Wednesday, May 11, 2016

Another good reason to clean the windows

Hey Martha!! - Remember that "Yarn Bird" contraption in the garden? I don't think I've ever seen anything even remotely interested in it until now; not even a squirrel. The other day, I was madly throwing things out of the shed and hoping they'd land in some appropriate place around the yard, and came across this darling little yarn hanger.

Days later, sitting with my coffee at the kitchen table, I was pondering spring cleaning the windows, when much to my amazement.....this little fellow appeared.

Bird speaking: "Here we go! I've just got to get as much of this stuff as I can"

"Ooooh Aaaaah Ooooh Aaaah keep tugging it'll's looooong"

"If I could just gather a bit more the living room would be pretty much done"

Muffled: "It's getting pretty difficult to keep talking wiff my mouff so full"

"Success at last. This is going to be the best nest in the neighbourhood. Thanks Lady!!"

Friday, May 6, 2016

The mad obsession of now

WARNING!!! Taking classes at The Workroom may lead to serious addictions....of the best kind.

Two classes ago, one of the participants revealed a quilted "wip" (work in progress) bag fashioned from Ghastlie fabric. She actually ended up gifting us all a Ghastlie 'hoop bag' filled with an accessory case and mason jar pin cushion!! We were also inspired by her epic creation of an entire LARGE quilt made from "Hexies". If you are interested, there will be a class offered at the workroom in said "Hexies" the end of May. As I will be traveling at that time the schedule just didn't work out for me.

By coincidence in the next class I attended ~ "Visible Mending" one of the participants very generously shared her expertise, findings and results with me which has morphed into this latest magnificent obsession.

I started out by following The Zen Of Making. This young woman has made an enchanting little "Hexie Pouch" in which to store all of the gubbins needed for making Hexies on the go. I will be traveling later on this month and really love to have a hand project, so this worked out perfectly.

In the midst of cobbling together all the necessities to pull this off, I actually unearthed a few spectacular finds deep in the bottom of the studio cupboards. The silly little table top ironing board which I have never used, but never dared to throw out, is perfect for the quick presses on the dining room table where I always end up crafting. Read: best light in the house. Along with that was a pressing cloth which I mistook for something entirely different, but damp, is exactly what is required in this effort. I can no longer get along without a bottle of "Flatter" by Soak, when sewing things. The smell (Celebration) is intoxicating and adds to the already addictive-ness of the venture not the mention it's stellar flattening results and management of fabrics.

The biggest find of all was the iron. My mother collected irons for all occasions. She always took an iron while traveling with all the converter plugs etc. in a travel case ~ this I can finally part with as hotels always have them included these days. She also had irons for their stays in Florida and for some reason, by the look of my cupboard, seemed to buy a new one every year. There was one, still unpacked in it's box. It's a pretty odd relic that has now been named "The Beast". No squared end on this baby, you can reach all corners at all times in all positions. The dials are super easy and it has an automatic shut off, which is a feature I treasure these days.

Card stock for hexies, fusible interfacing, patterns, scorers, crochet hooks, rulers, rotary cutters...

Another great suggestion was the paper punch from Michaels for perfectly shaped paper hexies every time. 

A really fun find at the recent Oakville Quilt Show of some purple fabrics to add to the creation.

So here's how the pouch looks when flat and open.  I altered the closure and added a button and elastic instead of a snap. 

The side view showing the accordion pleats forming interior pockets.

The pattern calls for two Altoid tins to hold little bits and pieces.  I happened to have a very aptly named tin that fits perfectly in the same pocket although I do love Altoid tins and will incorporate at least one in the finished project.

Many thanks to the very inspiring and helpful young women at The Workroom. You always make every class an adventure and a challenge. Cheryl and Michelle you are so generous, inspiring and hard working. Love.

And that's a wrap!

A special shout out to Haley Pierson-Cox "Zen of Making" for her English Paper Piecing Tutorial and Diane "Craftypod" for her book "All Points Patchwork". ""Hexa Go-Go" by Tacha Bruecher is also a great resource.

Thursday, April 21, 2016

Happy 90th. Birthday, Your Majesty

History in the making

The Queen with her great-grandchildren and two youngest grandchildren, from left to right: James, Viscount Severn and Lady Louise, Mia Tindall (holding purse!), Princess Charlotte sat on the Queen's lap, Savannah Phillips, Prince George and Isla Phillips.

Photograph: Annie Leibovitz/Getty Images

Sunday, April 10, 2016

Cannot wait

Tonight is THE night. OUTLANDER is back. I cannot be more excited. The only disappointing thing is that it is airing on Sunday evening when everything else seems to be airing. My t.v. watching schedule has a bland space between "Dancing With The Stars" on Monday night to "The Amazing Race" on Friday....nothing. You could say that I should space out my Sunday night "faves" but I just can't do it! I'm way too curious.

There is another problem with my t.v. watching. If I even dare to recline on the sofa after dinner, I immediately fall asleep and miss all the shows ~ hence a very full PVR. In order to combat this 'condition' for my upcoming marathon, I decided I would refer back to Carol From Kansas and make something fairly "Outlander-ish". In my most recent Workroom class I inquired about the Rowan Felted wool, and Suzanne, the owner of Knit Stitch just happened to have some in her inventory. She very kindly supplied me with the requirements and I will endeavour to stay wide awake whilst knitting a poncho in "Antique". It's all working out.

My latest class at The Workroom. VISIBLE mending. More of an art form really and I love the possibilities.

"Call the Midwife"

"Madame Secretary". I love Téa Leoni's glasses.

"The Good Wife" ~ Julianna Margulies is great but him ?!?!?!? YOWSA!! Jason Crouse aka Jeffrey Dean Morgan

If you haven't watched "Grantchester" you probably should. Just saying.

Mr. Selfridge (Jeremy Piven) is not my most favourite, but I do like the period and story line

Since the weather is still threatening to be like this tonight, I feel confident that I have enough to do and watch to keep me busy and happily occupied.

Oh Yes!
I'm reading THIS

Very good so far.....

Wednesday, March 23, 2016

It has been a wee while.......

Decisions, Decisions. They kill me. Not sure if it's because I'm so forgetful these days or if it's just a condition aggravated by age. Probably some of both.

The first decisions arose in the quilting class I was taking over an 8 week course. Rather than a sampler, our grandiose ideas turned into a slightly larger production which engendered many decisions on how many, how much, how big??? The last three squares have been decided and finished and now on to the putting together. Don't hold your collective's another HUGE decision.

Then there was the decision about the car. Pushed forward by a stone cracking my windshield, this decision became more urgent. After considering all the options, the new car is another Nissan. The 2016 Altima is a total model change. As I drove in to the Costco parking lot, there was another white Altima same vintage as my beloved old Navy Blue one, so I slid in beside it and you can now see the changes side by side. The only vehicle with the tan leather interior is white. Decision made easier.

Taking a break from hand sewing and stars I did an inventory of my current fabric stash and came across the easy breezy pillow cases that I had purchased some time ago in Vancouver. Since we will be returning to the West Coast in May, I decided I would whip these decision making here, just a really fun project and nice to have for the "chiclets" when they come and stay. Since March Break was approaching the decision was to 'get at it!'.

Luca really needed something new for the basement toy box. He's been really good about rooting around in the old Lego and assorted old Fisher Price stuff. When I spied this space station over at Milo's, it was so exciting and I knew he'd love it. The Professor does too so that's two situations covered :)

Zoë loved the idea of helping out making carrot muffins and did a really great job of scraping all the carrots and grating with the food processor. A skill I have informed her parents that they must not underestimate! One can always use a sous chef these days, especially a good one. The kids arrived for an overnight on St. Patrick's Day and we celebrated by watching the charming movie "Song of the Sea". It's a delightful tale and perfect for the wee ones although a tiny bit sad, but then again, it's a great conversation piece too. The animation is gorgeous and the music a delight. I have had one of these "adult" colouring books around for quite some time now, trying to entice Zoë into a little creative time together. Oddly enough, she decided that she could now do it and we settled in to many hours of side by side collaboration. She's doing really well and I'm delighted to use my good pencil crayons with someone who appreciates their magic. She woke up after our overnight all ready to "do art" now! Hope it continues, as it really is a calming and connecting activity.

Now that the weather has turned to spring??? (snow and ice in the forecast for tonight!) I've decided I had best get my fitbit into action and get those steps increased. Took a sprint around the neighbourhood and figured out how to use my iPhone music and camera at the same time. Came across some wonderful crocus' and then just around the corner in the oddest occurrence, a snow shower to compliment a remaining Christmas theme. I have been hearing the eerie sounds of wild coyotes in the park near our house. At night, the howling is other worldly and quite freaky. I called the city to report that I could hear what I swear is a pack of them....not just one....sounds like they are finding some sort of small prey...then on my walk, the signs. I guess I'll equip myself with "deterrents" next time I'm out! Yikes. If I spot them at midday we are seriously in trouble.

Well that's what I've been up to and why I've been diverted from blogging. It's really hard now with all the various media choices to settle down and get through the blog process. It's so much easier to hit a like button on Facebook, or Heart a little Instagram picture, that I often forget about posting here anymore. I know that some of you don't use the other platforms so here you go! Easter is upon us this coming weekend and I promise I will post a bit of that. Thanks for all the calls and inquiries as to my welfare. All is well, I'm just lazy and making waaaaay too many decisions these days :) xxxxxooooo

Onward and Upward

A while back I did a post on Dennis and Sharon Lanigan's collection of Pre-Raphaelite art.

The collection will eventually reside in Ottawa in the National Gallery of Canada, but for the moment, has crossed the pond to London, England and is gracing the halls of Leighton House Museum.

This is a lovely video of the installation and really makes me want to hop on a plane and go visit old London Town. I have to admit to being a bit of a groupie now that I have fallen under the spell of Dr. Lanigan's enthusiasm and love for his collection and all things "Arts and Crafts". This also includes Morris prints on Liberty fabrics!

Credit: Dr.and Mrs. D. Lanigan

Wednesday, March 9, 2016

A little ditty

'I Love' by Jason Mraz

Here is one of my favorite tracks from the film, Jason Mraz sings 'I Love' the Tom T Hall classic, sit back and enjoy!

Posted by For No Good Reason on Friday, June 20, 2014

Saturday, February 13, 2016

Cosy with Crazy

It's a very cold day today and nothing will warm us up more than revisiting the Metropolitan Museum of Art and the quilt collection. This is a snapshot of one CRAZY quilt. To be sure. This is only one quilt in the collection, but worth a close look at the intriguing way it is put together and the craziness of the entire piece. Stay warm and cozy today wherever you are!!

This Crazy Quilt label reads:

"Crazy quilts, a fad in the last decades of the nineteenth
century, were most commonly pieced from irregularly
shaped bits of velvet and silk.  This exuberant quilt is
far more unusual, since its unknown maker chose to
craft it from brightly patterned cottons.  The cottons 
create an album of fashionable, though inexpensive
fabrices of the 1880s, including Egyptian Revival and
Japanesque designs, children's handkerchiefs, and
pieces of "cheater" cloth - fabric that was printed to
imitate patchwork.   One of the handkerchiefs, printed
with playing cards, is inscribed "ORIENTAL PRINT
WORKS, APPONAUG, RI."   It is possible that this
mill produced many of the fabrics found in the quilt."
Metropolitan Museum of Art, NYC

This last photo shows the binding used on this quilt. This is my favourite section. Inspiration.