January 31, 2014

Oh Snap! Birthday Card

Hello and welcome back!  I'm sharing another recent card creation today; this time for a dear male friend whose birthday is today (Jan. 31).  As many of us will agree, somehow masculine creations can be tricky - you often don't want it too sentimental and many guys just aren't cool about 'girly' icons (hearts, butterflies, flowers, etc.), although to be fair, I wouldn't be thrilled about receiving a card with monster trucks and hunting motifs so fair enough.

However, all of that was *not* a problem with this card.  In fact, this card basically designed itself and was super quick and easy!  Don't you just love when that happens?

So since I haven't scrapped for a month, I decided I would look for inspiration by rooting through my scrap basket.  The "oh snap!" Simple Stories strip jumped right out at me - the humour would be a perfect start to this card.  Then the scrap of diagonal stripe paper, also by Simple Stories, which happened to be the exact size of an A6 card base - it was like these pieces were meant to make this card.  Zigzag stitched them together and I was half way home.

So I grabbed the rest of my Simple Stories leftovers from the Barcelona album I made Alice.  There is nothing birthday or celebratory related in this line of papers but I thought the month tiles and little calendars would be perfect for highlighting my friend's birthday so popped and layered them on top and circled the correct day on the calendar.  Finally, a cute red arrow clip and a few sequins later and I called this card done.  Easy peasy!

January 29, 2014

Posh Birthday Cake Card

So after a month long break from crafting over the holidays, I finally made the first few tentative steps back into creating.  I have to admit that I was helped along by two fabulous treats in the post:

1. A new set of clear stamps featuring awesome build-your-own posh birthday cake pieces, decorations and sentiments, courtesy of the January issue of Papercraft Inspirations.

2. A box of prize goodies from a Stash Busters challenge I won a few months ago over on 2Peas.  Goodies included a 6x6 paper pad of Dear Lizzy Lucky Charm (awesome!), an Amy Tan phrase roller stamp, ribbon, puffy stickers and some decorations.

So I got to work playing with my new stamps, some watercolour paints and one of the papers from the Dear Lizzy pad as my card background.  And here we go:

How cute is that cake?  There were some unfortunate imperfections with the cake stand and flower stamps where the acrylic had gaps but I was able to colour them in with a black fine liner pen.  I actually stamped the cake onto the back of some old single-sided patterned paper that I'm no longer particularly fond of - a great way to use up old scraps.  And since I still don't have any Pro Markers (really must get around to investing in some), I used watercolour paints to colour the cake and the edging of the circle to define the edge from that of the doily underneath.

The little pennants I made from a wash of the same watercolours and paper, which I then free hand cut into little triangles and stamped the recipient's name.  The piano key ribbon was part of a set of black and white prize winnings I received from a summer contest - even though there is nothing musical about the rest of the card, the occasion or the recipient, I think it works really well together.

Then I decided that I wanted to bring more of the pink onto the inside of the card so I made a quick wash of colour and stamped the sentiment over top of it.  It makes for a fun surprise when you open it up.

January 26, 2014

Pinspiration Sunday

Hey there and welcome back to a new year of Pinspiration!  To be completely honest, I had planned to post a new set of pins last weekend and then decided I would be lazy.  Bad me, but to be fair, I hadn't been online for some time and hadn't really been in touch with what was new out there.  That's not been a problem this week so go grab your hot beverage of choice and here we go!


* listening - to upstairs neighbours making strange noises above my head...
* reading - catching up on magazine subscriptions
* making - UFO class photo LO
* eating - roast chicken sandwich *Homer drool*
* drinking - water
* wearing - jeans, knit shirt, hoddie
* weather - snowy, -4C
* feeling - warm & cosy
* wanting - 7-day weekends
* needing - to co-ordinate key drop-off with chimney sweeps this week
* planning - next few scrapping & sewing projects
* thinking - as little as possible
* loving - having a 2-day weekend to myself, tucked up in bed
* enjoying - Oskar snuggled next to me

And now on to the pins...

How awesome is this family tree quilt?  Of course, it doesn't hurt that it uses both orange and turquoise colour palettes or that it incorporates an owl in the design.

Okay, technically not a pin but I recent discovered Camille's sewing blog and have really been enjoying her work so I'm passing along her link.

OMG, a real reason to use hexies!  Okay, forgive me if you're a hexie lover - I am not but I can totally get behind pretty much anything that's made into a cupcake (real or otherwise).

It's that time of year again when folks are making their New Years resolutions so why not document them?  I quite liked Celine's take on the concept.

Or perhaps you're more of a summariser and if so, then perhaps this monthly review approach is more your style.  I really liked the circular design and the mix of stamps and bits and bobs.

Does anyone actually send out New Years cards?  I can't for the life of me remember getting any growing up (but then my memory isn't great at the best of times) so perhaps this is a newer trend I'm not familiar with but either way, I like the split diagonal design of this cad and the layered tag and mini bunting.

Okay, you need to understand that I am utterly rubbish at knitting.  Utterly.  However, I have this wild hope to learn to crochet this year and I really love the look of crocheted edges on the right quilts.

See now, if I ever do learn to crochet, I can make a whole *stare* of these adorable owls.  (Yes, that's right, I worked in the collective noun for a group of owls - I am just that much of a geek.)

And here's a cheery colour palette to share with you today - just love that combination of yellow/orange and turquoise!

January 25, 2014

Persian Pickle Project

Hellooo!  Yes, I know, I've disappeared again.  I've had such good intentions of posting this month but the days have been jammed packed and just flown by and that means trying to recover with as much sleep as possible.  Now that I've enjoyed a full 12 hours in bed (luxurious, right?) I'm feeling motivated to catch myself up on a few things so here we go...

Persian Pickle Project
What is this 'Persian Pickle' thing, you ask?  Well, the idea is based on the book, The Persian Pickle Club.  It's a story about a quilting circle of women in Kansas, USA during the Great Depression.  They come together to sew, quilt and support each other and because times are difficult, they swap fabric scraps with each other.  One of the women has a large bolt of Persian pickle fabric (AKA paisley) that her husband bought for her and she shares it out among the women and so this one fabric infuses itself into all of their creations, binding them together, as it were.  It's a book on my to-read list and I should probably see about reading it this year.  My friends whom have read it highly recommend it, so if it sounds like something you'd like, go for it!

Anyway, back to the project.  My Haberdashery club has been looking for a group project to work on together and as you might now have surmised, we've decided to use this book as our inspiration.  So here's how it's going to work:

1. Everyone will donate a 15cm square 'scrap' of fabric to each member of the group.  We can either give a different or identical fabric to each person, the choice is ours.  I personally like the idea of giving the same fabric to everyone, as it will be easy to pick out each person's contributing fabric from everyone's creations.

2. Each member will create a finished project (could be a mini quilt, wall hanging, table topper/runner, etc.) measuring 40cm square and it MUST have everyone's fabric scrap donations used in it somewhere.  We can also add additional fabrics to complete the design, too.

3. The project needs to be completed for our up-coming quilt guild exhibition September 2014.

How fun is that?  I'm thinking that I'd like to choose a fabric that really represents me, so something with bright colours (probably including a splash of orange in there somewhere) and retro/modern prints, likely very geometric.  We'll be swapping fabrics at our next meeting in February so I'll share a snapshot of my fabrics then.  So excited - can't wait to see what everyone makes!

The Sewing Corner Project
So two weeks ago I mentioned my plans to convert my old desktop computer corner into a permanent sewing corner.  Well, I have been making some (slow) progress on that project, I'm pleased to say.  As I mentioned in that post, I spent part of the day hauling an old wardrobe in pieces out of my attic storage into a trash container.  Doing so has made a big space in the attic where I plan to store the shelving unit for the old desk.

I know some of you suggested that I keep the shelving unit on the desk, as it might come in handy but unfortunately, the design of how the shelves attach to the desktop severely limits the amount of workspace and wouldn't work with the way I want to position the desk in the room so I'm happy to remove it and find other solutions.  The unfortunate consequence of having moved an old wardrobe in one day, however, is that I woke up Monday morning almost completely lame from the knees down and could barely stand or walk.  It took a week to get back to a pain-free state.  Not one of my finest moments.

Anyway, last weekend I spent some time cleaning off all of the 'stuff' that had accumulated on said desk for the last year - it had sort of become my random dumping grounds for stuff and then turned into a black void.  Most things have now either been pitched or found new (proper) homes.  There are just a few things that I plan to pack up into a box to relocate in the attic along with the shelf.  So, progress indeed!  Now the next step is to do a final boot-up of the old desktop computer and backup the files onto my new external drive and then it will be shipped off to a friend's to use the monitor and spare parts for whatever she wants.  Nearly there - more photos coming soon.

And in other news, it was my birthday yesterday!  Nothing exciting, I have to say.  I went out to supper the Thursday night with friends and that was lovely.  No birthday cake but I did have some truly awesome panecotta at the Italian restaurant we went to:

This year was the year of little notebooks and owl decoration gifts.  My friend Ingrid really hit the nail perfectly on the head with the little notebook she got me:

Travel Tidbits Notebook

How cute is this?  This little notebook is filled with all sorts of fun pages - some lined paper, some library-style pockets, some plastic insert pages, etc.  There's even a plastic zippered pouch at the back!  It's like a traveling scrapbooker's dream notebook.

Now you know, when I go on holiday, I save all sorts of little things - entry tickets, postcards, local stamps, brochures, business cards, etc.  I always come home with a pile of things that I've saved to later incorporate into my travel LOs.  Well, my current 'organisational process' for this goes along these lines: fly home, unpack suitcase, put all ephemera into random plastic bag, store plastic bag with X-number of similar plastic bags from previous trips alongside scrapbooking supplies (creating an increasingly unsightly mess in lounge).  As Ingrid stated, now I can pop all of these little bits and bobs into my new travel notebook - brilliant!

As for my actual birthday yesterday, I had a bit of a lingering headache / eye strain all day yesterday, which was unfortunate, but my students were super excited that it was my birthday (they're 7 and 8-years-old, remember, so birthdays are a BIG thing).  They sang me Happy Birthday in the morning, including clapping out my age (really *didn't* need that...heh) and then insisted that I choose a birthday treat from my teacher prize drawer, which they said would be their gift from all of them to me (even though one clever soul pointed out that all of those prizes were already mine to begin with - ha!).  Then during choosing time at the end of the day, many of the girls made me handmade cards and even gave me some of their own special pencils and rubbers.  All together now: Awww...

There's a bunch more on the whiteboard, not shown.

Today I'm enjoying a whole weekend to myself, where with the exception of needing to go grocery shopping at some point, I'm intending to leave my bed as little as possible - pure bliss.

January 12, 2014

Welcome Back to 2014!

Hello, hello!

It's been a while, eh?  I hope you've all had a wonderful and relaxing holiday season.  I spent 2.5 weeks back in Canada over Christmas and New Years.  We had some pretty extreme weather - perhaps you've also experienced it, too.  Two days after I flew in we were hit with a 3-day long ice storm that coated everything with a solid inch and a half to two inches of ice.  This led to snapped hydro wires and falling trees, which left close to a hundred thousand Ontarians without power, some for as long as a week and a half.  Surprisingly, despite my parents living out in the middle of no where, we were quite lucky and only lost power for about an hour and a half on the Friday and six hours in the early morning on Saturday.  We hunkered down and waited out the storm, then had the joy of chipping out the driveway - I took the sledgehammer to it and have a great photo of me brandishing my toy (along with 9 - yes *9* blisters!).

I also experienced my first frost quake.  Never heard of a frost quake?  Me neither (nor anyone else I know) but in a nutshell, it's when it's so cold out that the ground water freezes rather suddenly and then the surrounding earth around it breaks and shifts, causing a loud boom and quake.  This happened one of the days (can't remember which) around 11pm in Toronto and despite my parents' house being more than a hour's drive away from the city, we heard and felt the frost quake!  We actually thought at the time that it was one of the tree limbs breaking from the weight of the ice and landing on the roof but thankfully not.

And finally, did you hear that's it's been colder in Canada than on Mars?  Seriously!  On my way back into Toronto for my flight home to Sweden, it was a bone-chilling -31C!  My mum has since emailed me to say that it's been -40C for several days.  That's cold even for Canucks (but we're still out braving the weather).  ;)

Anyway, back here in tropical 7C Sweden, I've been working on putting some plans - I hesitate to call them actual resolutions at this point - into work.

1. Try new recipes AKA get back on track with cooking & eating properly/weight loss.  I've long been a fan of Janet & Greta Podleski's Looneyspoons cookbooks and for Christmas I received their newest book, The Looneyspoons Collection.  I have a goal to make at least one new recipe a month, but ideally I'd like to try one a week.

So far so good - last week I made Fee, Fie, Faux Fried Chicken and OMG, I may have fallen in love!  I mean, look at it:

Serious love affair.  You may just want to join me on this one.  And I've gotten back into cooking regularly at home - the whole bathroom reno nightmare caused problems with that for a long time and bad habits formed but no more!  I've also balanced in 1-2 vegetarian days a week and today I picked up some Kravg yoghurt (vanilla flavoured), recommended by a friend - it's extremely high in protein (6.2g) while extremely low in fat (0.2g) and it was super yummy!  So I'm swapping out my usual fruit yoghurt with breakfast for some vanilla Kravg.

2. Set up a proper sewing station and scrapbooking station.  So last year I didn't get much sewing done.  To be fair, it's challenging to juggle two crafty hobbies and scrapbooking has a lot more immediate satisfaction, since I can start and complete a page a day, compared to a quilt that takes (for me) months.  Part of this problem, however, is that I have no dedicated sewing area so I have to drag out the machine and supplies every time I want to sew and then put them all back and that's just a hassle.

So the new plan is to clean off the computer desk in the living room (which hasn't really been used except as a massive dumping ground since I changed from a desktop computer to a laptop), remove the shelving unit from the top and then swing the desk around to stand behind and parallel to the chaise lounge of my sofa.  This will give me a corner of the living room to work and I'll be able to look out into the room (or watch a bit of telly while sewing) instead of facing a wall.

Current desk disaster - hopefully soon-to-be sewing corner!

And for scrapbooking, I'm going to invest in the Ikea wooden kitchen island I've been wanting to use.  So far I've practised using my ironing board, set at the same height and it's worked really well for my style of work so now I just need to commit to the idea.

Today in preparation of re-doing this sewing room corner, I spent two hours hauling pieces of an old wardrobe out of my attic storage into a rubbish container.  It was a wee bit grueling, to say the least, but now I have a good chunk of space to put the unnecessary shelf from the desk up there and really start making progress on this plan.

Well, that's what I've been up to since returning from holiday.  No crafty goodness yet but I'll keep you posted.  Cheers!