Monday, April 30, 2012

A Few of My Favourite Things - The Garden and Thrift Edition

I've been battling a sinus infection the last few days, topped off with a whopping migraine.  Instead of wallowing in self-pity, I have searched for things that could put spring back into my step as these annoying anti-biotics start to work!  

On my table:
Not sure  what these pink lovelies are called - they look a lot like snapdragons to me....

Out in the garden:
The two crab apple trees hubby gave me last Mother's Day are just about to burst with the loveliest of white fleurs. 

This tree (which will also remain nameless - Sorry!)is the only tree in my garden with burgundy-coloured branches and  leaves. I love the dark centres of the flowers against the daintiest of pink petals.  

And THESE!!  Double tulips in ballet slipper pink!!  These took FOREVER to burst their buds, and now I have about 15 of these pretties growing near our front door.  (And you know something is truly lovely when even my 3 and 7  year old SONS stop to take a look!)

This is the birdhouse I fell in love with at a craft fair late last summer. I couldn't wait to plop it in our yard and see what kind of bird it could entice to make a nest.  At this point - NONE!!  Still as empty as when I bought it.  However, a lovely family of birds did decide to build a gigantic nest in my dryer vent!! Ugh.  Let's just say- that ended very badly for the bird couple and their 4 little eggies.....

 I'd love to share a few non-flowery things that have made my day recently, too. 

This lovely Emma Bridgewater teapot was picked up for a song at the local Goodwill. Don't people know when they have a good thing?  How can they possibly let it go???

And on a second trip in the last week, Goodwill bestowed these lovely treasures on me, too:

*A textured metal bin in a steely shade of blue that now holds toilet paper in our Master Bath. 

*A huge chunk of royal blue polka-dotted fabric.  I've got plans for this already.  Stay tuned!
*2 brand new green tea-towels that match my kitchen walls perfectly!
*And a blue and white mini-thermos that will carry my tea back and forth to school for the rest of the year and then travel  with me to every flea market and trunk sale I can muster during the summer.  

Saturday, April 28, 2012

Afton's Art Case

I love Etsy.  I don't ever buy pre-made things, but I love to snoop around the site  to find supplies for the projects I want to make.  However, a few weeks back, I  started searching for fabric charm  packs with no real project in mind. 
  After a few hours of searching I realized I may have purchased more charm packs then I will EVER need.  But they are just so pretty! I love piling and re-piling them as I gaze at the patterns and colour combinations.  
"Summerhouse" by MODA is one my favourites I purchased that evening.  Fuchsia, lime green, turquoise and royal blue all rolled into some breathtaking prints. 

By the time it arrived 10 days later (things take FOREVER to come from the the US to me here in Canada!), I had chosen a project from "Quilting in NO Time" by Emma Hardy.   

I'll admit it - I am slightly addicted to paper-pieced hexagons.  I have made several little projects involving them since March when I first learned how to create them.  

Here is some of the fabrics from "Summerhouse" worked into 1 1/2 inch hexagons.
OOH!  I love this mix of fabrics!!

My project also required a lining fabric and a backing fabric.  I grabbed the dots and the turquoise hearts at a local fabric shop.
And after two hours of stitching, ironing, binding, batting and quilting, I had completed THIS for my daughter:

I cheated and bought some pre-made fuchsia and white binding tape. I love how it adds another pattern to my patchwork!

Here is the inside.  Do you see what it is now?  It's an art case for my craft-all-of-the-time daughter.  This way she can take a few pencil crayons, a doodle book and a notepad with her wherever she goes.

She loved it upon first view!  I had originally chosen a plain turquoise ribbon to hold it closed, but the Little Lady fell in love with this dotty ribbon when I returned from the craft store this morning.  So instead, it draws the art case closed.
We recently booked a family trip to NYC during the month  of July.  Little Lady has already planned how she will use this carry case for the plane ride and will also carry it around the city, ready to sketch anything she sees on our travels.  

Excellent! She LOVES it!! This has worked out as perfectly as I hoped!! 

Monday, April 23, 2012

Check Out My New Bag!!

Awhile back on a visit to our town's new library, the kids actually gave me few minutes to look through the crafting section before having their usually meltdowns.  They sat and read their books quietly in the aisle while I grabbed a HUGE stack of sewing and crafting books.  One of my faves was this one:
My eyes  (and heart!) were quickly drawn to this photo of a paper-pieced hexagon knitting bag.  I had seen many images of hexis throughout blogland and was dying to try the technique out.    I figured this was a simple place to start.  

A quick trip to the fabric store and these MODA lovelies were in my hot little hands and I was off to the races.  

It took a long time to cut out 65 hexagons, but working with these juicy patterns made it deliciously fun! (Cutting out the paper templates wasn't nearly as delightful - but all part of the process I guess!)
It took only a few evenings to attach my fabric hexis to the papers.  I really liked watching the neat little piles grow taller and taller.  

While on vacation in Florida with the family, I used  my downtime (usually on long car rides) to carefully stitch the 65 hexis together with the smallest of stitches.  

Upon arrival home I headed off to the fabric store and chose another metre of this print for the lining of my bag.   I love the red with the punches of yellow and pink!

My mother had several choices of wooden handles stored in her craft room.  She happily gave me these to add to the vintage vibe of my bag.  

And here it is - modeled by my little lady - TA-DA!  
This worked out better than I though it would.  I am not too shabby at this patchwork thing.    :) And although the lining gave me a little run for my money, the whole project, in all, was quite enjoyable!

And look how nicely my crocheting fits in it.  (Yep - now I am crocheting hexagons!)

And - it goes perfectly with my cute little red shoes!  A match made in heaven, I think!!

Saturday, April 21, 2012

Felt Flower Triple Circle Wreath

Say that title three times fast!!
I bought these  10" grapevine at the thrft store way back in February.  I knew I wanted to turn them into some kind of triple-decker wreath for the door, but just never got around to it.  

Then one day at Michaels, I fell in love with this stripey ribbon with so many bright cheery colours.   I knew this was the perfect starting point colour scheme for another spring door decoration.  I bought some felt in coordinating colours and raced home to get started.  
I googled many felt flower tutorials (I coudn't believe I hadn't made any before. I guess I thought they'd be too much work!)  But really this of kind of flower is very easy - cut, pin, sew and gather!  I spent just over an hour combining my felt colours,  trying out many layers of petals and I was very pleased with what I came up with.
To fasten my wreaths together, I layered two kinds of ribbon and secured the  loops with TONS of hot glue.  
And on went my felt flowers:

I did three groupings with three flowers each and added a couple of green leaves to each.  
Some flowers to the sides of the wreaths, some at the bottom.
I really liked how the coloured flowers POPPED on the white door in my hallway.  I almost left it hung here.
But it's final location is on our front door, replacing the bunny basket and tulips I had hanging there for Easter.

Thanks for the visit! Come again soon.  I'd love for you to become a FOLLOWER!

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Dad, Daffodils and Dinosaurs

This past weekend, dearest hubby was away on a school trip with 40 of his high school students. Five days of just me and the 3 kids.  For a little simple excitement, we jumped into the car and drove the 2 hours to the small town I grew up in, where my mother still lives.
Mom's garden is all a-bloom with signs of spring - hyacinths, pansies, tulips and daffodils.  
Our daughter Afton was really impressed by the large clumps of daffs spread throughout Nana's garden.  Yellow, white with yellow, yellow and pink, cream and pink - so many different varieties.  
I love the ruffly cups on these ones:

It had been while since we had visited my father's spot in the nearby cemetery, so my mother suggested we make a hand-tied bouquet of flowers and pay him a visit. She grabbed a piece of purple ribbon (Dad's favourite colour) and lovely little nosegay of spring was created.
Afton proudly carried the flowers to the "park" (that is what the kids call the beautiful green-space where my father is laid to rest) and each of us took  a few moments to "talk" to Daddy about the beautiful spring day.  Of course, tears ensued, but after a cuddle or two we were able to load back into the car  reassured that Dad/Poppa was in a better place, enjoying the happiness of heaven.  

Now onto the dinosaur part of this post!!
A few months back I had made a pretty, flowery apron for my daughter to wear when she helps me bake.  Of course, my younger son was jealous and begged for one of his own- "Only Mommy?  Can I have a yellow one with boy things on it?"  I found this fabric at the local fabric shop.  Perfect, isn't  it??

To spice it up, I added a few rows of super-sized red ric-rac.

And, I'll admit, I cheated by using some pre-made bias tape.  Why spend all that time sewing, ironing and cutting my own diagonal bias, when I can buy 3 metres of it for less than $2.00!!  (and this gingham is so cute!)

So what do you think?
Camden was through-the -roof excited!! He often wears it for hours at a time, baking or not.  He calls it his "Super Hero Apron."  Too funny.  Sure honey.  A lot superheroes where outfits like this on their days-off!!

Sunday, April 15, 2012

We Met, We Married, We Lived, We Love

I am in the process of creating several framed pieces of art for a gallery wall I am hoping to hang in our family room in the near future.   I am going to use all black frames (spray-painted thrift store finds of course!) and fill them meaningful pictures, art and memorabilia.

So far I have framed this cornflower print in memory of my father who recently passed away from ALS  (The cornflower is the ALS  flower.)

And stitched these "words to live by."

Now, I've decided it's time for something that represents the establishment of our family, almost 10 years ago ( I can't believe hubby and I have been married for nearly 10 years!! Time flies when you are having fun!)
I printed out maps from Mapquest representing the places where the  significant events of our "couple-dom" occurred..    I then punched them into heart shapes using a scrapbooking paper punch, making sure that the city/town/etc. could be clearly seen.

I inked the edges of the hearts so they would show up better on my yellow cardstock background.  I also placed some sticky foam squares underneath to raise them a bit from the yellow.  
UWO stands for the University of Western Ontario when hubby and I met doing our Music Education undergrads.

Mt.Carmel - the little tiny village out in the middle of farm country where we were married in May of 2002.  I added the red brads to emphasize the locations as well.  

The third heart represents the first town we lived together.  We had 3 homes there and 2 of our children were born there.  

The fourth heart is the town in which we now live.  Our third child came home here and this is where to plan to grow our deepest roots and raise our family.  We LOVE it here.  

I can't wait to finish all of the items for our gallery wall.  I have about 5 other ideas I want to get framed.  My original goal was to have the wall done by Easter. Hmmmm....Maybe now I'll aim for our anniversary!