Thursday, July 4, 2013

July--My month of clearing clutter

I'm feeling overwhelmed by stuff these days. I don't want to bring more in and I want to minimize what we have and don't use/need. So once a day for the month of July I'm going to get rid of something that we don't need.

So far. . . 

July 1 -- coffee pot with a broken water seal to environmental recycling
July 2 -- pair of flip flops with the sole separating in the garbage (I already tried repairing them)
July 3 -- Shark steam mop box into the recycling (it's okay Tim the warranty period is over)
July 4 -- old Braun handblender for which I couldn't get a mixer attachment. It went to a lovely lady on freecycle who gave me a hardcover Wilbur Smith novel via freecycle over a year ago. 
July 5 -- our massive stroller that no consignment store wants to sell since it's only a Graco and my kijiji listing was an epic fail in getting any interest for. (A day early to the single mother because she wants to pick it up now.)

What should the next few days be? Maybe I'll donate a pair of my shoes I don't use to good will? I'm pretty appalled at the number of shoes I have that I don't need. And our old wireless router would likely be worth something on kijiji or craigslist if I don't wait 5 years before trying (better run that one past the husband though!)

To be clear, I'm only getting rid of items I won't need to replace any time soon and aren't serving any particular function here in our home. And for my husband's sanity I am try selling what I can on kijiji first, giving away second. 

Thursday, April 18, 2013

What made me happy today?

What made me happy today?
1. My daughter's wonderful imagination.
2. Finishing my exam and having a great conversation with a friend on the way home.
3. Getting my passport in the mail today. Look out Amish folks, here I come! 
4. Being able to work from home for myself.
5. The look on the driver's face who was following me through a full parking lot to get my parking space when he realized I was walking home, not to my car.

Photo from the Flamborough Review's website.

What have I been working on?
Well many things! Including some super cute napkins with this Eric Carle fabric that my two year old daughter helped me measure and tear into strips. Maybe this way I'll have them done in time for a family picnic in August and I'll be able to convince my Mother-in-Law to leave the paper towels at home. She's a sucker for cute items, this may just work!

I started glue basting this table topper made from Japanese fabrics for my Mom. We'll see if I get it finished in time for her trip here. Odds are not, but you'll never know if you don't try right?

And in the non-sewing world, I've been working on a little organic reading project with my daughter. She's helping me chose which photos to take and I'm adding the words after we upload them to the computer. (I have to say, I love our cats and there good natured attitudes with posing for the camera!) This is all in preparation of whenever the next $0.10 a print sale happens at Blacks Photography.

Friday, January 18, 2013

Note to self: sensory trays look like litter boxes

Living with animals can really change your perspective on things. 

Take today for example, it never even dawned on me that the sensory tray my daughter was using last night that didn't get put away, would look like the perfect litter box to use while we were eating breakfast.


Sunday, January 13, 2013

A couple completions and an WIP

My Mom and Dad made the drive of 3,000 km (approx. 1,800 miles) to spend some time at Christmas with us. During that time, at the very last minute, because that's the way my Mom and I roll, we got down to business and got some piecing done for a comfort quilt.

Now to finish to few extra blocks we decided we need and to cut the solid colour blocks.

Since my machine is setup in the dining room and I have a lot of sewing stuff to get accomplished before I make my daughters school uniform jumpers (waiting on fabric and pattern to arrive from the US that I ordered this past week), I decide to pick some low hanging fruit and get a couple easy projects done.

The first were a few small "piddle pads" for my daughter's car seat. We're in the process of toilet training, and while we've never had issues in the car, it's much easier to take a small thin pad up with us to clean than unhook the entire cover and bring that up to wash. She is only 2 after all. Mistakes will happen, I'm sure.

One side is PUL (the owl fabric) and the other is a soft flannel fabric, both picked out by my daughter, so she'll definitely like these when she sees them in the morning. I think we're going to keep two and send two to her friend Meghan who is also starting to toilet train now. I have more fabric so I can always make more for us if we need it.

I also broke down and hemmed a pair of my husbands jeans that have been languishing in my sewing nook for probably close to a year. I think my husband even forgot that we had purchased them for him. I tried a new-to-me method of hemming jeans I came across on Pinterest. You can check it out here:

And here's a picture of the results I achieved:

I'm not 100% happy with the results, but it was 85% easier than the way I learned when I worked at the alteration shop in my college days and the tutorial itself is well done with clear to follow steps and pictures.

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Stress-Free Cookies on Short Notice

Many people are shocked when they find out I have a daughter with severe allergies and I've had to make a lot of what we eat from scratch and have to bring food from home for my daughter 98% of the time. All this on top of the fact that I go to school part-time, I own and operate a growing business, and I'm the primary caretaker of my daughter. But food is important, so I've learned some survival tactics and I'm going to share some of them with you over this year. Maybe you don't have children with allergies, but this tip applies to any busy person out there who looks after food in the household.

Homemade cookies aren't hard. The secret is something my Aunt B. shared with me: most cookie recipes can be frozen. Take a cookie sheet, or sheets, and drop the cookies on the sheet and freeze for a few hours (or day if you forget like I often do) and then transfer into a freezer bag (we use washed out milk bags since they are free). The cookies don't have to be as far apart as when you're baking them, but they should be the same size. They just need to not touch each other on the cookie sheet while freezing. When you bake them, follow the oven temperature and time on the recipe and keep your eyes on them the first time cooking them from the freezer to get a feel for the right amount of additional time and note that on the upper corner of your recipe for next time. For example, my Betty Crocker oatmeal cookies take an extra two or so minutes.

My suggestion, is to pick a day or time when you have time to make cookies. I usually involve our two year old in the pouring and stirring process. Messy? Yes. But the look of pride on her face when we sit and have a cookie together is priceless. We bake 6 or so cookies for my family (more if we're planning on fattening the neighbours too), and then freeze the rest for next time. This works great because we really don't need a couple dozen cookies or whatever the recipe makes sitting around our house until we eat them up. If you are a parent of children with allergies, you can easily on short notice, without a lot of stress, whip up a few cookies your child can eat at what ever event you are going to. It's super easy to pop a couple frozen cookies in the oven while you're getting dressed and your house will smell great too!

Monday, September 10, 2012

Milk & Honey Quilt

I have a ton of things I should be posting. . . but I'm super excited about this right now, so here we go.

I saw this posted on and fell in love with the quilt. It unfortunately wasn't posted to pinterest in a way that gave me any information as to what it was, or who designed it.
Off to I go to ask for help. Well, a few lovely individuals had some great information to share. And I was able to discover that this is likely an American Jane quilt pattern called Pretzel Party. 

Now, looking at it. A few people were put off by the fact that it had so many Y-seems. I happen to love hexagons used in quilts, but aren't such a big fan of fiddling around with Y-seems. So, I've started to redraft it to make it possible to cut out with my AccuQuilt Studio hexagons and 3" strips and be able to sew it with very few Y-seems. 

It's still really, really rough (i.e., nothing is to scale), but I think you can get the idea of how it would go together from this image:
What do you think? I can see where I need to make a couple more edits to make it all straight seems on this quilt. But I also see that it is totally do-able.

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

WIP Wednesday--iSpy Drunkard's Path Nearly Complete

I'm so close, I can feel it. The quilting is done, now I just need to bury and trim my threads and then bind it. 

I didn't pay any particular attention to colour values when laying out the quilt. I just treated it like a scrappy and didn't put two of the same fabrics side-by-side. 

My daughter already loves it and has been following my progress with it since I got the 5" squares back from an iSpy swap I participated in. I guess I better make a decision on the binding so I can actually finish a quilt. I'm leaning toward a solid red binding since I already have the perfect one in my stash, I can just replace it for the project it was planned for when I get around to actually completing the project.

I'm already planning my next projects: [insert evil laugh here] 

* I'd like to make myself a purple suede business card holder. I created a sample of the pattern I came up with in a thick paper to see how I like it before I cut into my prized thrift store suede (I cut up the ugly jackets nobody wants to wear).

* I'm planning on a Hungry Caterpillar pillowcase to match my daughter's sheet since she doesn't want me to take her Dr. Seuss pillowcase off and put a regular boring adult one on.

* I want to start the embroidery on my daughter's day of the week outfit organizers. I found some really cute vintage cat embroidery patterns (my daughter is obsessed with cats, guess it's better than Disney princesses!) 

Here are one of the cats. If you are interested in seeing the rest I have links on this pinterest board:

Check out what everyone else is working on here:

the Needle and Thread Network


WIP Wednesday at Freshly Pieced