Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Treasure Trove of Tutorials

This morning I was browsing on the net and read a really nice blog by Terri Stegmiller, here
She seems to do lots of interesting things -- art quilts, zentangles, learning to knit.
And!! she has compiled a Huge! number of free tutorials on all sorts of Projects. here

To Anonymous, Re. selling the cabin, how to get to the place to decide to do that? It could be a hard decision to sell a cabin depending on the time you've spent there, and all the memories you have there.  In this case, the cabin is new, and while I like it quite a lot, there are other things I want to try.  So, there are other places I want to go to -- like Savannah, where we just bought a house.  My husband is an American who has lived in Saskatchewan for decades-- all of his working life.  Now that he is contemplating semi-retirement, he feels drawn back to the general area where he grew up and where his family is.  Since we went to Savannah last month and got the place there, he has felt really happy!  I like the area there a lot too!  So, i'm looking forward to spending some time there exploring it more.  So, it is a necessity to sell the cabin here in order to do the house there.  That's okay, since it isn't really a loss, more like a trade.  I think it would be a lot harder to let go of the cabin if there wasn't another adventure around the corner.  In the meantime, before it finds a new owner, we can still enjoy it!

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Where I'm at...

I thought I should mention that I am still up at the lake, where I've been for some time now.  We are planning to sell the cabin here-- hopefully this spring or summer, and there are jobs that have to be done before it is ready to be for sale.  So, I have been here working at things like: putting down tile floor in the bathroom, kitchen and entryway.  Sanding the wood floors (pine) and varethane-ing them. Doing baseboards. 
Well, that doesn't take long to describe, but it sure does take a long time to actually do.  I like to do this sort of thing, so it's fine. It was a bit of a sudden decision to put the cabin up for sale, though, so that's why I am doing it all at once at such short notice. 
Unfortunately, it is all pretty messy and dusty, which means that things haven't been too conducive to sewing!  I did bring up a little fabric, but only have spent about 2 hours sewing during the last week. 
However, one afternoon I did a little drawing with pencil and paper, which I haven't done for ages, it seems.  It was sort of fun, and I'd forgotten that I like to draw.  It seems that usually when I draw it is a sketch for something that I plan to make later in 3-D.
Well, I just thought that I'd mention why i haven't been blogging lately! 
Also, I am sorry that I haven't posted a photo of the completed apron from last time-- I took it in to the shop, but forgot my camera that day and I've been here ever since!
Hope you all are well and enjoying the spring-like weather that I understand is happening further south of here!  

Wednesday, March 9, 2011


I really like Art Gallery Fabrics, which are designed and manufactured by Pat Bravo.  She also has a blog, which there is a link to on the side-bar.  This morning I went there to see what she was up to, and  a couple of days ago she wrote about her "Spice it up Apron", here
Isn't it cute????
And she even gives the pattern away as a free download!, here
Well, of course I was excited by how pretty it was, and so this afternoon, I got some fabrics from the shop,,
 ... by Art Gallery Fabrics, of course!!  (Why do I like them so much?  because 1. they are gorgeous, 2. they are a 200 thread count and a nice weight 3. the patterns are so clean and fresh,..)
 And then I came home and started to sew it! 
Actually, I did finish it, but will take a photo of it tomorrow, when the sun is out.  I'll take it to the shop of course, so you can see it in real life, and even try it on if you like!!

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Trying new Products

My newly sewn bag!

I find it difficult to try new products.  I'm not sure why this is.  Sometimes I see a new notion or technique in a book or magazine, or a demonstration by someone selling the product, and I am impressed.  Immediately I think it's great and have all sorts of ideas on how I can use it.  Sometimes Often, I buy the product and take it home, but then I let it sit there unused. 

So today, I decided that I would just wade right in and try out one of those products: "Soft and Stable".  It is a foam- type of interfacing that you use instead of batting or stabilizer in totes or handbags.
 And it is hard to try new things.  Even if you have low expectations. 

I like to make hand-bags, but I find that only about one in four that I make turns out to be one that I reach for to really use.  Not sure why this is.  I've been wanting to make one that has a lot of applique flowers on it using Japanese "taupe" fabrics. 

 This seemed to be overwhelming at this point. (Not least because the instructions are in Japanese)

Then, I browsed through my collection of hand-bag patterns and books to find something that looked not too hard.  It's been a little while since I made a lined bag, and it suddenly seemed very complicated, combined with the idea of using a different type of interfacing.
 I found one called the X-Bag that seemed do-able, and cut out the pieces for the outside and  such, but the construction technique seemed a bit confusing to me at this point.
So I put all this stuff into a rolled up ball where I can't see it right now.

Ultimately, I decided to go very simple and just use one fabric for the outside, and one for the inside, and to not do any piecing, or any embellishments, or pockets or anything else.  I just wanted to see how this stuff worked-- is it easy to cut? to sew? to iron? to turn inside out? whatever else came up.

So, I simplified the Japanese handbag pattern and made a cut-out pattern.
Then it wasn't too hard, but I still had a few decisions to make concerning the seam joins and how to put the lining into it. 
I ended up sewing the outer fabric down onto the "Soft and Stable" foam, by quilting some vertical lines.  Then I sewed the side seams, pressed them open, and sewed the cylindrical body of the bag to the oval base.
I sewed a lining and slipped it into the bag, wrong sides together, and then just put a binding made of a cloth ribbon around the raw edges of the openings.  (I hope that made sense, if not, just don't read it,--in the ultimate scheme of things, it doesn't really matter how it was constructed)

So, I persevered.  I just don't like trying new things.  But in this case, I'm glad I did, because it actually worked really nicely. 
Usually the bags I make with batting in them end up all slumped over if I don't hang them up by the handles.  This one stands up nice and firmly!! It is soft and pliable, and the foam was really easy to work with. I like it better than tim-tex. 
I'm glad that I just did a simple version.  Maybe I will try it again and put on a pocket.  Or perhaps I will try it by quilting all 3 layers together first and then just zig-zagging the seams instead of sewing a separate lining.  I also wonder how it might behave with a "boxed" corner construction. 

A note on the weather:  This is very strange: the weather report on-line says it is -18 degrees, but there is melted water running off of our roof, and the outside thermostat says -3 degrees.  Hmmm.

Friday, March 4, 2011

A couple of weeks ago I started to make a "Fig Tree Quilt" pattern, called Summer Ribbons.  I like the freshness of their fabrics.

 I've been chipping away on it a bit at a time, and hope to move on to the next step soon!
 Yesterday I met Monika and 2 of her kids at the Mendel Art Gallery here in Saskatoon, where we had a nice visit in the conservatory surrounded by spring blossoms...

 Tulips are my favorite spring blooms, and I am looking forward to the ones I planted last fall emerging from the ground.  Wishful thinking I know.

Thursday, March 3, 2011

 These are the most recent Saturday Surprise blocks:
 I've been enjoying both colorways.  I hadn't used batiks for quite a while, and it reminded me of what I've been missing.  So I made this quilt below from a jelly roll and some beige fabric:

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Back to the Snow!

Yesterday morning I packed up my seashells and came home.  Well, we didn't quite make it home until today.  yes, another extended flight ....(our flight into Calgary was late so that the plane to Saskatoon left without us, so we were put on the 7:50a.m. flight today)
I don't mind the snow too much.  It is an ocean of white rolling waves on the prairie.
This is one more bird picture...
 and one more coffee cup,
 On Sanibel, the honeysuckle were in full bloom!

 And these are what I worked on during the travel times on airplanes, waiting in airports, driving in the car...
 I was able to finish 4 pairs of handwarmers, at least the main parts of them.  I think that I might add some buttons to the purple ones, and maybe a felted something to the plain cream-colored ones that haven't got the ends woven in yet. 
After knitting 4 pairs of plain ones in a row, I decided to start a more complicated pattern this morning.  The ones above were all 32 stitches knit on size 4.5mm needles, as usual for me.  The new blue pair I wanted to try a cable on the back, so because they usually scrunch up the gauge a bit I decided to try 40 stitches. As I get a bit farther along I'll see whether I need to decrease any stitches...
Of course as soon as we landed in Saskatoon I went to the shop to see how everything is doing there!!
 It was great to see Deb and Patti again, and some hardy shoppers!  Whenever I come back from a trip and see the store anew I am so happy at the cheery colors and the samples all around.  It is definitely a "happy place" for me!! 

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