Saturday, December 24, 2011

Take two

You'd think after making a bunch of these drawstring bags I could do them with my eyes closed. I was so proud of the seam I managed to close the bottom lining - so straight and so close to the edge. Then I went to put in the drawstrings when I discovered I missed one key step - leaving two spots open in the sides for the drawstrings. Unbelievable. It broke my heart to pull out the lovely seam, turn it inside out and rip open slots on the sides. Then I really couldn't believe it when I went to put drawstrings in one bag only to find I forgot when I stitched around one of the openings to rip out the stitches between! Again I opened the bottom of the lining, but oh boy was that seam perfect. I guess the third time is the charm. Stupid, stupid, stupid.

The colour in the back is my newly painted bathroom wall. It's a little taste of autumn - my favourite season.

Arts and crafts time

Finally all the rooms in my house are painted! I finished the job this weekend with the main bathroom. (You'll get a peak at the colour - a rich rusty red-orange called Fallen Leaves - in the next post.)

I've also been doing a couple small projects around the house. I bought this bicycle key rack a while ago from an etsy shop, but it sat around for a while before I got around to my plan. I picked up a frame, took out the glass and wrapped fabric around the back. Then I nailed the frame and key rack on the wall. I think it looks a bit more finished than just hanging up the rack, and it keeps the keys from marking up the wall.

When I painted my living room a robin's egg blue, two groupings of paintings disappeared into the wall because the colours were far too similar. I came up with these two solutions and I think they turned out pretty well. Certainly you can't miss the pictures now!

I outlined a geometric shape with tape, then painted with this awesome green called Appletini. I had a moment of hesitation before the first brush stroke, but I love it.

I love the odd characters on these three paintings. Because they're small, I figured I could make them a bit more prominent by putting them inside a larger frame. I painted the frame (a cheap one I found at Michaels after several unsuccessful trips to thrift shops) with the pink from my craft room and behind painted the wall white. Now the small pieces are part of a bigger piece of art.

It's gonna be weird not having a painting project to do, but I'm sure I'll find plenty of crafting to fill my time.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Pseudo stockings

Stockings are a big part of my family's Christmas eve tradition, even though we're all now adults. My parents look after my sister's and my stockings and we stuff theirs.

A new part of the stocking tradition is putting all the gifts in something reusable - driven in part by the fact very little fits in the small crocheted stockings from our childhood. Lately my mom sews us pillow cases to fill with goodies. This year I decided to make my parents big drawstring bags that can later serve as handy travel bags. Travel is so much more civilized with nice fabric bags rather than the usual plastic one! My mom was especially grateful for the bags when on a recent trip she needed to pull something out of her overweight luggage. Too bad what she grabbed quickly was the bag of dirty laundry. That could have been all sorts of embarrassing.

I also whipped up a drawstring pouch (the smaller yellow one in the front) for my mom to use for knitting projects. I think that puts me up to a total of making five so far, with a couple more planned to hold Christmas presents.

Santa's on the way

I've been working like a Christmas elf in my craft room to sew presents for friends and family. These drawstring pouches were sewn with specially chosen fabric for each friend - including a certain friend with a fondness for squirrels. Amazingly my crafty friend (CFF) Tara and I made pouches with the exact same orange and blue for the same person. Such crafting serendipity!

These zippered pouches accompanied the drawstring bags. Now there are just a few scraps of my Italian sheep fabric left. I am still surprised that sewing the zippers went smoothly, and involved no swearing whatsoever. Progress!

Like with just about every crafting endeavour, I did run out of time so one friend is holding an IOU for a sheep pouch. Hmm . . . I should really stop blogging and get sewing.

A shout out to my crafty and wonderful friends who gave me so many great presents, including awesome mitts in my favourite teal inspired by my secret movie soft spot (anyone else on Team Jacob?), a zippered pouch made with lovely and confusing fabric (is that a sheep? deer? or some crazy cute sheep-deer hybrid?) and a fabric-covered notebook to record crafting inspiration, ideas and shopping lists.

For those who are also abashed Twihards, you may recognize this building and door. While I was in Italy this fall I visited Montepulciano, aka Volterra. I'm the teeny speck in front - about as close as I like to get for a photo. The town is beautiful in its own right, but I must admit I was excited to follow the special New Moon map marking all the shooting spots. Embarrassing, I know.

Sunday, December 11, 2011


I have been busy crafting, but most of the projects are Christmas related. So stay tuned for posts when there's not a spoiler alert needed.

For now enjoy these pictures from my recent trip to Italy. St. Mark's in Venice was such an amazing place. Every inch was covered with mosaics made with the most teeny little pieces. Really it was overwhelming. While most people were straining their necks looking up, I couldn't take my eyes of the floor. The patterns were so intricate, many like quilt blocks. Really there was quilting inspiration just about everywhere we turned.

Imagine all that work for people to walk over! Astounding. Looking around the cathedral, I could imagine the people painstakingly putting each bit of stone into place. The place was made all the more charming by the waves in the floor caused by the repeated flooding. Luckily St. Mark's square was sitting high and dry while we were there.

I am forever getting distracted by patterns and neat little details when I'm on vacation. How many people do you see taking photos of the floor? Well, I've got plenty. The first is Siena and the second in Florence, I think.

And ceilings, too. Here's in the Vatican museum.

And roads . . .

Looking through my Italy photos makes me want to go back. I can almost picture myself sitting in the square of a quaint old stone town, at a little cafe sipping an espresso. Just like this spot, where my parents and I stopped for a quick coffee.