October 31, 2014

Crocheted Cowl

Hi, there - welcome back!

So having dipped my toe into the world of crochet, I've been itching for a new project - something still at the easy/beginner level but with a bit more spectacular result than the mug cosy (cute as they are).  Scarves are always a pretty safe project but I found something that took the boring scarf up a notch: the cowl.

During my quilt guild's exhibition, I bought some beautiful blue and turquoise wool from one of the vendors and decided it was destined to become a lovely autumn cowl.  Paired with a chunky hot pink button I'd picked up at my mum's quilt shop before she retired, I sat one Sunday, armed with a 10mm crochet hook and made this:


Don't get me wrong, it wasn't as easy as I'd thought - well, the pattern was but the wool was not.  What I hadn't realised when I bought the wool was that it was the type at varies in thickness from chunky strand to thread-like width and back again.  That lack of uniform strand consistency definitely challenged my budding crochet skills but I persevered through and it all worked out in the end.

I went with the hot pink button to pick up the pops of pink scattered throughout the dye process.  It works really well with the natural holes created in the crochet.

Interested in making your own gorgeous autumn cowl?  Check out Fibre Flux's Margaret Button Cowl pattern.  As I said, it's a very easy pattern - you just need to learn two rows of stitches and you're set.  I also loved that she posted a YouTube tutorial at the bottom of the page to show the process; as a beginner and a visual learner, it was just what I needed.

October 27, 2014

Kiva Update - Rosalba in Columbia

I recently received an update on one of my Kiva loans that totally made the start of my day.

Remember Rosalba, the daycare teacher in Columbia?  She received her loan amount and has been putting her money to good use.  Check it out:

Reposted email from Kiva...
Rosalba lives with 2 of her children in one of the poorer neighborhoods of Medellin. Her passion for her daycare has guided her during the 15 years she has been doing this. We felt so welcome in her cozy home that houses the daycare 6 days a week and receives about 15 kids ages 1-5.

She showed off the decorations, partially painted walls, organized nooks, teaching materials and spotless albeit humble kitchen. The loan helped her buy teaching materials, materials and containers to better organize the daycare. Organization and decorations are vital for a 10 x 14 foot room housing toddlers!

Rosalba told us about the hardships she faced and challenges in working long hours in a daycare that is regulated by the government. She says, "I do this out of love and care for the children. I could easily work less and only worry about the little money I make, but I do this with love."

After taking care of her family she states, "Everything I earn I invest in the daycare, for the children." When we asked her how she envisioned her daycare in 5 or 10 years she said she wanted to have a bigger space for the daycare since the current living room is too small for active kids. She understands the context and background in which the children come from and wants to provide a healthy environment for them to be safe, healthy and educated.

Without the help of Kiva credit and Interactuar, she would not have been able to get a loan to improve the conditions of the daycare and continue caring for the children as well as she would like. Hearing her compassion for the children and her passion for the daycare made me proud to be part of the Kiva community who is contributing to impacting not just Rosalba but her community, one child at a time.


And remember, if you've found Rosalba's story inspiring, join Kiva today!

October 25, 2014

Howl Kit

Hello, hello!

Wow, so I had intended on making this post much earlier in the month but October's sort of got away from me so I'm afraid this comes a tad late...  No matter, it's time to share this month's Stash Scrap Kit Club: Howl.

Howl - October Kit

This fun kit combines deep purple with golden yellows and rich red/oranges.  Interestingly, purple is considered a neutral and is used as such by landscapers.  You can of course use all three colours or pair up just two for some fun autumnal and Thanksgiving or even Hallowe'en layouts.  I really like how Margareta has added in some interesting textures with ribbons, twine, glitter tapes and fabric flowers.

Ready for more inspiration?  Check out Margareta's Pinterest Lookbook, then go make your new kit and get scrapping!

And I promise I'll make a point of posting November's kit much sooner!

October 22, 2014

WIP Wednesday

Hello, hello!

It's been a while since I shared a WIP Wednesday so without further ado...  I present further progress on my Nice People, Nice Things embroidery quilt blocks.  Another block finished and a new one freshly started.

Linking up to Freshly Pieced:

Until next Wednesday...

October 21, 2014

Kiva - September 2014

Another month down and time for another Kiva loan.  It's not often that many medical loan requests come up but this one really caught my eye so I jumped on board.

Kalsoom (Pakistan)

A loan of $300 helps Kalsoom to buy medical instruments, medicine, injections, and glucose for her husband's clinic. 

Kalsoom is a 57-year-old woman with three children who lives in Lahore, Pakistan. She has to look after her family at home.

Her husband owns a medical clinic to provide first aid services to his patients. He was trained by a professional MBBS doctor. He owns his own small clinic to treat patients and assist them to recover. He has become very famous in the society. He wants to establish his clinic with the latest medical instruments, medicines, injections, and glucose, but he does not have enough capital.

Therefore, Kalsoom requests a loan for her husband to purchase medicines so that he could earn maximum profit. 

October 19, 2014

Quiz, Quiz, Trade - Student Getting-to-Know-You Game

Okay, fellow primary teachers, listen up!  Today I'm sharing a new teaching resource on my TpT store, a Quiz, Quiz, Trade game designed for students to get to know each other at the beginning of a new academic year.

What is 'quiz, quiz, trade', you ask?  It's a very simple game that builds both language and social skills (and if you use subject-specific questions, reinforces learnt knowledge, too).  You'll need to print out, cut and laminate the cards to start with.  Game play is very easy so it's a useful game for all ages.  I've even used this game with EAL students (English as an Additional Language) who have limited verbal English - with the right scaffolding, it works very well for them, too.

Each player gets a card.  All players stand up and hold their coloured card in the air; they walk around the room looking for a player with a different coloured card than his/her own.  When they find someone with a different coloured card, they give the person a high-five and partner up.  One person reads the question on his/her card and the partner answers (quiz).  Then the second person reads the question on his/her card and the partner answers (quiz).  Finally, each person swaps cards (trade).  Easy peasy, right?

As always, if you use my resources, I'd love to hear how they worked out for you in your classroom.

October 18, 2014

Quilted Triangles Thank You Card Set

Whew!  I survived the crazy week leading up to Thanksgiving, then managed to throw (if I do say so myself) a fantastic Thanksgiving dinner with my closest friends, followed by another - although slightly less crazy - work week.  So, I think that calls for a much-needed blog update.

So with my guild's 10-year anniversary exhibition now over and done with, my friend Ingrid and I decided that the amazing ladies who organised the exhibition should receive some sort of recognition and thank you, if only just from us.  We decided to get them some miniature orchids and that I would make some thank you cards, so that's what we did.

As you can see, I decided to have some fun making little patchwork-like backgrounds from my scrap papers.  I used my still-new Fiskars hexagon punch to create many (many, many) hexagons, which I then cut down into triangles.  They were a lot smaller triangles than I had originally intended but by this point I was committed and honestly, there was something strangely therapeutic about sticking down tiny triangles onto cardstock.  Must just be me.  Yup.

Once glued, I then machine stitched the triangles down.  Then I layered up a small doily and die-cut circle onto each background and used either red/orange or green Thickers to spell out 'tack' (Swedish for 'thank you') as my sentiment.  Finally, a small sprinkling of gold sequins in a visual triangle to finish off the toppers.

Each card in the set is a little different, as I changed up the background base paper and card base colours and all of the die-cut circles were different.  And on the inside of each card I stamped 'thank you, thank you, thank you' in a vertical column.  Needless to say, they went over very well with the recipients.

I've been wanting to do this sort of 'Paige Evans'-style punched shape backgrounds for ages but I don't have a very large selection of punches to use so this was the perfect opportunity.  And while it was a bit fiddly cutting down all of the hexagons into triangles, it didn't actually take very long in the grand scheme of things and wasn't very onerous at all.  I think it all comes down to your own personal level of acceptance on fiddly tasks.

The triangle shapes could also work well for birthday-themed cards, as they give a bunting banner sort of effect.  You could also try this technique with a monochrome colour palette or an ombre effect would also be cool.  You could even add more stitching for a different effect and more texture, too.

Last one!  Cheers, everyone.

October 08, 2014

Guild Exhibition - Part III

Welcome back!

Okay, today I'm sharing the final photos from my quilt guild's 10-year anniversary exhibition from September 26-28.  If you missed part I or part II, please follow these links.

Today is an admittedly random selection of eye candy that I particularly enjoyed for one reason or another.  Rather than drone on, I'll just let the photos speak for themselves but feel free to ask questions if you want more information on a particular piece.

Thanks so much for stopping by; hope you enjoyed the virtual tour of the exhibition, not that this at all even scratched the surface of the extensive amount of projects on display.  So inspiring!  I'm looking forward to our next exhibition but not quite yet...need a rest first!

October 06, 2014

Guild Exhibition - Part II

Hi again!

This is part II of my quilt guild's 10-year anniversary exhibition, which was held recently September 26-28.  Be sure to also check out part I and part III.

So today I thought I would share our exhibition challenge event, my Haberdashery group's challenge display and my own projects I entered.  Let's start with the very impressive challenge event.

Challenge: Celebration
The challenge theme was celebration and entries could either be a wallhanging or a bag.

Challenge Entries

Okay, I'll admit, I was biased toward the wallhangings so while the bags did also receive their own first, second and third place winners/prizes, I only photographed the wallhangings.  Sorry, don't hate me.

1st Place: Marion Loftberg

2nd Place: Birgitta Hortin

3rd Place: Name Unknown

My friend Ingrid also submitted an entry into the challenge.  Both she and Birgitta included the tiniest little LED lights onto their wallhangings, but unfortunately not all of the lights were turned on or working - shame.

by Ingrid Hortin

Haberdashery Challenge
Then my Haberdashery group had all of our Persian Pickle (mine and the group's) projects on display.  They looked fab!  Shame the lighting isn't better but they looked nicer in real life.

Haberdashery Challenge

My Submissions
And finally, I submitted a few things of my own to the exhibition; not many since I have a very bad habit of not finishing my sewing projects without great effort but still...

Happy Spring Wallhanging

Mobile Phone Holder

Woven Milk Carton Basket (large blue one)

And finally, Ingrid, Birgitta and I submitted the baby quilt we made at the start of summer for a co-worker who was due mid-June.  More information on this particular project will be shared in the coming month.

Bugsy Baby Quilt

All right, that's it for part II!  Thanks for stopping by.  The final part III will be shared shortly so please stop around again for the final photos.

October 03, 2014

Guild Exhibition - Part I

Hello, hello!

So my quilt guild held their 10-year anniversary exhibition last weekend, September 26-28.  It was fabulous!  Such an amazing selection of projects and displayed in such attractive and fun ways.  I took a *lot* of photos so I'll be breaking them into different posts to avoid overwhelming everyone.

So to begin with, our joint guild quilt/wallhangings were on display in the main entrance.  Each block was made and contributed by a member of the guild.  Roughly half our membership contributed to the project.

Guild Joint Quilt

One of the things the majority of people commented on the most was the beautiful displays and how so much of the exhibition had artfully been crafted into attractive vignettes.  Here are some examples:

Cosy Corner

The Writing Nook

Park Bench

Sofa Pillows

Hallowe'en End Table

Then there was the fun chicken display, complete with straw and wooden crates.

A Chick, Chick Here and There

My friends Ingrid and Birgitta entered their lovely Amish dolls.

Amish Dolls

There was also an entire room devoted to winter and Christmas projects.  The piece de resistance was certainly these adorable penguins in their very own boat, complete with penguin quilted flag...

A Boat Load of Penguins

And these 3D Santas were very popular to make last Christmas and were quite the hit during the exhibition, too.

A Parade of Santas

Okay, that's it for today!  Be sure to come back for part II and part III soon.

October 01, 2014

WIP Wednesday

Hello, hello!

I think it may have been a few weeks since I've shared a WIP Wednesday but here it is.  I've been continuing to work on my final set of embroidery blocks for my Nice People, Nice Things quilt.  Progress has been slow since going back to work after the summer holidays but there you go.

Linking up to Freshly Pieced: