Saturday, December 14, 2013

Adding to my sewing arsenal...

I started messing around with some basic quilting projects a while back- you may remember hearing about my very crazy attempt at a rag-quilt made out of jean patches for my sister and niece who live in MB..

If not then by now you've certainly read my post about the superman blanket for my bf... haven't you? It doesn't entirely qualify as a quilt, but rather as a hand pieced applique blanket. Either way...

Well I just completed my first true quilting project- a 3x3ft table square, which I have to say was not fun but very fulfilling. It started off a bit crazy, having to find a pattern for my quilt top (that's the top part and most intricate of the three layer "quilt sandwich") and then having to figure out the size for each small square plus how much border width i'd need to ensure it turned out a decent size post-quilting. I'm so very proud of myself for it and am so thankful that YouTube exists sometimes! Without the internet at large I never would have run into Jenny from the Missouri Star Quilt Company who not only taught me what to do with a jellyroll, but inspired to me reach the finish line of my own jellyroll race- i'm not talking doughtnut here folks- to come out with a successful and attractive quilt top which i'll show you another time *teehee*.

The quilt pattern that I chose to use on this project is called The Drunkard's Path and is easily made up using circles that get sewn onto squares and cut into four pieces. Each pie shaped piece of 1/4 circle on 1/4 square gets used in a variety of directional ways to eventually make a pattern that is wobbly and curvy and interesting. Once I pieced out my pattern, sewed my centre "medallion" together- its one of the shapes you can make using the pieces for Drunkards Path- and figured out what to do with the bordering before attaching it all to a cotton backing that was pre-batted, the rest was easier than pie. While I understand that I cheated a little by using a piece of fabric with batting already sewed on, it saved me a lot of time and effort. Choosing and purchasing batting for quilts is harder than you may think... and for a project as small as this, I figured I could get the best out of both worlds when I found a festive cotton backed batting for $5 a meter at Fabricland and only had to get the full meter.  It definitely gave me an advantage and I was able to quickly learn how to work with this kind of fabric. 

The first two fabrics were used to make my quilt top
and the very red and gold fabric was my pre-batting'd backing.
Once the "3" pieces of my quilt sandwich were attached securely- remember quilt sandwiches are made up of 3 layers: the quilt top, the batting and the backing- I decided to "stitch in the ditch" since my quilt top had the seam lines running vertically and horizontally already from each of my attached squares- Id read that it adds extra security before quilting and I was not disappointed. From there I went on to apply a sort of basic wobbly quilting stitch that i'd watched some videos about.  The stitch I ended up doing comes from a meshing of two types of quilting stitch: a wobbly curving stitch called Stippling and another one that employs looping as its main attraction and is usually paired with heart shapes. I then cut my bias tape, with mediocre help from a male quilter on youtube- hold up! allow me to note here that I LOVE that men are quilting,I just didn't appreciate how vague this particular male quilter was- chain stitching each bias cut strip to make one long strip [Thanks Jenny@MSQ!!] which then got folded in half and ironed so it would stay put while I attached it to the edge of my quilted table square. 

Here are some pics of my step by step quilted Christmas table square.. Crazy right? 

Simplicity EZ Quilting Circle Cutter
What pretty circles it allows one to cut :)
I attached my circle to the square with a tight zig-zag stitch.
Then I cut it into four even quarters.
I started my Medallion from the middle outward.. this is the very centre.
and then I added on...
and added on...
and added on..
until I ran out of drunkard path squares.
Then I cut two small circles and
 another 6 small green squares to finish off the topper.
This is the reverse side.. looks kinda neat too
This was my first attempt at freemotion quilting on scraps.
I stippled and looped all over with my newly acquired free motion foot
This is my free motion quilting foot in motion :)
I wobbled and looped thread all over the green,
leaving the very centre for last and
ignoring the patterned fabric deliberately.
After filling in the centre of green space with my quilt pattern,
I attached my home made bias tape to the front side...
I tucked it around to the back and stitched again to finish.
The Finished Piece :)
Never in my life did I think I could create something like this, but I am so glad that I tried it because I am totally in love with quilting! I have made more trips to the fabric district of this city in the past 3 weeks then I have in my 5 years of machine sewing. For this project alone I made 3 trips for fabric and 2 trips for supplies. I purchased an extension table for my machine- which has not come in from Nova yet- along with the fabulous little free-motion quilting foot that is pictured above. I have bought another rotary blade: It's an 18" blade specifically designed for the circle cutter I have, and I had to buy it on because no one sells it in Canada and the Simplicity website won't ship here.. Thank you Alice from AliceInStitches!! And I bought a longer omnigrid see-thru ruler. Among countless spools of thread, and different quilters cottons, my new sewing room is holding up to "hurricane Quilty" that hit it this month *teehee*, and my Janome SUV1108 is getting a much needed workout :) 

Oh yeah... I converted the computer room into a usable sewing space- I got rid of the old broken futon and have some more fabric storage. More to come on that later..

I've got at least two more quilts to work through between now and Christmas Eve and I can't wait to get started!! I'm going to be doing a crazy drunkards path quilt for one of them, and the other is going to be either a basic 9 patch block quilt or a log cabin.. still not sure. The hardest part about quilting so far for me is coming up with the overall layout for my blocks. Anyway I hope to be posting again soon about it all.

If you don't have a hobby but would like one- budget depending- then you should try quilting.. it can be done by machine or by hand because honestly all you need is a strong needle, thread, scissors and fabric. The only downside to quilting is that it can be truly expensive by the time you've chosen your fabrics and bought your batting etc. But if your like most quilters you'll either do them to sell them or for people that you care about which makes it all worth while :) 

SO its onward and upward, to the cutting table I go, armed with rotary blade and circle cutter and determined to cut most of my block pieces before church tonight *hehe*. Thanks for reading..


Friday, November 15, 2013

Another year, another birthday... Im 24... im twenty-four... ^_^

Wow, another year has passed and it only felt like a weeks worth of time but here we are again.. another year older, another year wiser.. another year of trying to read, trying to write, trying to blog.. and another birthday.

I am twenty-four years old.. man what happened to being 20? There is something almost comical in birthdays, because you know that time is passing- every day is another number, and after 28 or 30 or 31 days its another month, another season.. and before you know it an entire 365 days has passed you by. The funny part is that we continue to both loathe and love that day, each year its exciting because the number of years that your on earth changes and yet its just like any other day. You attack your alarm clock for 5 minutes before dragging yourself into a 5 minute shampoo rinse- because you slept in again- then dress yourself and try to dry your hair in another 5 minutes before filling up your water bottle, throwing your scarf around your head and hoping you grab your purse on your hasty exit. Yet, there is something magically wonderful about your birthday day. I don't know if its just me but i couldn't help but be happy and giggly and cheery today.. and the sarcastic comments from your co-workers, or the "oh so your not open on Saturday" that comes from the other end of the telephone conversation you've have 50 times already can't get you down. I was whistling and humming and full on singing today... I felt very blessed today, and for the minute before opening the door to the trophy shop I stopped to thank God and reflect on the sky as I usually do- i'm stuck in a kind of hole building for 4 and a half hours right- and  it was warm and sunny and the sky was bright and blue today, 12 degrees Celsius and I couldn't help but be humbled in the beauty that the Lord gave me in this morning of this wonderful day.

I even got sung a beautiful rendition of the traditional happy b-day song by my 4 and a half year old niece that went something like "tante costoline a te" which translated to "many little rib-lits for (to) you" (because costlina = rib in italian). I got a fabulous Nightmare Before Christmas tee-shirt along with a hand-drawn picture of donald duck- also from my niece- and I was able to thank my mom for my life.. Id say its turning out to be a wonderful birthday. My bf and I even went to see The Priests in concert a few days ago,which was amazing and had been kept a super secret from me til 5 minutes before the show began and the night was incredible!! Now im going to be eating my favourite pasta of all time- pasta carbonara with big hunks of panchetta cuz we don't mess around- and spending the evening watching some good movies and enjoying some really great company.

I hope anyone else who shares my November 15th birthday is having as awesome a birthday- day as I am..

Thank you God for giving my mother the strength to bear me for 9 months and give me life 24 years ago.

Check out this years birthday Google doodle:

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Another post about why I haven't been posting...

Yes i realize that my last post was a long time ago... I've been busy with work and reading a lot, and I lent my laptop out to my bf for school in September- do you know how tough it is for type an entire post on a little Samsung cell phone screen?? Touch screen texting is so not conducive to easy typing.

I've begun NaNoWriMo again and intend on achieving my 50k words but we shall see what happens as the month wears on. My new story is about a girl named Charlotte Hume who desperately seeks a home in which to plant her roots and has issues with commitment and relationships because of never having ancestral and familiar solidity. On top of it all, along with Hume manor, Charlotte inherits another set of mysterious gifts  from her great aunt- her sole relative and the previous inhabitant of the large estate- which make her life even more challenging. I'm 1000 words in and i'm slowly running out of days but I intend on making the best of it.  Did I mention that I'm writing it all into a notebook? Remember I lent my laptop out? And I don't think I've mentioned that my sister and niece are here visiting til November 20th from Manitoba... Obstacles will never stop me, gainsay who dares!!

I hope to be back up and blogging soon enough.. or at least in time to give you a post-autumn flash back in pictures before everything gets covered in white up here in the "true north..."


Tuesday, August 20, 2013

What is it? Why, It's an Art Attack!

The other day at work my boss was showing me how to take the adhesive paper off of pre-cut Plexiglas and he was adamant about two things: not touching the glass on either side with your fingers once you've removed the paper, and making sure to pull the adhesive covering paper down slowly so that little particles don't fling onto the glass and get stuck. After having removed quite a lot of the protective adhesive papers, my boss walked by and decided to "show [me] something really neat you can do with the paper once you've removed it".  He slowly and fluidly removed the paper off one of the sides of a piece of Plexiglas and did so in a way in which allowed the paper to curl into a funnel. He then proceeded to throw it onto the workbench, and repeated these curling and throwing motions until he had lovely artsy looking pile. In case you are wondering, these protective adhesive papers are exactly what they sound like- sticky!  He then proceeded to tell me that he had once stacked up over 200 of the adhesive papers and that it really did look like a beautiful modern art sculpture.

I was intrigued by this and therefore began to make my own pile of these rolled papers until even I- a simple lowly inexperience trophy building serf was able to create my very own work of art.  Further inspired by the idea of off shapes and modern looking art piles, I also made a haphazardly constructed pile of engraved 1"x3"metal plates that I spent the majority of this morning "lifting" off of resin awards.

Check out my modern creations below, and feel free to comment/e-mail..


Adhesive paper tower...
 yes its sitting on the very full shop garbage can.

Pile of engraved plates.
I call it... Scrap Metal.. lol
The paper is a brownish colour.. 

Close up of the engraving... 

Glorious B&W 

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

The Best Gift I've Ever Made...

If you like Superman, you'll definitely enjoy this post...

I wanted to do something really special for my b-f's birthday but it wasn't until two days prior to our arranged celebration that I got the most perfect idea.  Anyone who knows my best-friend is well aware of their obsession with anything and everything Superman, and it was through this epic comic symbol that I found my inspiration.  I'll admit this gift wasn't the most inventive or "out-of-the-box" as I might have done, but it definitely did the trick and I received the best response ever.. in fact it was a rather wide-eyed child-like (**note here I said child-like, not childish... just to clarify**) reaction- I got an uncountable amount of hugs and squeals and of-course the shock and awe looks I was hoping for.  I believe bringing a 28 year old to tears says it all...

Is your curiosity beginning to peak??

Well, allow me to put you out of your misery and divulge the object of such an amazing response..

*Drum Roll Please!*

Vintage Superman Logo Blanket!!
This was one of the most difficult things I have ever attempted to sew, but it came out really really well and I am proud of it. I would like to show you the step-by-steps of this project.. IF you are interested in knowing more about this creation please feel free to comment or e-mail and I'll be more than happy to give whatever info I can that isn't on here already :) 

It all began with this symbol which I printed off from the internet.
Then I traced it freehand with chalk onto yellow fabric. 
Then I turned the yellow square over onto the red fabric
and patted it to transfer the chalk onto the red for the outline.
I placed the cut out symbol onto another piece of yellow fabric
and cut the yellow roughly to fit the red.

Action shot of me cutting with my rotary blade,
cutting mat and transparent grid ruler :)
I then sewed the red symbol to the yellow backing,
stitching around and along all the edges and curves.

I brought the symbol to my stretched out blue fabric
and removed the pins which I had put previously
to plot the middle of the blanket.

I took the fabric all back to my machine and carefully sewed the symbol onto the blue.
Not sure if you can tell, but this is the outline of the symbol
on the reverse side of the fabric- I'm sorry it isn't terribly apparent. 
I had bought 3 meters of fabric and doubled it over
leaving me with only three ends to sew closed.
 I turned the fabric inside out and sewed the two side ends completely closed.

While attempting to turn the fabric back out again,
I had gathered it up like you would a pillowcase or a paper bag,
and ended up inside of it. *hehe*

I then closed the bottom end and sewed an edge around the entire blanket in red thread.

Action shot of my presser foot :D

And there you have it... the best blanket in the world made for the bestest best friend in the world :) 

I hope you enjoyed reading my step-by-step and seeing my amazing feat of sewing... It even earned me a shout-out on the social media network everyone takes at "face" value ;) 

Next up on the blogging list; my first attempt at a denim rag quilt! 


Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Doesn't matter if your black or white... or does it??

Michael Jackson (RIP) absolutely had it right with that smash hit, because when it comes to skin colour and race, I'd definitely have to agree that it doesn't matter.  But what about when we are talking about objects  that happen to be within our sights every now and then?? 

I've been taking a lot of pictures lately, and many of them I've decided look better in black and white, and thanks to the different settings on my cell phone's camera I have been able to take shots of the same views in both colour and well.. not colour.. *hehe*

The former being clarified I now present for your own viewing pleasure, the subjects of my frenzied photo-taking... you might like to decide for yourself which images looks better in their "natural colour" state or in 
their altered B&W state. 

The following pictures were taken when I was in Toronto walking from the GO station to the Molson Amphitheater when we went to see GBS  this past month.  Please excuse my biased opinion in the captions, but feel free to think for yourselves. 

A highway bridge in Toronto

The same highway bridge just closer up

The CN Tower from far..

Attempts at a close-up
Not exactly the same shot but the same CN Tower

The entrance gate to Exposition Place

Same shot of the Expo gates, but I like it in B&W better
The CN Tower from inside the Molson Amphitheater

Same shot, but the CN Tower didn't come up well
The sun setting from under the Molson Amphitheater canopy

The exact same shot, but I like the contrast better in B&W

 I hope you enjoyed taking a peek at what I was looking st through my camera lens... why do I feel like Roland Barthes and Sarah Mulvey might take issue with this?? *hehe* As always- feel free to comment or e-mail :)