Friday, 19 September 2014


Well hello,

I have been gone from this little website since March...I do apologize but there is a very good reason. I am having another baby! Another little girl was in the stars for us and we are due December 2nd. A lot has happened since March, a lot that has confirmed what I am passionate about. Over the last few months I have realized that I truly respect and want to thrive at what I would call, "the womens arts". Some people might all it Betty Draper syndrome from the 1960's, some may just call it being a housewife, but there is so much more to it than that.

My family and I spent the summer in the United States while my husband did some training. This basically left me and my daughter picked up and dropped in another country, with different lifestyles. We didn't know anyone, and most people in the city we were in kept to themselves. Often we were the token Canadians being asked about moose, bear and snow problems. I can assure these people that yes, moose, bear and snow are often news here in Ottawa, but there is much more to Canada. Like maple syrup... No just joking!

This trip, combined with my pregnancy, has really pushed me into motherhood overdrive. I had to battle anxiety during my early pregnancy, after having lost pregnancies before, mixed with being an example of confidence for my daughter during our move. This, while challenging, has strengthened my bond with my daughter and husband to a level I never thought possible.

Now to the exciting! The baby is due in 10 weeks and I am sewing, cooking, preparing and loving more than ever. With my daughter now in kindergarten I have a little more time to spend on dinner preperations, craft ideas, and really working on my needlework. Over the next little while I will be posting photos and updates on my recent crafts, for example, I have been beading a wall hanging for the last 6 hours! .. Unfortunaltly I only have 3 out of probably 100 lines of beadwork done.

Thank you for checking back as we enter fall, spend time with family, cozy up and get back to home.

Friday, 21 March 2014

Summer Accuracy Challenge Quilt - End of March Break

Last week was a huge success with our march break fun! Here are some quick pics that explain the lack of sewing last week. Every night was not spent in the sewing room, it was spent at the kitchen table with my husband planning the next days activities :)

Dessert - Ant hill (pudding, cookie crumb)
bug board game

Bug shells found camping last year. Yes even spider..

Many many trips to library to explore each theme!

Lady bug pizza!

Princess's do not eat regular animal crackers. Must have princess sprinkles!

Princess castle for royalty day!

Planted some seeds on garden day! They are sprouting already!

My sewing room window is now occupied!

With all this going on I didn't have much time to sew, but it did give me some time to plan and really go outside the box for my next quilt. I spent an hour at the fabric shop by myself on Friday and I chose colours I never ever would have picked. They are summer orange, pale green and rich green, all based on a focus fabric. This week I have begun piecing them into a quilt from the book "Shape Workshop for Quilters" by Katy Jones, Briono Greenberg, Tacha Brucher and John Adams. I  found this book at the library and have really enjoyed their take on things. It really focuses on shapes and how they base almost all our quilts. Master the shape, the quilt comes naturally. Can you guess the shape of focus in my quilt?

I am having a lot of fun with this quilt. I love the background fabric because it is white, (for my summer quilt I wanted white to be background, I think white always looks so crisp), but it isn't simply white, it has the pale green in it for some flower outlines. I will add that these are not all from the same collection at all. The solids obviously are and they have no right and wrong side which I love and are turning out to be a lot of fun. 

Because I have this lovely vegetable garden started in my sewing room, it has taken up most of my side desk. I will admit to being quite worried about this when assembling but I have found that I love it! 

The small bench's I stacked actually provide a bit of a low shelf, this makes tucking my project away from little hands very easy! Also the pieces do not slide around on the wood nearly as much as they did on the shiny desk, no pieces getting lost! It also makes it easy to organise but still have space for the pattern in the book. From the leftovers you can see I am making simple pinwheel blocks (right bottom corner) for another hospital baby quilt.

If you remember this years goal was about accuracy. I am proud to say this is my most accurate quilt. Ever. I have never taken my time to piece each little seam like I am now, and it really is worth it.

Well happy spring everyone! At least that's what the calendar says. My window would have to disagree! There is still 3 feet of snow on my front lawn. 

Thursday, 13 March 2014

The Lack of Time - I Do Not Mind

This past week is March Break here in Canada and I have had little to no time for myself. Heres the unexpected part - I do not mind at all! When I first realized that I would have my daughter in the house all week with  all her activities cancelled for the week, I kind of panicked. Rather than just stare at each other every morning I decided to plan out my week so that we would not get bored. Each day I gave a theme and planned activities, crafts, songs, movie ect to go with each theme. Monday was bugs, Tuesday maple Syrup. 

My daughter and I looking at some tapped maple trees. 
This was all fine and dandy until Wednesday arrived. My daughter went downstairs and we were going to learn about the desert. Lots of fun until my daughter went into the basement only to discover an empty hamster cage. Her hamster had passed away days before and I had not decided whether to replace it or break the news. She did not deal with the death of my parents dog well and I really wasnt wanting to go down that road again. Well a mommy moment occured when I had to let my daughter know the hamster did pass and it is ok to be sad. I do not want to get another hamster and go through this ordeal again in two years so I decided instead we would get a Guinea Pig. 

Now what is a mom to do other than let my daughter know that the passing of old friends can mean the hello to a new one. We went to the library and got some books on Guinea Pigs (I had one as a girl and worked at a pet shop, but I could still use a refresher!). After going to the pet store, rearranging our craft room to fit in the new friend (it is a great place for him, the busy center of our home), setting up the cage, welcoming the baby guinea pig (now named Leonardo after a ninja turtle), we did not have time for much else. Also, my sister in law had a baby! This of course was a great day for our family. Needless to say, what a mom wants (a couple of hours) is not what a mom gets, but I think that is perfectly fine. Sometimes the unexpected is what makes a good mom, how we deal with these situations really teaches us. We need to treasure these family events, it makes us better quilters I believe because we have a family bond and memories that we put into our artwork. 

This blog post came after I realized I haven't sewn much of anything this week at all. With the amount of groups I am in this was quite surprising. I look forward to next week maybe getting back at it that is for sure, but I can tell you, this is what I quilt for, my family, my friends, and all the little life events we encounter on the way. I did say my sister in law had a baby, what better gift to give my new nephew, who is also my neighbour, than a quilt? 

My design wall hasnt changed in weeks! Pat Sloan BOM

Monday, 24 February 2014

Quilting for Charity and Emotional Healing

This weekend I decided to let my husband take the reigns with the little one and left me to quilt. I quilted literally all day, from morning coffee to after dinner tea. I accomplished four baby quilt tops. These quilt tops are going to be for the hospital that my quilt guild is associated with, this is what their website says

 "Many OVQG members participate in our ongoing program of providing baby quilts for the premature babies at the Rich Little Special Care Nursery, Ottawa Civic Hospital. This is the special care nursery at the Civic Hospital. These quilts are used for protecting the tiny babies from the lights and noise of the nursery. The babies take the quilts with them when they finally go home. "

When doing the charity quilts I really enjoyed trying different methods for each quilt. This included paper piecing (the cupcakes), improv piecing (the yellow and blue), Y-seams (the blue and pink) and traditional block piecing (the red and white).  I found it makes me a better quilter and is always fresh when I switch methods of quilting. This is not hard to do when you consider how many resources the Internet has for quilters.

The baby quilts really hit a special cord with my family and myself. I had the very best pregnancy with my daughter, completely normal, quick happy birth, no problems to speak of. After the birth of my daughter, I discovered that my husband and I had developed "fertility challenges", meaning I cannot have any more children. For the next couple years I really stayed away from anything baby, it was simply too hard to hide my sadness. When I joined my guild and I saw the charity quilts for babies, I realised how my emotions were really holding me back from living to my highest potential.

I had a revelation, the only thing in my mind worse than not being able to have a baby, is to have have a baby who is sick or in pain. I am blessed with my daughter and her healthy vibrant self and if I can help those who are not as fortunate as myself, then what was I waiting for? No one has more fun novelty scraps laying around! To be honest, while piecing these tops, I felt more at peace than I have felt with my struggles in a long time. If I cannot have another baby, then I will help the babies and their families who are hurting, that is a pain I will never have to experience and I want to help. We need to realize our blessings more and these little quilts really helped me realize how lucky I am with my little one.

I am participating in Amy Gibson's Sugar Block club and for February we are supposed to be trying to show mercy as a personal challenge or affirmation. Thank you Amy for giving me the courage to step out of my grief and step into a place where I can help others. I encourage us all to do the same, if there is something you struggle with, a cause that hits close to home, why not help others you can relate to? It is a great way to make 2014 the best year yet.

Isn't it amazing the emoitional struggles and triumphs quilts bring out? They are so much more than fabric and batting and thread. I never imagined what I was getting into when I jumped into this world of quilting!

Tuesday, 18 February 2014

Oh Valentines, you simply add to my novelty problems!

The last few weeks I have been sewing pretty steadily. This year has been about accuracy and taking my time with projects, not taking on too many at one time. This has actually been going fairly well I have to say!

One of the biggest parts of this commitment to accuracy has been keeping my fabric room immaculately clean and organised. This means I have been organising my fabric every few days, keeping everything folded and arranged according to size and colour family. Being the mom of a pre-schooler, my fabrics tend to be mostly novelty or very bright colours.
So many novelties.

Valentines Day Runner

The last couple weeks were mostly dedicated to valentines. I made a table runner out of some scraps, but the majority of the sewing and novelty prints were dedicated to the princess of Valentines day!

Also this week I have been reading "Paper Piecing for Perfect Points", a book by Debby Kratovil. Her book has beautiful wall hangings in large sizes.  I am enjoying the book because of the amount of techniques that are used in one wall hanging. The piece from the book I am working on is this pattern;

Taken from the book by Debby Kratovil, "Paper Piecing for Perfect Points"

I decided to make this paper pieced quilt, mixed with some Y-seams, to use up some large pieces of fabric I have purchased and never used. I am using some bright blues and pinks that have a water theme, mixed with some low value purples. This was going very well until I paper pieced them backwards. I do not know how I did this, in fact I may have invented a new way of paper piecing if it weren't for the top stitching that is then visible on every piece. Oh well, part of being accurate with my quilting is 'un-quilting' when it isn't perfect.

That's all to report for today. I am keeping my biggest project a surprise until completion! Keep checking back!

Friday, 14 February 2014

The Old, The New, The History, The Art.

Antique Iron found in a Sunday market.

I have always had a great respect for crafting and the arts. I love collecting old sewing peices and fabrics whenevr I can find them. When I learned how (or taught myself) how to quilt, it was difficult. I loved it, but I did not have any of the fundamentals, I had never even heard of a quarter inch seem. I then discovered the internet where I constantly heard “do as you like” and “there are no quilt police!” As an intermediate quilter now I can tell you that forgetting the rules really gives us room for original and creative quilts. However, as a beginner, without the rules I truly couldn’t make anything I felt proud of. It is just a thought, but maybe in the beginning we really should be focusing on the details, the rules, and maybe anticipate a very kind quilt police woman helping us along ;)! 

A scissor, bobbin and needle set, over 100 years old, Germany

When quilts began in Canada, many rural women did not have the means or time to create their own art, or express their creativity in the ways we have access to today. Their quilts were truly functional, essential pieces of their homes, and they were also one of the only places we can look at these pioneer ladies artworks. These quilts are so exciting to find, inherent and collect because they sometimes were the only 'art' that these ladies may have ever had access to. I believe that quilting is still functioning in that form today, I know I get a lot of people who expect quilts, or love my quilts as gifts, and throughout the year I feel like I satisfy my need to create, and also my need to give to others who are close to me. 

Bottom of my Singer, circa 1930's.

Here in Canada it is said that even men quilted in the pioneer days. Quilting in Canada is also siad to have mostly happened in the winter time when the cold was too dangerous to venture out in. This allowed for some time to stay warm around the fire and quilting became a needed, but also a family event.

Top of my 1930's singer. 

I love knowing that when I quilt, I am participating in an art that all the wives and mothers in the cold Canadian winters also participated in. That is why I feel we must respect the quilting rules, that being said, always remember to be creative and original and not get too stuck on something you are not enjoying. I find I am happiest when I take turns doing a traditional quilt, then maybe a fun modern piece. There is no denying we are in 2014 and the quilt world has changed, but we can not forget where we started!

A very messy day in my sewing room. Some traditional blocks on the design wall. 

Friday, 17 January 2014

Free Skate Cover Tutorial

Today is a tutorial day again! 

Today we are making a super cute skate cover! It can be made for any size skates, for todays tutorial we are using a child's skate. My little one received some skates from Santa this year and she needs a cute quilty cover! This is a GREAT place to practise a little Free Motion Quilting! Or even better, why not use some of the samples we made with Leah Day?


1. You could start with  2 sample sandwich's we made with Leah Day, or we can make our own small mini-quilts! I made my own, finishing with an 11 by 11.5 inch rectangle

2. Two old face cloths, dish rags, basically anything that will absorb water to line the skate cover to avoid rusting our blades.

3. Two pieces of elastic, about 12 inch's long or more. Depending on the size of skate you are using.

Lets Get Started!

1 . If you are starting with  2 practise sandwich's, skip this part and go to "Attaching the towel" portion.

If you are starting fresh you will want to either find a scrap of material that is a couple inch's longer than your skate blade and fairly wide. For example, for a childs skate (size 8) I used an 11 by 11.5 inch rectangle. For a more "quilty" look, why not find some strips in your stash and make your own rectangle?

Here is my example;

I then lined these pieces with a large scrap of fabric. I did this by finding a piece of material slightly larger than my pieced rectangle and stitched it right sides together. I then flip it inside out and press. If you would like, you could make a quilt sandwich in the traditional way, with batting. This is up to you, I chose not to because my daughters skates are not that sharp or large, keep in mind though that adding the batting will provide extra protection for the blades. This is what makes the quilt sandwich samples with Leah Day so great! 

2.  Towel Lining

Now it is time to attach the towel to the inside of your square/rectangle quilt sandwich we have just made. 
You will need to find a towel scrap slightly smaller than your quilt sandwich. An inch smaller all around is ideal for this step. 

I used some old facecloths I had made to practise some embroidery work from a few years ago. I cut them down and made sure there was some space all around the towel. Sew the towel down to the lining (or wrong side of our quilt sandwich) just stitching along the edge the entire way around.

3. Quilting the Skate cover.

You can now quilt your quilt sandwich with the towel attached. If you are using an already quilted- piece, why not echo quilt what you have quilted previously? Or maybe you could try to travel stitch and mimic some of your quilting lines?

If you are like my sample here and it has no quilting, this is a great place to experiment with some designs you wanted to try. When quilting, I placed the towel side down, I found this worked better so that the needle did not get hooked into the towel loops. If you do not like free motion quilting, you could simply quilt some lines accross. This is basically just to keep the towel in place.

4. Fold your quilted rectangle in half, right sides together. Sew along the edges, this makes the envelope for the skate blade.

5. Attaching the elastic- Final step!

Now it is time to attach the elastic to the top edge of our skate cover. With the towel side out, Take the beginning of your elastic, place one pin and lock stitch. Now using your zig-zag stitch, gently pulling the elastic, sew all the way around.  Lock stitch when you get back to where your stitching started. If you can remove the bottom of your sewing machine (as if we were sewing a sleeve on a garment), that will help you sew continuously around the skate cover.

You can now turn your skate cover right side out and slip over your skate!!

For information on great FMQ designs, and how to make the quilt practice sandwichs I mention in this post, please go to for more information! She is inspiring if you do not already know who she is!

January is mine!

Hello and welcome. Today is about the middle of the month of January and I have to say, resolutions.. are going fantastic. I know it is merely the beginning of 2014 but that does not mean I can not be enthusiastic about the accomplishments so far!

All my BOM's in separate cute bags :) 

This month I really wanted to stay on target with all my quilting and home style goals. I want to work on fewer projects, but have the accuracy be outstanding. We are talking quality over quantity. I have been working on my BOM's I signed up to and they are very accurate. I equate this success with some small changes in my sewing life that had some big results. Want to hear them? Here they go;

1. Change the time of day I sew - This means no more midnight sewing with crazy seams and mismatched pieces. This has been one of the best things I have ever done.

2. Only sew when I can dedicate my whole attention. - No more cooking the lunch, sewing a seam and wiping a 3 years old sticky face all at the same time. 

3. Respect my quilting. - I know what I am capable of, but often, I settle for wonky seams and make-shift blocks. No more! I rip out seams that do not match, and ensure I have all my materials before I start. 

4. Work on my body. - This seems a little funny, I know, but it is actually a really big help. I FINALLY got a raised cutting surface. I found some little bench's left behind by the last tenants in our home and made a little raised mini table I can plop down on my sewing table to give me about 8 inch's of height. 

5. One thing at a time. - No more starting something, then stopping, working on something else, you know the story. I will set small goals such as "finish all the blocks on this baby quilt before I work on my January BOM" This has been working well because I feel more accomplished and can really focus. That doesn't mean finish the whole quilt before working on my BOM, but maybe I get to a milestone. 

So that is it for today. We are feeling accomplished! We are even beginning the steps for a winning quilt for maybe a quilt show? Bring it on 2015 Quilt show! Your mine ;)

But before we part... did you want to see that baby quilt I finished? Of course you did! 
Good friends of ours are expecting baby number one very soon. A little boy! This quilt is actually quite thick and I am planning it to be more of a playmat for some tummy time.

My fantastic 'only child'!

Today I received an odd comment from a mom at a playschool function. The lady was speaking to another mom who happened to be pregnant (and not really in a mean way) about how her second child will make her "a real mom". This made me a little puzzled. I have only one child and I have always considered myself to be a full mother.. so why was this woman so adamant about not gaining the title until the second came along?

Her point was not meant to be mean, it was her opinion that having only one child is very easy, makes you less of woman even because you are not as busy as other mothers with multiple children. While I can understand how more little faces to wipe, play dates to get to and nap scheduling mayhem would be difficult, I felt she was missing some of the challenges and unique situations that mothers of only-children deal with.

For instance, having only one child means we do not have "the more the merrier" effect, and sometimes it can be very lonely. To counter this I have my daughter enrolled in ballet, pre-school, library groups, Friday picnics ect. ect. Part of my job is now prepping her for social interactions with other children. If you had more than one child they will have to learn to get along and share and all the wonderful things that having a sibling teaches you. Loneliness is something we deal with by finding friends, and almost more importantly, I get to be the friend sometimes.

Often times I find myself stopping everything to have an hour of playing with barbies, colouring, dancing, just so my daughter does not always have to play alone. Social interactions and how my child will handle them is something, I would argue, that I maybe have to think about and put more effort into than a mother with a few children of similar ages.

Todays blog post is to salute all the mothers (and fathers!) of an only child. There are many benefits of only having one. It was not our choice to only have one but God and my biology decided that is how it is going to be, it took time to accept but now we are thriving! In fact, my husband and I have decided that one is perfect for us and that is where our little legacy will stop. It is now our choice to have one and be appreciative of the blessing that is our daughter. Enjoy your only child and be excited about all the opportunities and energies you have to help them learn and grow!

Did I mention only having one child means there is an extra bedroom that is perfect for a sewing room?
Happy Friday!

Saturday, 4 January 2014

Free Tutorial - Quilted Chore Chart/Weekly Menu Holder

Tutorial Time!

This is my tutorial for what I call a "Quilted Chore Chart/ Weekly Menu"

My daughter is starting to do some routine things and I thought it was time for a chore chart for the fridge. Something we can put stickers on and keep track of what she does. At the end of the week, if all the stickers are full, she gets to head to to store for a treat of her choice. This free- pattern tutorial would also work for a weekly menu on your fridge. At our house we have a menu for two weeks at a time. It is a paper cover that hangs on the fridge and is a cute and easy project for your home. Lets get started!

Materials Needed:

  • A peice of fabric that is 2 inchs bigger (on all sides) than a standard printer sized sheet of paper 
  • A contrasting (or not) peice of fabric 1 inch bigger (on all sides) than a standard sized sheet of printer paper. 
  • A peice of batting the same approximately the same size as a peice of printer paper
  • (4)  4inch square peices of fabric (I coordinated mine to the background but it could be scrappier if you like)
  • (1) 2 inch wide Strip of fabric slightly longer than a sheet of printer paper
  • (1) 3 inch long by 2 inch wide strip
  • 1 peice of printer paper
  • 1 peice of thin cardboard/thick cardstock -same size as printer paper

The Steps

Place your largest peice of fabric (the one that is two inchs bigger all around) with wrong side up and trace the cardstock shape onto the wrong side. 

Take your squares, fold them in half, right sides together, and sew down the open sides. Leave about 1 inch at the end so that you can flip them right side out.

After flipping the triangles right side out, sew the open seam closed, and press. Repeat for all 4 squares. These will be the corners of your chart holder.
 Next, sew the long strip into a tube, either sew a long and slip it over, or fold it twice into itself and sew. Either way, you end up with a long sewn strap, longer than a printer paper. 
Now this is what we have so far. The grey fabric you see here is the inside peice. It is slightly smaller than the outer fabric. 
Now it is time to layer up. Leaving the backing fabric wrong side up, place the batting in the already traced square. (we traced the cardboard in the center to show us the size our paper will be) Now place your inner fabric on top, right side up. Baste (I used safety pins) the layers together and you are ready to quilt them. 

I sewed the edges down then just bounced around with my walking foot for a fun quilting design that is easy. The quilting isnt important here so do whatever you like. Do make sure it isn't too lightly quilted, the more quilting, the stiffer it will be to hang up. The stiffer the better. 

Next I trim off the excess inside fabric. It is also a good time to lay down your cardboard and double check that there is a smidgen of grey all around. 

Now it is time to lay down all you triangles and middle strip like this. You then sew along the border of the inside fabric, sewing over the edges of the triangles and the middle strip so that everything stays in place. 

Now we use the border as binding. Fold it onto itself twice, pin, and sew the edges down. You will now be ready to attach the key ring to hang it.

Make the key ring the same way as you made the middle strap. Then fold over the end to form a loop and sew it down. You can hang it like this, or, I attached a keyring to the end to make it that much easier to hang up.


Attach the strap by lining it up with the middle on the wrong side and sewing into place. You now have your completed menu/chore chart holder! Time to hang it up!

 Place the paper inside, I also had a peice of cardstock behind the paper just to keep it nice and stiff. Depending on the batting/amount of quilting you chose, you may or may not need to add the cardstock behind the paper.

Congratulations! You now have your quilted chore chart/weekly menu. Chloe loves to put stickers on the chores she completes!