March 29, 2014

Kiva - March 2014

March is quickly drawing to to a close and that means keeping up my New Year's resolution to support a micro-loan on Kiva.  Over the last two months I've discovered I'm typically drawn to many loans that not only support the lender (obviously) but have a positive environmental impact and this month's loan follows a similar approach.

Matay (Tanzania)

A loan of $1,875 helps Matay to purchase biodigesters for resale.

Matay lives in Gongali Village, Arusha, Tanzania. His main activities are agriculture and animal husbandry. Matay is among several people in Gongali who are really excited with the TAHUDE Foundation's biodigester initiative to provide renewable energy to the rural Tanzanian community.

This loan will help Matay to realize his dream. The biodigester will help Matay to cut down his family expenditure on energy for cooking and lighting. It will also be a blessing to the whole community because a few more trees will NOT be cut for cooking as a result of Matay's biodigester. Moreover, his family health will also improve after they stop cooking with poisonous trees that produce harmful smoke. They will enormously benefit because the biodigester also produces low-cost lighting at night.

At the time of this blog entry, Matay's loan has been 30% supported and has $1300 USD funds to raise to completion.

If you would like to read the full details of Matay's story and perhaps even add your support, you can read his Kiva loan request here.

I also have an exciting update on Sreyleang's loan from January 2014 - she's started the process of paying back her loan (a month earlier than expected, even)!  I did go into a state of giddiness when I saw her first repayment (and incidentally my first received repayment) drop into my Kiva portfolio.  That money has already been put back into good use supporting Matay.  How cool is that?

Please join me on Kiva!

March 26, 2014

WIP Wednesday

It's WIP Wednesday today!

Last Saturday I worked more on my layer cake sampler quilt-along and got another two blocks made up so I'm now 'caught up'.

 Block #9
This orange stripe fabric is some of my favourite.  Love the buttery yellow, too.

 Block #10

Half way done and this little quilt is shaping up quite nicely.  So enjoying this quilt-along!

Linking up to Freshly Pieced.

March 19, 2014

WIP Wednesday

Hello, hello!

I have more photo goodness to share with you today from my on-going layer cake sampler quilt-along.

 Block #5

This yellow fabric was one of a batch of new fabrics in the shop that I just had to have!  So glad I did - it looks fab paired with the white on red polka dot.

 Block #6

 Block #7

Block #8

And this turquoise feather print belongs to that same collection as the yellow above and as you can see, it also came home with me.  The bright yellow matched up well with the yellow in the feathers.  So cheerful.

I can't say how much I've been enjoying this quilt-along.  I look forward to the new block releases each Friday and can't wait to get sewing once Saturday rolls around.

Linking up to Freshly Pieced...

March 16, 2014

Pinspiration Sunday

Post #100!

Wow, I nearly missed noticing it but this is officially the 100th post!  Furthermore, I've ticked over 9000 page views since this little blog started last summer.  Not too shabby, if I dare say so myself.  And of course, a big thank you to all of you who pop by to read, comment and share in my hobbies and snippets of life.  Now, go grab your hot beverage of choice and we'll get the day officially started with some photo love.


* listening - radio
* reading - catching myself up on quilting & papercrafting magazines
* making - layer cake sampler quilt-along
* eating - nothing yet; brunch soon
* drinking - water
* wearing - PJs & cardie
* weather - rainy, 8C
* feeling - hungry
* wanting - to sew, sew, sew!
* needing - to book tickets to Ireland & hostel
* planning - belated Shrove Tuesday (AKA Pancake Day) supper with friends
* thinking - what to do today...
* loving - new fabrics
* enjoying -  lazy Sunday morning in bed

And now on to the pins:

It's chevron, it's turquoise and it's ombre - swoon!  No actual pattern (just HST, after all) but great inspiration and some tips for best effect.

Remember that circle of flying geese pattern I mentioned for my Persian Pickle Project?  Well, take the same paper piecing pattern and make pompoms!

Here's another handy guide for starting free motion quilting, focusing on steps to prepare your machine for the project.

I've been meaning to make a small one of these for ages to put cutlery into when going to quilt guild.  Don't limit yourself just to cutlery, though - you could use these for many different items and adjust the pocket sizes as needed.

I always love Jill's work and these artsy pie charts are such fun!  A nice way to break out of the traditional scrapbooking format and have some fun with scraps, too.

Here's another interesting idea for those of you who want more inspiration for using photo enlargements.  Sandy has cut large slits into her background paper and adhered the photo to the back so that sections peek through to the front - neat visual interest.  I also really like the black doodle lines around each window.

Okay, let me preface this by saying that green is my least favourite colour.  However, this colour palette is just gorgeous!  The mix of limes, turquoise and an unexpected lavender is very refreshing and spring-like.  Love it.

And finally, I stumbled over this adorable quilter's rendition of the 'Soft Kitty' song from Big Band Theory (total fangirl).  Yup, just awesome.

March 15, 2014

Basket Weaving

Today I'm sharing a 'new' creation.  Last Sunday I took a course in how to use old milk cartons (or juice, yoghurt or Swedish 'fil' milk - basically, any Tetrapack brand 1 litre or larger cartons) to weave into a basket.  I made a bread basket but the lady who taught the class regularly makes handbags and totes in all sorts of sizes and patterns.

Side View

For this basket I used 1.5 litre milk cartons and it's a 4x3 base size.  The technique is reasonably easy to get started with, although joining up the corners and finishing the round is a bit trickier.  I reckon total construction time for a first time go was about 4 hours.

Top View

We're going to teach our grade two students how to make smaller versions of these for a fun spring project next month, complete with wrapped string eggs to place inside.  We're a bit mad for it, I'm sure - if only for the sheer volume of cartons we're asking families to bring in, which then need to be cut down to into stripes.  Eek!  I'm guessing I'll be mad as a hatter by the end of it all.  Wish us luck!

March 12, 2014

WIP Wednesday

Two more new blocks to my layer cake sampler quilt-along project:

 Block #3

Just love how block #3 turned out!  I've loved that red and white print since the day I saw it and it pairs so nicely with the turquoise.  The perfect block for these prints.  Or is it the perfect prints for this block?

Block #4

I decided to use these two fabrics for this block because the green and white stripe print is a wee bit light against the white background and grouping them together helps give it more weight.  I also rather liked the symbolism of using a bird patterned fabric in the flying geese block and the green stripe makes me think of them flying over a mowed field.  Yeah, that's right, I'm just that silly.

Linking up to Freshly Pieced...

March 10, 2014

Pinspiration Monday

Yes, I'm a day late with this post but better late than never!  I spent yesterday at a class (will share photos soon) and simply didn't have the time or energy for blogging afterwards so please excuse my tardiness.  Now, go grab your hot beverage of choice and let's catch up on some pins.


* watching - Family Guy re-run (I'm not proud about it)
* reading - between books; I've a LOT of magazines to catch up on
* making - layer cake sampler QAL and "special/secret" quilt
* eating - tomato soup with toast & cheese
* drinking - water
* wearing - yoga outfit & cardie
* weather - clear, 8C
* feeling - fit
* wanting - more crafting time
* needing - more will power with eating
* planning - next two blocks of layer cake sampler QAL (totally obsessed)
* thinking - what a lovely spring day today was
* loving - having successfully done yoga headstand again today (with help)
* enjoying - sewing layer cake sampler QAL

And now on to the pins!

How yummy is this quilt?  Rainbows and triangles - I'm totally in love!  A good choice for using up those scraps, too.

Here's a nice geometric with straight lines and a bit of breathing room around everything.  Love the use of the red and turquoise together with little hints of other colours mixed in subtly.

I'm looking at borrowing a friend's sewing machine over the summer so I can do some free motion quilting.  I've not been able to have a go at it yet so I'm super excited and looking into simple tutorials like this one.
Have you heard about the Modern Quilt Guild?  Perhaps you're already a member but if you're not, if you're a quilter and you love making modern quilts, this might be something that interests you.  You can join either as a guild or individually.
How cute is this sewing machine cover?  I love the patchwork and the pockets with the spool blocks are super cute.  Pattern is available in the book advertised on the website.

And here's another one that uses selvages for a fun DIY pattern.  Can you tell I've been looking into making a sewing machine cover for my new sewing corner?

NOTE: Okay, I honestly had a neat scrapbooking LO to feature but sadly, Blogger won't let me copy over the image and the site domain has expired and isn't working so...  Computer says 'no'.  :(

I just love the rainbow cross stitching on this card and of course, the very trendy Thickers by Amy Tan are fab, too.  Super simple and attractive.

And some more stitching, this time on a map to highlight a location.  Would be great for scrapbooking LOs about one's hometown, a travel destination, a card - so many possibilities!

OMG!  Squee!  Cuteness alert!  Okay, now, I've said this plenty of times but I cannot knit to save my soul.  But, these are just too darn cute to not pin so...

March 08, 2014


Hey, you!  I woke up this morning to a beautiful, clear blue sky (after a week and a half of on-again, off-again fog) and an itch to stitch!

After having finally cut out all of my 8" blocks and picking up some extra white background fabric, I set to work, joining in the Layer Cake Sampler Quilt-Along over at Material Girl.  I'm technically two weeks behind (possibly on the edge of three weeks behind) but not worrying about it in the least.  This isn't about 'keeping up' or deadlines, it's about creative therapy!

First two blocks are done and I finally got to really use my new little sewing corner - totally loving it!  Will definitely have to invest in more ambient lighting for the corner space in general but between the built-in machine light and an extra Ikea clip light, the throat-plate area of my sewing machine is very visible.

 Block #2

I actually did the blocks in reverse order, because I knew I had more of the above fabrics in case I muffed up somewhere along the line and I thought these would work really well with this block design.  Completely love the colour combination and how it turned out.

Block #1

And here's the second (first?) one.  I just love that adorable yellow daisy print and it has the finest hint of bold orange in it so it worked great with this orange leaf pattern.  I played with all three variations on this block but in the end I really liked this herringbone version best.

Tomorrow I'm off on a course to learn how to use milk cartons to make a woven basket.  Hoping I might be able to squeak out one more block after I get home from that.

March 05, 2014

WIP Wednesday

Hello, hello!

I seem to have a number of creative irons in the fire lately but am making very slow progress on a few of them.  Last Saturday was quilt guild day (which means I did get some sewing done) and we joined in a silk and wool felting demonstration.  It was good fun and I came home with this handmade flower:

I also worked on a special (secret) project - can't say more than that right now but here's a sneak peak:

And finally, I found a bit of time to finish cutting out my 8" squares for the Layer Cake Sampler QAL going on over at Material Girl.  Yes, I'm about two weeks behind and should have four blocks done by now but since I wasn't using a pre-made layer cake, it took me a bit of time to dig through the stash, choose fabrics and then cut them to size.  But that's done for now and I have 36 of my 42 blocks and a good start of background fabric to keep me busy for a little while.  Hopefully I'll have those four blocks done by next week.

Linking up to Freshly Pieced's WIP Wednesday...

March 02, 2014

Pinspiration Sunday

Sunday evening again already so I guess it's time for a little Pinspiration.  Go grab your hot beverage of choice and we'll dive in while supper warms up.


* watching - Manhunt
* reading - just finished Still Alice (very good - I recommend it)
* making - felted flower and baby quilt
* eating - pizza
* drinking - water
* wearing - jeans & a striped long-sleeve shirt
* weather - foggy and wet, 4C
* feeling - tired
* wanting - a second day to sleep in
* needing - to type up a long documentation
* planning - multi-tasking several sewing projects
* thinking - mulling over Still Alice
* loving - having used my sewing corner at last!
* enjoying - a day in bed with Oskar

And now on to the pins...

When you have a surname like England, you tend to have a real soft-spot for Union Jacks and anything English.  I love the soft colours used in this version.

This is such a great idea - use up all of those leftover and tester blocks to make a big sampler-like quilt.  Such a fun idea!

I always find zippers tricky, no matter how many times I put them in.  This site has several tutorials at all stages of the zipper-sewing process and for various needs.  A handy reference.

Move over, sock monkeys - it's time for sock owls!  Super cute and easy to make; I could see these being really fun autumn or Hallowe'en decorations around the house.

I really liked the colour palette of these different washi tapes in the background design and the little mix of embellishments is really cute, too.

Here's fun geometric card that uses heat embossed stamping on a chalkboard background - really eye-catching and lovely.

With spring feeling just around the corner, perhaps it's time to start decorating.  This could be a good project to use up those scraps.

One of my favourite spring flowers is when the magnificent magnolia trees blossom.  I'm really digging these fresh, spring greens; that Pantone radiant orchid pink and the hints of grey blue and deep brown.

Okay, folks - it's a short week this time around; that's all for today!

March 01, 2014

Kiva - February 2014

Last month I shared with you my New Years Resolution for 2014:

Once a month, support a loan on Kiva.

You can read about my January lender story in this post, which also has a brief description of what Kiva is all about (in a nutshell, $25 USD donations to micro loans).  Needless to say, it's a great and worthwhile cause and I've loved being involved even after just two months.

Well, February has come and gone so it was high time I decided on a new lender to support.  I'm really excited about this initiative - partly because of the purpose of the loan and partly because this is one of a series of new loans that are repaid through a new 'carbon credits' system, which is linked with helping encourage people to reduce their carbon footprint.  It's like a win-win system on top of an already win-win system!

Christine (Kenya)

A portion of Christine's $1500 group loan helps a member provide communities with free access to chlorine to treat their drinking water.  This health initiative will help to prevent water-borne diseases, which often cause residents to be unable to work or attend school.  The use of chlorine will also remove the need to first boil the water, thereby reducing the village's carbon footprint.

At the time of this blog entry, Christine's group loan has been 21% supported and has $1175 USD funds to raise to completion.

If you would like to read the full details of Christine's story and perhaps even add your support, you can read her Kiva loan request here.

I really cannot say enough wonderful things about Kiva.  Sound interesting?  Please join me!