Friday, August 23, 2013

Hero in a half shell

Amazingly, I finished the presents long ago for a visit this weekend with a friend and his family. But of course I can't resist a little last-minute crafting. I decided I needed to make something a bit more fun for a little girl than a rag quilt, so I searched for a cute stuffed animal pattern. This cute turtle toy is a simple project from Make It & Love It.

I grabbed bright fabrics from my stash to put it together. The tutorial had a link to these helpful instructions on hand sewing an invisible seam.

This was the first stuffed toy I've attempted and it went fairly smoothly, although it gets a bit tricky sewing around the bulky appendages. By complete chance, one piece for the little guy's head caught a large circle in the fabric's pattern to make an eye. Too bad I didn't realize until after it was sewn together, cuz now he's a cyclops. Well, the other side has a swirl, so it's kinda like he's winking.

Sunday, August 18, 2013


This woven ribbons block popped up during my blog reading recently and I knew I had to give it a try.

The block looks neat, but it sure requires careful work when sewing them together with the ever increasing number of seams to line up.

What about Bill?

Last night I put the last few stitches on my Bill Murray cross stitch portrait. Love it!

Even better, it got me thinking about some favourite Bill Murray movie quotes and scenes. Where to start!?!

"There are two types of people in this world: Those who like Neil Diamond, and those who don't. My ex-wife loves him." - What about Bob?

"This is one time where television really fails to capture the true excitement of a large squirrel predicting the weather." - Groundhog Day

"Don't point that gun at him, he's an unpaid intern." - The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou

"Next week on World of the Psychic: hairless cats ... weird." - Ghostbusters 2

He doesn't even have to say anything to be funny, as we see in these scenes from Wes Anderson movies: Throwing a shoe in Moonrise Kingdom or taking out his anger by interrupting a basketball game in Rushmore.

And his appearance in Zombieland was about the best movie cameo ever. "Just Bill, I think, now."

What are your favourite Murray moments?

Sunday, August 11, 2013

Model shoot

My cat Ariel is simultaneously the most beautiful and kinda goofy looking cat. Maybe it's the big nose. But she sure takes a good photo.

Although she's a bit of a diva who can tire quickly of the camera. Even while just lounging on my bed.

Notice how she's sleeping right at the top of the bed? How considerate of her to concentrate her fur on the part that goes right next to my face. It's her new favourite spot, one I'm hoping she'll soon tire of snoozing on. Her nestled on my down duvet on top of the pillows is rather princess and the pea.

Neat and linty

Here's a confession from a someone who maybe takes a little too much pleasure in organization ... I think my favourite part of making a rag quilt is neatly stacking all the sandwiches of flannel and batting. Let's pretend the method to my OCD madness is this makes it easier to grab and sew. Right. That's it.

While I still balk at the endless ironing involved in sewing, the hobby is very satisfying for my compulsive need for order. What a glorious sight, these strips lined up in a row ...

Of course the flannel I'm in the midst of sewing together is the perfect spot for a cat bath. I guess I can't blame her with the warm afternoon sun streaming through the window.

This morning I popped two rag quilts in the wash, and a mini kitty blanket with the few leftover squares, and talk about a lint explosion! I ran the washing machine through a cleaning cycle afterward in what was probably a wasted effort to get rid of some of the lingering fuzz. The lint catcher in the dryer was certainly working overtime.

Monday, August 5, 2013

In the Pink

Later this month I am visiting a friend who moved away to Ottawa. I made for his daughter a rag quilt, which still needs a fluffing in the laundry but is the same as this one. For him and his wife I made pillowcases (I know, I know). I plucked two prints from Tula Pink's Parisville line from my stash - mauve is about as masculine as my fabric selection gets.

Recently I picked up a copy of Tula Pink's 100 Modern Quilt Blocks and I'm super excited to join the quiltalong craze with her book. I think this is just the special occasion for my cache of Laura Gunn fabrics. (And maybe an excuse to pick up a sampling of her most recent collection?)

About time

Long have I neglected the window in my guest bedroom, despite repeated apologies every time I have a guest over for the lack of curtains. For some reason the other day I remembered a fair sized piece of Alexander Henry fabric I picked up at a craft show, longer than my usual metre-cut because I got the end of the bolt for a discount. Of course I was just a bit shy, so I had no choice but to make a visit to Greenwood to pick up a co-ordinating Kaffe Fassett shot cotton.

I picked up a lovely pink/orange in the shot cotton. Both fabrics are lighter weight, so they went together perfectly for curtains with a nice drape, offering privacy but still letting in lots of light. I used this Design Sponge tutorial again, with a modification to add the bottom cuff in a different colour. I made ties with the remaining strips of flower fabric.

Probably most people wouldn't pair such bright, crazy fabrics with the muted green wall, but I think it adds a bit of excitement to the calm palette. Here's my kitty Aurora telling me she approves of the selection. She's already made her contribution to the project by adding a good sprinkling of fur.

How to make ripping stitches a pleasure

This amazing seam ripper was made by my CFF Darci's dad. The pain of taking out stitches is lessened when you reach for this beauty.

He turned the handle out of a composite material the guy who made it called Monet's waterlilies, and it's a deep green with bright flecks of other colours. The actual point pulls out and you can put it inside the handle, making it safe for tossing into a bag for a class. Or seam ripping on the go, for the crafter in a rush.

The handle is just the perfect size in my palm with a good weight. So next time I have to pluck out a lot of stitching - and crossing my fingers that doesn't happen any time soon - I'm sure it will be a lot easier on my hand and wrist.