If you haven't seen it and love this kind of historical fiction on screen, you need to watch it.  The stories are good and the characters are just wonderful.  There is not one that I did not like.

Anyway, all the mention of Banbury Cakes, Victoria Sponge and various tea cakes got me in the mood for a little British baking.  I googled a few recipes to see just what they are:  butter, honey, spices, currants and candied orange peel stuffed inside little rounds of puff pastry. Very easy if you have pre-rolled frozen puff pastry.  They are seriously good; just right with a cup of Yorkshire Gold tea.  I am not going to say how many a batch made, because then I would have to admit just how many I ate when they came out of the oven.  (It was a lot)

I tested out one of my new shopping bags today and was very happy with it.  It holds a lot and is so bright and colourful.  I felt very eco/artsy!

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

May 1, 2012

Zip!  There went April!  I'm a little shocked about that, but people warned me time would go faster the older I get.  And older I did get:  I celebrated a birthday near the beginning of the month and it was lovely. One of these days I might get around to showing you my presents:)
I had a great month doing all the domestic-y things I love to do; well balanced with all the creative things I love to do.  Perhaps another time I will show you all those too.

For today, I have been sewing.   I got the Liberty Book of Home Sewing from the library last week.  I didn't expect much out of it besides some eye-candy:  I often find books like these lacking in clear directions or practical ideas.  This one, however, surprised me.

After seeing another blogger try it out, I made the eco shopping tote.  It was quick to put together, and the pattern (which you have to draw yourself based on the grid pattern in the book) is just the right size for pinning to a pillowcase.  I used one of my vintage pillowcases for the bag, and the facing is made from yellow gingham.

If you grew up in the '70's you probably recognize the print: I had a bedspread made with the same pattern and oh-so-happy colours!
I wanted to use this as a grocery bag, but I didn't like the way the bag opened and it is a little small for that purpose.  The pillowcase fabric is also quite thin, being a cotton/poly blend, so I'm not so confident it would last that long carting bags of milk home in it.
I found some heavier cotton fabric in my stash: yards of a purple and lime daisy print thrifted a few years ago.  I added an inch to each side of the bag pattern and sewed the handles front to back instead of front to front, etc.  This made for a roomier bag that opens wider at the top and will be much better for groceries.

It doesn't sit on your shoulder as well as the other version, but for what I will be using it for it will be just fine.  Since I had so much of the fabric and the bag worked up so quickly, I made three more:

I am looking forward to using these for my groceries instead of the plastic reusable bags we have.  For starters they are prettier, but they will also take up less room in the trunk and are truly washable.

So all in all I am impressed and am going to try something else from the book.  I'm not crazy about having to draw up the patterns based on their grid illustrations, but that is much better than having to enlarge a pattern on a photocopier.

I have exciting news on the cross stitch front:  I just won six patterns from Brooke's Books Publishing!  It was a door prize from the Online Needlework Show two weeks ago.  Of all the draws that is the one I wanted to win the most.  It was hard to pick six - they are all so beautiful - but it was a task I would willingly do again! I will be eagerly checking the mailbox over the next few weeks and will show you my goodies when they arrive.

Now it's time to pick up the kids from the bus and get back into house-keeping/Mummy mode: at least until they go to bed anyway:)

Thanks for visiting,

You Might Also Like

You Might Also Like