February 26, 2014

WIP Wednesday

Hello, hello!  Well, it's been a few days - work is a rollercoaster, as always.  But I have something to share with you today.  You may recall that back in January (this post, to be exact), I mentioned my plans to take an old and long unused computer desk and convert it into a sewing corner.  Well, check this out:

 (Apologies for the poor lighting.)

So I cleaned off the old desktop computer, which will be going to a friend, plus all the other junk (for lack of a better description).  I took off the shelving unit that was attached to the top of the desk - it was rather confining and I wanted to not have the desk facing the wall; then turned the desk around to look into the room and get some natural light from the nearby window.

Here's a closer look into the corner.  As it turned out, the shelving unit was still reasonably sturdy on its own and it literally *just* fit next to the larger shelving unit (which also gave it extra support on the weaker side).  I've filled it with my scrapbooking supplies and it's so nice to finally have a proper place for things now and not have to dig around in dark, cramp piles!

I haven't actually had time yet to sit down and sew but having this dedicated space is really making me want to.  Which leads me to my next share for today.  On Sunday I shared a pin to this layer cake sampler quilt-along:

I've decided that I'm going to jump in and join and I'm so excited!  I don't have any layer cakes so I went through my fat quarter collection and my scraps and have pulled out a large stack of fabrics and even started cutting.  I'm going to use 8" square blocks so that my final finished blocks measure 12" square.

Linking up to Lee at Freshly Pieced:


February 23, 2014

Pinspiration Sunday

Well, here we are back at Sunday.  I can't believe I've successfully blogged for nine consecutive days!  It's amazing what you can get done when work doesn't get the in the way.  Sadly, that will all change with returning to work tomorrow...  But let's not dwell on that just yet.  Go grab your hot beverage of choice and we'll enjoy some photo love.


* watching - nothing good on the telly
* reading - Still Alice
* making - nothing today (break!)
* eating - stir fry & noodles
* drinking - water
* wearing - jeans & long-sleeve top
* weather - clear, 4C
* feeling - accomplished
* wanting - to start a quilt-along
* needing - to go to bed early
* planning - a little self improvement
* thinking - just 8 more weeks to Easter break...
* loving - my re-arranged living room (more on Wednesday)
* enjoying - Canada's Olympic gold hockey medal WHOOT!

And now on to the pins!

Want to continue getting your Olympic fix even though the Games have officially closed?  Try this beautiful batiks quilt inspired by the 2014 Winter Games artwork.

I just found this great sampler quilt-along by Material Girl.  All of the blocks use HST and are very quick and easy to put together.  The plan is to make two blocks each over ten weeks and late-comers are welcome.

Are you a (crazy) cat lady or one in the making?  Then you might like these cute Internet-inspired free embroidery patterns.

If you love having different handbags but hate the transferring of your stuff from one to another, here's the solution - handmade, of course!

I'm totally in love with triangles!  I love this yummy orange and turquoise triangle border paper and the popped-up effect used to add dimension.  So cool!

Remember I said I love triangles?  I really like the visual triangle and little bits and bobs clustered on these floating triangles.

Julie Kirk sells these fun little ephemera packs on her Etsy shop.  If you like ephemera, these could be a great option - paper, embellishments, bits and bobs, etc. and all co-ordinated to work together.

Lawn Fawn has some fun new shaped word clips in super pretty colours.  There are a nice variety so go check them out.

This is such a pretty champagne-like colour palette.

February 22, 2014

An Elf's Work is NEVER Easy

I have a second LO I worked on the other day during my crop with Anya.  I decided to knuckle down and tackle my Christmas photos again.  Before we get to the LO goodies, I do have a little review of my thoughts on this year's collection choice.

As I mentioned in a previous post, I was struggling with using the Reflections Christmas collection I bought for my 2013 Christmas series.  A large part of this difficulty I realised, was due to the majority of the papers either being very bold text prints or dark/busy patterns that don't work well with journaling directly onto the background papers.  As a result, I've had to mix in a lot more patterned paper from other collections, which is fine but I really enjoyed just sticking to the one collection last year.

I've also noticed that the Reflections Christmas has two different values of red, which don't really go well together - especially the red letter stickers with the crimson patterned paper.  That's been a bit disappointing so I've been resorting to other letter stickers and Thickers, which again is fine but shouldn't have to be the case and using just those that typically come with the collection helps retain unity across different pages in a series.

My final critique of Reflections Christmas is that the sticker sheet isn't as versatile as last year's.  There are a lot of repetitive tags/banners that say 'Christmas'; more than necessary, IMO - and yet not enough shaped element stickers.  There also seem to be significantly more large stickers (again, large tags or banners), so that overall there are fewer stickers on the sheet.  I find myself looking over the options feeling like I'm missing something when I get to embellishing.

Now, don't get me wrong - I love Echo Park collections and Lori Whitlock's in particular!  But I don't feel that this specific collection was thought through thoroughly enough in these regards.  It's still a beautiful collection, but it needs a little tweeking.

Okay, on to the LO!  This is a little story about the balancing act that is being the Christmas Elf who hands out the gifts on Christmas Day.  I added in a 6x6 paper from Dear Lizzy's Lucky Charm for the journaling block.

Most of the embellishments are from the sticker sheet, although I also worked in an OA label sticker, Crate Paper border sticker (The Pier browns work really nicely with Reflections Christmas) and some Fancy Pants cork embellishments.  I also used some pretty red rhinestones I picked up from the local craft shop - I had been thinking of using enamel dots but Christmas requires some special sparkle.

For the title, I opted for Crate Paper's Funkydori Thickers.  Even though the word 'never' is all in captials, I wanted it to stand out a little more and have some extra special treatment so I used my brown distress ink and applicator to give it an ombre effect.

And here you can see those luscious red rhinestones and some of the fun twine twisted around the corner.  I also wanted to add in some wax seals.  I used to seal all of my handmade Christmas card envelopes with wax seals a number of years ago, but it takes a long time when you're doing 50 or so cards so I sort of slowly stopped doing it but I love the look and thought it would be a nice addition to my LOs.

February 21, 2014

A Great Love Story - 1st Valentine

We interrupt this regularly scheduled blog update for a special post-Valentine layout!

Perhaps this sounds shocking but I've never made a Valentine's LO before; I've never really had reason to.  Until now.  You see, over the Christmas holidays while I was visiting my parents and the ice storms hit, we spent part of an evening without hydro.  We lit candles and huddled down under blankets in the living room and just talked; and my Mum shared with me the most touching story about my grandfather buying me my first Valentine card just weeks after I was born.  In fact, that whole first year of my life, he bought me a card for every celebration.  Cue sappy nostalgia and I knew I had to record this precious story.

My original inspiration for this LO actually came from some Dear Lizzy patterned paper of colourful little envelopes sealed with hearts.  I had every intention of using it on this LO but it was just too busy and detracting from the other elements but it sparked the inspiration to use the mini envelopes with hearts in lieu of a photo or the card itself.

I'm totally in love with this collage of elements; there are so many little bits and bobs I've been holding onto for just the 'right' LO - the Maggie Holmes fabric frames (especially this polka dot one with 'loved' stitched onto it), the Amy Tan ticket, the resin cameo from Marianne's lovely Stash Busters prize parcel, the little yellow bow - the list goes on.

I loved the vintage watercolour slide frame of the original Crate Paper patterned paper I used for the background.  Then I did some mixed media work on it; creating a gold sunburst coming out of the envelopes with some Heidi Swapp gold lame mist, some texture paste hearts between the rays and then an explosion of some truly awesome puffy stickers I found at my local grocery store of all places!  Some fairly generous Heidi Swapp primrose spatters, too.

Incidentally, I've since asked my Mum about that old Valentine card and if there's any chance she may still have it.  It may be buried in a baby album or an old photo album; I'll have to see when I return for Christmas again this year but either way, the story is now recorded and when I've finally found the right words, they'll find a home in that little pink envelope.  Love you, Grandpa.

February 20, 2014

Picture Day 2007

Hello, hello!  Yesterday I enjoyed a fun crop day with my friend Anya.  Our last crop day was last summer so it's been a while.  So lovely to chat and craft away together.  And it seems that my stash is now rivaling boutique status, as every item she had forgotten or didn't have on hand and asked me about, I had (and then some).  Oh dear...  At least I can justify using it regularly.

I made two LOs yesterday; wrapping up another class photo.

I finally found some papers that helped to compensate for the green undertones on my last class photo - I off-set the green with some bold magenta and went with a monochromatic scheme to give it some bold impact, what with all of that drab grey back dropping.  The ledger paper is actually upside down and the black and white flowers I fussy cut with my awesome new Fiskars finger craft knife from the photo mat paper.

Embellishments included some Heidi Swapp primrose colour spray and stickers from Echo Park's Here and Now collection and Simple Stories' Vintage Bliss.

I love these Amy Tan Wish Thickers - they are so versatile and I've used them on so many projects.  I knew I wanted to put the class stats in the box at the bottom but that it wouldn't be enough to fill the space so I cut out some little cameras from one of the EP papers (in an ombre, even) and added some machine stitching to fill the gap.

Final embellishment shot with cute ampersand and glasses.

I'll be back tomorrow to share my second LO from the crop day - I was still tweaking it this morning and I want to make sure it's 'done' before releasing it upon the world.

February 19, 2014

WIP Wednesday

Wow - busy, busy day in a busy, busy week!  So that means I have things to share with you today.

Let's start with my very slow-going embroidery quilt: Nice People, Nice Things.  As I have probably mentioned more than once, I started this quilt several years ago and although I love embroidery work, I don't sit down at home and work on it very frequently.  It's normally my go-to project for quilt guild days and Haberdashery work but sometimes I get the bit between my teeth at home, too, which has been the case during the break and that means I've finished the month #7 blocks!  Hurray, hurrah!

I really enjoyed stitching these blocks - the handbags, flowers and butterfly were among my favourites to make.  I've already transferred month #8's designs onto their fabrics so I can start the next batch soon.  Slow and steady wins the race...

I also spent the day with friends Ingrid and Birgitta planning a new quilting project, which all three of us will be creating together.  I can't give too much away just yet but suffice it to say that we decided on a pattern, bought fabric (sooo pretty!) and even got the blocks started.  So that's off to a great start.  Here's a little sneak of the fabric choices...

And finally, I chose a background fabric for my Persian Pickle project but I forgot to photograph it to share.  I'll try to remember to do that tomorrow, provided the sun is co-operating better than it was today.  I tried a few different colours and then some black but nothing was really pleasing me - they were either too flat or didn't work well with the random fabric swatches we're using.  Then I found a rich brown with varying undertones of pinks, creams and blues so I'm hoping that will work well.

February 18, 2014

Christmas 2013 Portrait

Hello, hello and welcome back!

Okay, so I finally got started on scrapbooking my Christmas 2013 photos.  I don't know about you but I seem to need a little breathing time between returning from Christmas and scrapping Christmas photos and memories.  And if I'm being entirely honest with you, I've also felt a bit intimidated about starting on my Christmas LOs because last year's turned out such a wild success, I think there's been a part of me that wonders how I'll ever recreate just how pleased I was with their results.  Does that sound completely ridiculous?  Well, either way, I finally broke the ice.

There were a number of elements about last year's Christmas LOs that I felt really worked well.  The black and white photos really added a nice elegance and removed the issue of colour clashing between my mother's dark rose and mauve interior design and the typical Christmas red of paper and embellishments.  I also really like using 20x30cm photo enlargements for chapter LOs in my albums so I thought I would repeat that again this year.  In fact, I used the exact same sketch, as it worked so well with this gorgeous framed ledger paper with the pretty Merry Christmas corner design.

This year's supplies will include red/white twine, gold accents (gold lame mist, resin flowers, Thickers, etc.), doilies, enamel dots, probably sequins again and I've also pulled out my wax seals, which I had planned to work into this cluster but the spacing and balance just weren't right for it.

Here's a close-up of that pretty pre-printed corner detail.  I added in some gold lame mist, a tiny bit of stamping and then the embellishments and date number stickers.

And now I'm stuck.  I pulled out the next Christmas photo I wanted to scrap and I just haven't been able to get anything to work with it the way I like.  In reflecting on why this is, I've realised the difference between this year's and last year's collections is that nearly all of this year's papers are very busy and often text-based and therefore not good for writing directly onto.  I'm going to have to add in some additional papers for journaling on (and I don't feel I have much that co-ordinates well), work in journaling cards & tags or try painting over spots to compensate for this.  I'm sure I'll work it out, it's just going to take a bit more playing with than I had expected.  Wish me luck!

February 17, 2014

Picture Day 2009

Hello and welcome back!  So it's Monday morning and I'm *not* at work - long live the sports break!  I've been enjoying my time off catching myself up on some embroidery work (I'll share that later in the week) and yesterday I finally dug into the *huge* tower of new photos and scrapbooking goodies so you can expect some regular updates and posts here throughout the week.

However, I've had this UFO from my series of class photos sitting on my scrapping board from around the end of November or start of December.  Now, you have to understand, when it comes to scrapbooking, I pretty much never leave a LO unfinished once started (completely the opposite of my quilting, it seems...)  So clearly, that needed attention first.

In my last 2Peas order, I picked up Chic Tags' new paper line and absolutely fell in love with this bright, bold diagonal stripe paper.  I had been struggling with getting all the embellishments to work on the shelf design but with a fresh set of eyes, I decided to go in a slightly different direction and as is often the case, it worked much better.

The pinwheel I made myself and this LO features a wood veneer camera for the running camera motif in this series.  Some little leftover bits and bobs worked in here, too.

Glammed up the title with some gorgeous turquoise glitter Thickers - I just love these and their larger size works really well with photo enlargements.  I didn't have any letter 'u's left so I snipped apart a 'w', which worked for both the 'u' and the 'r' - how awesome is that?!  Love that little OA 'look' brad, too.

And speaking of brads, I decided it was high time to really start using up some stash and used a whole bunch of OA Travel Girl and MME Notable brads, mixing and matching them together with the clusters.

So with this LO completed, I'm close to being finished this school photo series.  I have one more class photo from years ago, for which I'm struggling to find a good paper combination as despite being a professional job and printing, the colour levels aren't great and there's a slight green weight dulling them and making them look 'bleh'.  Then I need to rescan this academic year's class photo, as I didn't seem to email it to myself and now haven't a clue where I've saved it.  I've also been thinking I should see if I can find a copy of my first class photo from work when I started out as a personal teaching assistant - might have to call in the colleague cavalry for that one.  Still debating on the staff photos...

In any event, I'll be switching things up for a bit as I get to work scrapping Christmas photos from 2013 and I even have a touching Valentine's historical LO I'm piecing together in my head and may actually get done later today.

Stay tuned!

February 16, 2014

Pinspiration Sunday

Good evening!  I suddenly realised that if I didn't post my Pinspiration picks soon, it wouldn't be Sunday for much longer.  Don't you just love lazy days that get away from you like that?  So, go grab your hot beverage of choice and cosy up with me.


* watching - Winter Olympics
* reading - The Persian Pickle Club (half way through - really enjoying it)
* making - embroidery quilt & scrapbooking
* eating - baked potato & asparagus
* drinking - water
* wearing - PJ trousers and jumper
* weather - partly cloudy, 5C
* feeling - relaxed
* wanting - more arms/hands
* needing - a hair appointment
* planning - a special Valentine's LO
* thinking - very little and it's all good
* loving - spending the day in bed
* enjoying - having a long catch-up with my Mum

And now on to the pins...

Perhaps it's just me but I quite fancy the cute little elephant baby trend the last few years.  This would make a cute wallhanging or play mat for baby.
I really love the garden lattice design and I totally fell in love with Cindy's yellow and grey full-sized garden lattice quilt so a mini is just as awesome.

This is just some photo inspiration - there is no pattern - but it wouldn't be difficult to design and put together.  Tooth pillows are just so popular right now and 'who' could resist these adorable owls?  (Not me, clearly.)

I've made similar idea nappy wraps and changing pads for friends in the past.  This is like the deluxe model with the terry towel lining and the nappy pocket.  Again, just photo inspiration, no pattern but not difficult to design.
How great is this non-traditional winter LO in pinks and oranges?  The warmth is just glorious and the layering and embellishing are lovely, too.  Good stuff.

There is so much to love about this 2-pager: the little tracks of shaped paper clips, the Chinese characters, the little typed journaling boxes with doodled edges, the mist spatters and so on and so on.

Okay, I haven't actually read through this entire article (yet) but the parts I have read have been good so far so I'm recommending it.

And once you've learnt the basics, why not play a little with some old book pages for some unique art for your creations?

It's been a while since I shared a sketch and this one caught my eye for a LO I'm starting to plan out in my head.  Perhaps it will also spark your creative flow, too.

I also really like the striking hexie pie chart on this sketch.  A square photo or portrait 4x6 look the nicest with this sketch, just FYI.

This photo and colour palette is just so pretty.  I could see some real show-stopper quilts or LOs made with these colours - that bold turquoise with the softer periwinkle hues and warm neutrals.  Swoon.

And finally, with the exception that I would swap coffee for tea, this is totally my mantra this week.  :)

February 15, 2014

Persian Pickle Project Fabric Reveal

I'm tempted to say 'Good morning!' but the truth of the matter is it's actually noon and I'm still tucked up in bed - glorious.  So instead it will be a merry good afternoon to you (dear reader)!  Pardon me while I enjoy a random Miranda Hart moment - love it!

So this week my Haberdashery group met to exchange our fabric choices for our Persian Pickle project.  I have to say, it's been hard waiting to see what everyone chose - I'm not always very good about anticipation like that.  Just to refresh your memory, this was my contribution fabric.

Anyway, here are our twelve fabrics, each measuring 15cm square:

My friend Ingrid and I had many a conversation about what fabrics we thought people would choose - I think there's a fascinating psychology to all of this.  Incidentally, Ingrid's fabric is the beautiful fuscia batik and Birgitta's is the rich, electric blue.  I thought it was interesting how many pinks/roses and neutrals were selected and then there's Lisbeth's fun sewing supplies fabric, just to really throw in a fun twist.

I already have a plan for what I'm going to make.  As there are a dozen of us, and the group is about talking just as much as it is sewing - and you know what they say about woman sounding like a gaggle of geese...  So the Circle of Geese block seemed like a fitting choice.

I had already bought some white for the background but considering how pale many of the fabrics are, I'm going to change that up to something more dramatic; just haven't decided what yet.  The block is paper pieced and finishes (without borders) at 12 inches square.  I'm contemplating simplifying things by hand appliqueing the geese straight onto the backing fabric and skipping the whole paper piecing process - not that I dislike paper piecing but appliqueing may give me more flexibility on the final size dimensions.

And so now begins the next big wait to see what everyone does with their pieces!