I'm finally back to quilting but wanted to share one of my more recent convalescent crochet activities. My seasonally appropriate pumpkin "family". I love all holidays and changing my decor up a bit for the time of the year. These little pumpkins worked up very fast. It took me only an afternoon for the large one and another evening for the 2 small ones.
Credit is due! I saw the YouTube video for the large one and then kind of modified the pattern by adding less rows to make the smaller ones. The link for the YouTube video is here from Laura at HappyBerry Crochet, her actual website here with lots of tutorials
Never crocheted before and want to learn? Click on the link below:
FYI, the leaf and tendrils on my pumpkin family are my own creation. If you would like to know how I made them I am happy to share, feel free to contact me.
Happy Thanksgiving! It's time to get back on a healthy cooking and eating track!! I don't know about you, but I definitely over indulged on the weekend.
I know I'm completely out of order and not providing you with a quilting/stitchery related post but cooking is creative too right? Also this salad is just too delicious AND HEALTHY not to share!
I was actually trying to come up with a recipe that used my fresh parsley from the garden, my carrots and kale while still having a lunch salad that incorporates some protein and this is it! So good, it's worth making again and again. The salad dressing spices are subtle and surprising, Also, mmmmm raisins seemed weird at first but they so make this salad wonderful.
This is a great lunch box complete meal salad as well.
This is going to be one of my new family favourites! I hope you like it too!
Hi Everyone, yesterday I spoke about my basic toe up crochet socks I made for my daughter. I was remiss to say that they would not have been possible without taking a refresher class on Crochet!
I also found out recently that my oldest daughter (the one who got married in June) is expecting and so I realized that some crochet projects are needed!
I have not crocheted in years, I was hemmed in at home and not able to go to our local knit shop to gain a lesson, so I took a course by Kim Werker on www.craftsy.com Crochet Basics and Beyond.
It was a fantastic refresher and gave me the confidence to start some projects. The first part of her intro says "get hooked" and I am. I love to sew and quilt but it's refreshing to try something new :)
What I learned:
The basic chain stitch -Yes I needed a refresher!
The Magic Ring & Slip Stitch
Half Double Crochets
How to make a granny square
How to crochet in a circle
Basics of pattern reading and graphic patterns
I need to start a Crochet page on my blog- under more in the menu above!
Most importantly I can Crochet!
I highly recommend this class if you need a refresher and/or want to be confident enough to start crocheting. For $25.93 Canadian$ you cannot pay an instructor to show you what Kim Werker shows you.
You also have access to the class 24/7 once you register and can rewind or stop your class to review at your own pace. Believe me, my own pace is critical!
I will show you some photos of my crocheting practise below and in the next few days, I'll show you some of my projects.
Yes there are errors in my practise, but as they say "practise makes perfect" We shall see what the future brings.
Another resource on Craftsy that might interest you:
A FREE downloadable e guide "The Beginners Guide to Crochet" Click on the image below to download.
I don't think it matters what you stitch. If you like to stitch just do it, knit embroider, quilt, sew, crochet or whatever, you will be happier for it! My motto is "their should be no such thing as boredom, there is always so much you can do with a little bit of creativity"
Have a great Tuesday!🍁
Hi everyone, I decided my website needs a new look, same archived content and hopefully some great new stuff coming up. I think you will find it as easy to navigate as it was before but just a little fresher look!
I am so sorry you have not heard from me lately! I have been trying my best to relax my body and mind to heal this new ankle. I hope you can forgive me!
So I am now 9 weeks post surgery and I thought I would share with you what a "craft, sewing and creatively addicted" person does when they have a right leg out of commission! But first a little more about my journey. The first post after my surgery shows a silicone cast and a stirrup and then a week later I got my "fashionably purple" silicon cast and the stirrup again. See below:
5 weeks after my "fashionably purple" cast, I was the proud recipient of a "very sexy air cast". Of course I am trying to have a sense of humour about all of this! See my air cast below:
So as you can tell, it's been 9 loooooong weeks! I cannot use my right leg to sew, drive or go up the stairs to my studio!! So what to do? I will share some of my projects in the next few days.
#1 Project- Crocheted Toe Up Socks
My youngest daughter had a birthday in September and I knew that getting out to shop may be a challenge and so I decided on some hand made gifts.
I took a knitting course from a local knit shop and no offence to the teacher! I would have gotten an "F" for failure if I was marked. I did not succeed at knitted toe up socks.
Hence, I decided to challenge myself to make them in crochet. Although, they are not perfect by any stretch of the imagination. I was able to succeed at least at getting a crocheted pair made. So I am good with this and will perfect my sock making skills once I try this pattern again. The free pattern link is here from Patons Kroy Socks, it is a toe up pattern in crochet and if I can make them anyone can!
#2 Project - Hand Embroidered Pillow Cases
The first time I injured my ankle, I embroidered a table runner and really enjoyed it. Hand embroidery for me is enjoyable because 1) it involves using and choosing colour and 2) It's hand stitchery, which for me is a peaceful, happy pursuit!
In case you were wondering where the above design and pillow cases are from, I purchased a pre stamped kit of 2 pillow cases and an embroidery floss kit as well online from marymaxim.ca and the link to purchase them is here
I encourage you to check back often now, I am back
in action and planning on posting more projects and
I am ready, willing and enthusiastic to share where
my "creative addiction" has taken me while I have
Happy Monday and Welcome to October🎃 ☀️😊❤️
So as some of you know I recently (last thursday) underwent an ankle replacement surgery in Toronto at St Michael's Hospital. I am the fortunate recipient of the "Cadence Total Ankle System" Designed and Patented by Dr. T Daniels. The ankle is my right one so sewing on a sewing machine is out of the question.
I have to share a funny story about the hospital first before I ask a question.
My pre-op nurse expressed an interest in quilting when she saw my daughter in the waiting area working on her English Paper Piecing and then she wanted to see my website. So right there while talking with me she had a look at my website and I was surprised at the number of nurses who are very interested in quilting and most of them fairly young (25-35ish). They were actually sharing pictures from their phones and talking about how quilting is re-emerging as an interest these days! I have to say I was so thrilled to see this. We created such a group in pre-op that we had some stern doctors (some of who think they are more special than others) kind of try and break it up. LOL
Now I am recovering and "planning" to crochet, read, hand embroider and english paper piece. I also "plan" to post some pics of what I am working on soon!
My question to my readers is: Any other suggestions of what to do when you cannot put your foot down (must be elevated) and/or use your right foot? Your suggestions would be greatly appreciated. I need to keep my creative blood cells flowing!!
Have a great Wednesday! ❤️
Hi everyone, we had an exciting event on the weekend. The wedding of my daughter Katie & brand new son-in-law Chad. I thought it would be helpful to share some DIY ideas for weddings with you.
It's not all sewing but DIY and anyone who sews or quilts is probably a DIY'er. I wonder what the statistical probability is of that? Also, read to the end, you just may see some sewing!!
First off, my mother made me a wreath for my front door to make a statement that says "this is the wedding month". It is made from grapevine wreath, lace, ivy, spray roses, a glue gun and other flowers. See the picture below:
We started the wedding week with a bachelorette party. This party ended up with attendance issues because every lady invited to the bachelorette was also invited the following weekend to the wedding and just could not do 2 weekends in a row.
So we improvised and started out the party with the 4 ladies and then invited the guys (on the way back from their camping/bachelor weekend) to join in our festivities. We planned a social paint night. I hired an artist to teach us to paint! Of course we had some great beverages and food as well and what a hoot it was with the guys! See pictures below:
Now on to the wedding.....
Flowers, Hair and Make-up:
Hydrangeas, spray roses, english ivy (from our garden), greenery and limonium (latifolium sea lavender) for the bride.
My beautiful daughters- Katie the Bride and Mallory Maid of Honour, they looked stunning (no bias there). Hair and make-up was done by my sister-in-law, Aileen (a trained hair stylist and aesthetician) and she helped the girls to look so lovely! We were at a retreat centre for a weekend, so very fortunate to have a stylist for the weekend.
The ceremony site:
The ceremony was in a wooded area with an alee of trees making a natural aisle way. It needed some decor but we did not want to take away from it's natural beauty. The before picture (at the rehearsal) is below:
On the aisle of trees we hung canning jars with wire and added baby's breath to them. Keeping it simple but pretty. See below:
The reception site:
The reception was held in an outdoor pavilion on the same property. Some challenges we were considering were night lighting, temperatures, candles and mosquitos (along with other flying critters).
We also placed tiki torches on the property to direct guests to facilities at night and filled them with Citronella oil to repel bugs.
We also had a "Comfort Station" complete with quilts to warm people, bug spray, first aid and sun screen available on picnic tables outside of the pavillion!
My daughter had requested vintage dishes and dishes that are not the same. Quite a tall order! The going rate for vintage plates to rent these days is $6.95 per plate!!! Guess what? If you ask family and friends and troll through vintage and second hand stores for a year, you can collect 180 vintage plates for a lot less, some were borrowed as well! See picture below:
In addition to collecting plates, we collected about 22 sets of vintage salt and pepper shakers and set them on log end on each table (cut by the grooms step-father). Look closely above you will see a log end and a barn and silo salt and pepper shaker and below you will see apples on a log end.
Natural weathered planters and live plants were in the centre of each table and a great spot to place a table marker. The weathered planters were constructed by Katie's grandfather, Katie's sister's boyfriend Mike and Katie's Dad. Weathered with steel wool and vinegar by Mallory (Katie's sister) and yours truly and planted by Katie's dad and Mike. See a close up photo of the planter below:
We used 2 simple ivory Ikea candles per 6 foot table for candle lighting because they would be very basic in style and would not conflict with the rest of the style. You can see these in the table setting above. We also added rented wine and water glasses and white linen table clothes, napkins and wooden chiavari chairs.
The table numbers were wood burned on natural wood pieces cut out by the bride's dad and then wood burnt by the brides sister's boyfriend.
Mike again ! He was such a great help!!
Mike also wood burned directional signs for around the grounds showing guests the way to the ceremony, reception and washroom facilities. See photo below:
Speaking of wood burning, I also dabbled in it for the first time ever! I have new appreciation for how hard it is! IT IS A LOT MORE DIFFICULT THAN IT LOOKS! I worked on the Mr and Mrs signs (ovals purchased at the dollar store) wood burned them and added burlap and lace. See the pic below:
The Kissing Menu: At the last hour (and I'm not exaggerating) Some very good friends of the bride and groom (and our family!) The Sommerville's, decided to make a Kissing menu up and have them framed at each table. Apparently, this menu was also at their wedding in the fall, so now it's a tradition!! The menu had guests perform different activities in order to have the bride and groom kiss. None of the "tinkling of the glasses". My sister and I of course picked the serenade and sung Skinna Marinky Dinky Dink - from Sharon Lois and Bram at a Mic and at the Front of the Pavilion of course! No Shame there!! See the picture of the Kissing Menu below:
Highway and road signage:
We painted up some rough made A frames (Made by the bride's dad) to direct traffic from the main highway and into the lane way to the wedding site. They are not perfect but they were fun to do as a family with white and black paint. See these below:
We used a basic piece of MDF board and painted it with chalk board paint and chalked it up to make a simple bar sign. This was propped on an easel encased in burlap from the father of the bride's work. It was also secured to the easel in case of high winds (outdoor venue challenges!) See photo below:
The bar was made with urethaned barn boards and saw horses and wrapped with burlap. DIY'd by my talented brothers and husband. Sorry no pictures of it. There were too many people lined up at the bar all night blocking photos I guess! Canning jars begged and borrowed from family members were the drinking glassed requested by the bride and groom as this is what they drink out of at home. We also had plastic green ones for the children, placed at their individual place settings.
Wine was made by the groom's mom and step father, we had both white and red available in various ranges of dry and sweetness. See pic below:
The Welcome Table:
This receptacle for wedding cards was a challenge for us as the decorators as Katie and Chad specifically did not want "Bridal Like" decor and wanted more rustic charm to showcase who they are as a couple. Chad used to be a log home builder and still works in timber work. Hence, we came up with the idea of building them a "Hillier Homestead" out of twigs, glue sticks, wood shims, and sphagnum moss to "house" their cards. For my youngest daughter Mallory and I it was a 2 day project, but well worth the effort. Mallory used a box to make the walls for the house and the roof and literally sculpted the shape of a house. We then cut out windows and doors and added plastic for windows and fabric for curtains and stained glass to make this adorable homestead to securely hold the cards. The door was painted orange because it's the grooms favourite colour. There is an opening on the roof where the cards fit in perfectly. See the picture below:
A picture of the bride and groom just after they got engaged was added to the welcome table. See picture of this below:
We also added guest gifts to the gift table. The bride and groom are huge DIY'ers and they brought home made soap all the way from BC wrapped in labels that went with their wedding invitations. They were placed in whicker baskets and added to the welcome table ready for guests to arrive.
Live plants with coleus and potato vine flanked either side of the welcome table. Katie requested natural plants for decor and her Landscape Architect dad was happy to provide! See below:
Add some floral elements to the welcome table and it's completely DIY'ed.
The Memory Montage:
A lot of weddings these days have photographic displays with video technology. We unfortunately could not do this because of the outdoor location. Therefore we DIY'ed a photo display with old picture frames, painted and distressed. We hung jute lines and used tiny clothes pegs to hang memory photos of the bride and groom and added a very long and wide piece of lace behind the display to protect it from the elements and create a vintage look. See the photos below:
A picnic table was taken over by the coordinator of the Kids Zone (the grooms step mom) along with some very helpful friends (The Delnet Family), it was covered with butcher paper. Crayon packs were available along with pipe cleaners and a "wedding activity" book complete with colouring pages, word searches, a maze, note area, decorate a cake and tic tac toe. The kids Zone also had a soft Frizbee for the kids to play with outside of the pavilion area, but near this picnic table!
The cake was made in my home ( I am a Wilton Certified Cake Decorator). My daughter did not want a "decorator's cake" and I had to consider the weather. I made a messy iced triple tiered cake made of vanilla sponge filled with a fresh raspberry coulee and stabilized whipped cream icing. I had a custom wood topper made to repeat the words carved into her ring box by her husband (to the moon and back) and added baby's breath for decor to keep it looking natural. The groom cut me a beautiful log piece that completely encompassed the table it stood on. (I think I will DIY that later!) See the photo below:
Treats for the kids:
Mallory and I made fresh canning jar sugar cookies for the kids (all 28 of them+) cellophane wrapped them and placed them in a basket to give to the kids once they were seated. We also provided juice packs at the bar and skittles! See the photo below:
Treats for all at the late night table:
Many, many family members made homemade cookies and squares including: Mom of the groom (famous Chocolate Chip ), step mom of the groom (Famous Cinnamon pinwheels), aunt of the bride (Famous Ginger Snaps) (Alison), step grandma of the groom (famous date squares), aunt of the bride (famous peanut butter marshmallow squares) (Rosemary), friend of the family (Katrina L) (famous peanut butter balls and chocolate covered oreos) and yours truly (famous sugar cookies and gluten free desserts). We ended up with a variety of goodies!!
Such wonderful home made baked goods. Some of the treats were the bride's favourites and some were the groom's favourites. We also added to the late night table by supplementing it with Vincenzo's (from Waterloo, Ontario) Antipasto platters (a personal favourite of the bride). I never had a chance to get a picture of this table! It was enjoyed by many !!
Speeches and a Presentation of a Gift:
Our Nephew and MC extraordinaire, Derek, kept the flow of the speeches going, shared personal, funny stories about the bride and groom, made announcements and kept the evening on point and it was awesome!
......and finally when it was time for speeches, my husband graciously thanked my daughter Mallory and myself for all the work we had put into the wedding and shared his sentiments about marriage and the bride and groom.
It was then time for the mother of the bride (yours truly) to speak, she had 2 cute stories about the groom and stated she would get too emotional to talk about the bride but that she had a quilt to present and read the label on the quilt out loud. See this label below:
See the picture of the quilt below:
Yes it took time for all these DIY's and yes lots of effort, but I would not have changed a thing. Anything worth it in life is worth doing right! We have new appreciation for the role of the decorator!
However, while respecting the custom look this bride and groom requested and budgetary constraints, we were determined to give this Bride and Groom the best and nothing less.
Post Wedding Day Breakfast: for this I need to credit the Porritt Family with special thanks to my parents Stan & Linda for cooking up the pea male bacon and pancakes and for the rest of my siblings and in laws for setting up and taking down, greeting guests at the stone retreat house. The Porritt family were especially wonderful for a lot of the physical set up and take down of all of the wedding venue and for that I will be eternally grateful! I'm sure I will be called upon for future weddings and I welcome them to keep me in mind to DIY at their own family weddings!
Thank you for having the patience to read this blog post, hopefully it inspires you to do DIY with your wedding plans or the plans of others. Feel free to share these ideas and it would be my hope that your wedding will be as memorable as my daughter and brand new son in law's was!
To all of you- friends and family who attended and assisted in any way to DIY, set up, take down and make Katie and Chad's day memorable, we thank you from the bottom of our hearts! You contributed in starting of Katie and Chad's life together in the most positive and loving of ways! They certainly felt the love!!
Riverstone Retreat Centre, Durham, Ontario www.riverstoneretreat.com
Awesome Food by: Carolyn Helder
Great Rentals (linens, glass wear, tables, chairs):
Four Season's Party Rentals, Markdale
A DJ who kept the party hopping!:
Brent From Spin Doctor, Kitchener
Katie's Bridal Gown:
Happiness is home made ❤️❤️
All the best to Katie and Chad as they enter married life and embark on an exciting adventure together❤️❤️
Along with the excitement of a wedding in the family, I am happy to say that the Canadiana Quilt that my husband and I designed is in the 150th Edition (Summer 2017) Edition of Quilters' Connection Magazine! This pattern is now exclusively available in the magazine!!
If you are looking to make any Canada Day projects, I encourage you to get your copy at your local quilt shop or purchase it direct from Quilter's Connection Magazine here . To find a store near you, there is also a store locator on the website at quiltersconnection.ca
The magazine (Issue#32) is like the image below:
More pictures of my pattern below:
Look closely at page 7 on "Scrap Bag" someone (M Furnell of BC, Canada) also made my Summer 2016 Quilt "Hot Summer Fun". See the modified version of my pattern (picture upper left).
I promise, I will eventually get this pattern on my website!
Special Thanks to Quilter's Connection Magazine for believing in my work and for continuing to write a magazine to connect Canadian Quilters!!
In the meantime, Happy Saturday and Happy Reading and I must get back to my wedding prep responsibilities. My eldest daughter's wedding is 2 weeks today Yikes!
Hi to all of our followers, you will notice that I have not been posting as frequently because my daughter (Katie) gets married in less than a month and it's a "weekend away wedding" at a retreat centre. As a result, everything must be brought in which means rentals (tables, chairs, linen, catering etc.) along with decor.
This is precisely what I have been busy with! Along with a pinched nerve in my neck, my quilting has had to take a holiday to heal and with lots of help to get ready for the wedding from family and friends. Hallelujah!!
My daughter recently shared her engagement story on her blog/website here
My son-in-law to be (Chad) went to great lengths to propose and it was a very romantic, DIY rustic, thoughtful, outdoorsy proposal. Exactly like this couple!
The wedding of course will be outdoorsy and rustic. Keep in mind we are doing this while the couple getting married lives in another province!
My youngest daughter (Mallory) and I are attempting to execute some outdoorsy, DIY decor elements. I have to say I could not do it without her, she is so good at DIY and a talented artist!
I will be sharing these DIY's & subtle sewing/quilting elements directly after the wedding on this blog.
I cannot spoil the surprise by posting it before! We are having lots of fun!
For now just a little glimpse into the engagement sight below, you can click on the picture and it will take you to the full story on the couple's website:
Happy Monday everyone!
I hope you are enjoying this lovely weather!☀️
Sorry folks, I have been away for a few days because of recent trunk shows in New Market (Region of York Quilters Guild) and Cambridge- Busy Hands. I was also teaching in Barrie, completing some custom quilts and some wedding prep for our family (my daughters) wedding June 24 (Yikes).
Also, I just recently I found out I have a pinched nerve in my neck.
The good news is I will survive, albeit I have been told to take it easy !!
I am finding that this is not an easy thing to do! Just not in my nature!!
Remember these pens I spoke about in the previous post and the Maple Leaf satin stitch block I did with them?
As you can see above I made them into a simple tote. I thought I would share how I made it ....
and a great technique for making ultra simple and strong handles for all bags!
Simple Tote Tutorial
What you will need:
Front of bag:
10 3/4" square, orphan block or make the Maple Leaf Block shown above from blog post 05/02/2017
2 Strips 3 1/2" x width of fabric for sashings around block
Back of Bag:
16 3/8 x 16 3/8" square of fabric for back of bag
34 x 18" piece of batting
32 3/8" x 16 3/8" rectangle of fabric
2- 3 1/2 x 20" rectangles of fabric
2 Pieces of webbing (nylon or cotton) 1" x 20"
How to make this simple tote:
Cut your 2- 3 1/2" strips for block sashing as follows:
Cut 2 strips 16 1/2 x 3 1/2", cut 2- 10 3/4" x 3 1/2"
Sew the 2- 10 3/4" strips to the vertical sides of the block, see below:
Sew the 16 1/2" strips to the top and bottom of your block, see below:
Your front of bag is completed, square it up to 16 3/8" x 16 3/8"
Sew your back square fabric to the bottom of the front square right sides together. See below:
Quilt your top only to the batting with any pattern you desire, I just meandered mine. You could also just use fusible interfacing if your do not want to quilt it. Interfacing will give it body as well. See below:
Fold your quilted/interfaced bag front in 1/2, right sides together and sew up the side seams. See below:
To box the bottom of your bag, mark a line 1" Up from the bottom corners of your bag on both sides. Sew on these lines and clip corners. See below:
Fold your lining piece right sides together and sew up one side. On the other side sew, leaving a 3" gap for turning. Box the bottom corners as you did for the outside of the bag. See below:
To make your handles, pin your webbing piece in the centre of your 3 1/2" x 20" handle fabric (wrong side) and sew it down the centre. See below:
Press one side down 1/4", see above photo:
Press the raw edge over the webbing, See below:
Press the 1/4" folded edge on top of the raw edge as below:
Top stitch to catch folded edge and alternate side (about 1/8" from edge). See below:
I was able to machine stitch through all layers like butter. If you have any issues with the thickness, change your needle to a top stitch or jeans needle as they will be stronger than quilting needles. Make 2 handles this way. You now have 2 very strong handles and it's a simple method for all bags. These handles are also very flexible.
Pin and sew your bag handles onto the right side of your bag front and back 5" in from the corner on the right and left side & 1/8" from the top of the bag. Make sure your handles do not get twisted. See below:
Insert the outside of your bag (right side facing out) inside the lining with right sides together. This will seem weird but trust me it works. See below:
Make sure the handles are facing down and pin all side seams to match, pin around the top edge of the bag and sew. See below:
Using the gap you left in the lining pull your outside of the bag through the opening. See below:
Once you have the entire bag out, tuck the lining back inside the bag, it's permanent home! Sew the gap closed on the lining inside by hand or by machine, your choice.
Press the lining down towards the inside and top stitch all around the top edge of the bag to finish your bag.
Admire your efforts!
🍁You now have a sturdy bag to go to the beach, holiday or celebrate Canada Day!
I sincerely hope you enjoyed this simple tote tutorial and that you will try my handle method!
Happy Friday! Enjoy some lovely weather this holiday weekend!
Hi I'm Robin and I am a professional long arm quilter, pattern designer and teacher. I am passionate about all things quilty!
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