The Compulsive Quilter

>> Wednesday, February 27, 2008

I accidentally pressed "publish post" before actually writing the post..

Anyway, I've now finished piecing together the quilt and basting it together. This is the quilt after being pieced:
Then this is the quilt after basting with red and orange thread (to show up clearly):
Happily, you can now see the lattice pattern really clearly, which is what I had hoped for. Also everyone at the Workroom Quilt Sunday was really nice about the imperfections that were bothering me and agreed that this was good for something handmade. Also, Karyn has some great quality (but affordable) batting so I recommend getting yours at the Workroom. It's 90" wide so I only needed to buy 2 yards for this Double sized quilt.
I think I basted too much, but I didn't want to worry about shifting while I do the hand quilting. This way it's very secure and I didn't need to add any pins. Also I'd like to get by without a frame. Because I don't really need any more craft supplies and don't really want to buy one. (did I just say that??)

This is how it looks in the back:
I used a sheet for the backing, but if you do this just check that it's not a very tight weave which can be hard to hand quilt. In case you're wondering, I haven't done hand quilting before but I love the way it looks so I'll be learning how. I'll let you know how that goes...

Next post I'm going to be showing off a 1930s quilt I just bought. It's beautiful!


New countertops!

>> Friday, February 22, 2008

As part of the blow-by-blow aspect of the blog world, here is the latest stage in our kitchen renovation. Sorry if this is too much fuss over our little galley kitchen, but we were so excited to finally get our new countertop today. Also there's some technical details I'll share in case they're helpful for those of you also working on your kitchens.

We ordered it at Home Depot. The company that made and installed it is called Contours and they did such a nice job. The holes for the sink and faucet are perfect, and the installer even asked me about exactly where we'd like the faucet. As you can see in the top picture they had to cut away from the cabinet at the back a little bit to fit the sink. Then they added extra strips of wood on the walls for support.
Then they put in the countertops and cut the holes:
We still need to install the dishwasher, so the wooden frame it's standing on will go and it will attach to the countertop. The countertop material is Corian solid surface, but there is a strip of wood affixed to the underside that you can screw the dishwasher into. (ie. no need for a side-mounting kit). We chose an "eased" edge for the countertop which means it looks square but the corners aren't too sharp. It's 1.5" thick on the edges but the main area is thinner than that.

Because we have IKEA cabinets without a frame, you need a "build up" for laminate countertops so that the drawers clear the countertop when you pull them out. This isn't necessary for Corian countertops because they are already built up with the way they are put together.
They did such a nice job,even the caulking around the edges is perfect:Here's the right side of the kitchen:
And finally a detail of the surface:
My tips for picking your countertop are to take a cabinet door with you if you can, and a paint chip of your wall colour. It's hard to remember colours, and there's so many different whites and browns and greys it can be hard to guess what will coordinate if you don't have them in front of you.

We chose Corian because it's very practical, it's stain & scratch-resistant, maintenance free, non-porous, bacteria-resistant and heat-resistant. It can be repaired if you damage the surface because it's a solid material as opposed to laminate which is a coating on another material. Also I've always loved the feel of it, it has a smooth stony feeling.

It was one of the most expensive ones, but we just gave up with the budget. We've done pretty well so far and it's really a bargain kitchen all things considered. So we spent more than we'd expected but it was worth it. We just couldn't find a cheaper option we really liked. When you've done so much work and already spent a lot, it's disheartening to choose something you don't really like.

Now that we have this done we can take a sample piece of the countertop when we go to choose backsplash tiles. That's going to be lots of fun! Also we will finally have our sink installed early next week and so no more washing up in the bathroom sink. Can't wait for that!


The impatient quilter

>> Thursday, February 21, 2008

I started a quilt at the workroom a month ago by cutting out strips of blue patterned fabrics I had collected from my stash. I started cutting fabric before I'd decided exactly what to do, mainly because a quilt is such a big project I thought I should just start or I never would. I thought I might just do horizontal bars of the blue prints.

Since then I was re-reading Jane of Lantern Hill for the nth time and discovered something funny. When I was little and read the book she described her bed as a wooden "spool" bed and I imagined something shaped a bit like a wooden spool of thread, but shorter and wider in proportion. Reading it again now I realize that a spool bed is actually one with turned wooden posts, which is exactly what we have(this links to an old post that has lots of "before" pictures of our house too).

So when I came across her description of three quilts that her father gave her for their new house on the island I looked them up online. The one she put on her bed is an Irish Chain, and I decided that was exactly the pattern I would like to do for mine. It's fairly easy to make, and pretty and has that lattice look I like. Also I wanted lots of white in the background so all the prints wouldn't look too busy.

It's very simple. First I cut 6" squares, then divided each one into thirds, ie. 2" x 6" strips (below right). Then these are sewn together alternating the colours with plain white (below bottom left). You do colour-white-colour, then half as many that are white-colour-white. Each of these are then trimmed into thirds again (below top left).Then you piece together squares that look like a checker board. At this stage I trimmed each square again to make sure it was just the right size. These squares are then alternated with plain white squares. Once you put it all together, you don't see the checkerboard pattern, but a lattice, ie. diagonal lines of coloured squares. Especially if you kind of squint your eyes when looking at it.

I laid out all the squares onto a sheet so I could see how the quilt would look and Bradley helped arrange them so that there was a good balance of patterns.
So far I've sewn together all the rows, and now I need to join the rows to each other to finish the quilt top. Which I'd like to do in time for the Workroom quilting Sunday and then I will work on basting the quilt top to the batting and backing.
I say impatient because I've rushed through a lot of this and it's not as perfect as I'd like. Little mistakes tend to compound and the squares don't meet perfectly at the corners throughout as they should. I realized partway through that I should be using the hem guide that came with my sewing machine and it's made a huge difference. I've had to rework a few pieces to make them the right size, but it's going together fairly well now and will probably be nice once it's done. I hope!



>> Wednesday, February 13, 2008

I was tagged by Varenia Jensen recently for 7 things about me. I was reading Becky's new blog today and decided to post my own rubber ducky. And then it occurred to me I could tell you about it along with telling you some things about me.

1. First of all this ducky came in a tiny kit that was given to a friend's grandma on the airplane when visiting from England. I think it also came with a tiny toothpaste and other things like that. This grandma was not interested in the kit, possibly because poor eyesight precluded much enjoyment of such tiny things. So the friend received the kit and then gave it to me because I love kits. And tiny things. Preferably things with a purpose, not just knick-knacks. Not that this duck has a purpose but I've always wanted one and never had much room so having the smallest one ever was kind of convenient.

2. Speaking of not having much room, there's a reason for all the organization you're seeing on my blog. I've always lived in a pretty small space. Before this house, my husband and I shared a 400-square-foot condo. And we did quite well, but everyone thought we were crazy and now that we're ensconsed in a palatial 600-square-foot house I quite agree.

3. Anyway back when we were living in the condo a certain small visitor of ours, perhaps at the age of 3, discovered this rubber ducky on a visit to the bathroom. Played with it for a bit then pocketed it and took it home. I didn't notice until I got a call from her dad who mentioned that she had the ducky and would be returning it. Now there a couple things about me here that I could tell you.

4. First of all, I did things like that All The Time when I was little. Just weird little errors in judgment. Such as the time I cut off all my eyelashes (because I thought the eyelash stubble would feel interesting - which it did) and was barred from using scissors for ages. Which was a real punishment for someone who loved cut and paste as much as I did.

5. Second of all, I was quite sympathetic and thought she should just keep the ducky and she was welcome to it. But I knew that wasn't allowed because she had to learn the Lesson. Don't Go To Someone's House, Find Something You Like, Pick it Up and Take it Home. Anyway now that it's been returned and a couple of years have gone by maybe I can give it back to her now. Which is what I wanted to do it the first place and shows you I'd be hopeless at teaching such lessons.

6. Which brings me to another thing about me. I still have the thing. I'm not really attached to it anymore but I wouldn't just throw it out. In general I do get attached to things and can't let them go. But I'm getting better and lately I've been giving all kinds of things away. I think it's part of being Anthea Turnered, or generally influenced by all those tidying & decorating shows. And it does feel really good, because you appreciate the things you have, the space and being able to find things.
7. And finally in case you think my place is looking really incredibly organized and nice, believe me, those are the pictures I'm showing you, and there are still plenty of things still lying around waiting to be sorted out. And the house still needs tons of work that we can't really afford to do right now - for example you can see in the picture above, a giant (1970s?) washing machine that we have crammed into our bathroom. There's really nowhere else to put it and it's such an eyesore.

So here's who I'm tagging:
1. the sweetie pie press
2. toronto craft alert
3. seams likely
4. hazeljoy
5. hey lucy
6. bamboo sticks
7. hurrayic

Here's the rules:
1. Link to your tagger and post these rules on your blog.
2. Share 7 facts about yourself on your blog, some random, some weird.
3. Tag 7 people at the end of your post by leaving their names as well as links to their blogs.
4. Let them know they are tagged by leaving a comment on their blog.


Valentine's Trunk Show 2

>> Monday, February 11, 2008

log cabin heart pin created by Jen Anisef, Toronto Craft Alert

The Valentine's Trunk show was great, so many people showed up and it was great to see what everyone had made. I took home a few treats, there were just too many nice things to tempt!
Back view of the heart pinSilver sheep charm necklace, created by Allison Wells, Papersnake Jewellery
Vintage rosewood crochet hooks, Becky Johnson, Sweetie Pie Press
Assorted vintage buttons, Lucie Davies, Button Me Up

I also bought this blue bamboo fabric from Karyn and it's been whipped up into curtains that are now gracing the sliding doors that are in our kitchen at the back of the house. And they're everything I hoped they would be.


Valentine's Trunk Show

>> Saturday, February 09, 2008

Let's see, in my suitcase I have two needle books, several bags, including two messenger bags with vintage barkcloth decorated flaps, some knitted cosies (including a tiny pink one for a shuffle), one knitted hat with flower pin attached, and one crocheted scarf with scalloped edge, a linen eyeglasses case with a bird embroidered on it, silver beaded jewellery, some pincushions, fabric shopping bags that fold up into matching cases, a few stray bird postcards and lots of fabric zippered pouches. A Mary Poppins-worthy suitcase.

I've got enough things to go in my suitcase, just needs a little tidying. This is for the Valentine's Trunk show tomorrow. In case you're not sure, everyone is absolutely welcome to come, all the vendors will have their things for sale displayed in suitcases, and there are snacks. For example I'm bringing some chocolate chip cookies with walnuts and raisins in them. Also, if you have any extra new hand-knitted items please bring them to donate to the StreetKnit project.

Where? the workroom
When? Sunday February 10th, noon until 5pm
Who? City of Craft's site has a list of vendors and links to their sites
Why should I go? Find cute presents for your valentine, or a little treat for yourself. Why not? Maybe something cheerful to get you through the winter. Also the workroom is very cosy and nice.


I've been Anthea Turnered

>> Wednesday, February 06, 2008

Things are getting very nice in our kitchen after all the chaos. There's still some chores to do: repairs to a hole in the wall next to the plumbing, more baseboards to cut, and we still have holes to drill for pipes. Also we need to create a shelf to go over the stove that the fan will attach to. But... all the cabinets are up, with their doors and hardware attached!

the fan is still sitting on the stove

I've even installed the green bin onto the sink door and the paper towel rack under a cabinet. We're using an extra shelf and a large cutting board as makeshift countertops and it's great to be able to use the drawers. We added the soft shut mechanism and it's definitely worth it. They were the easiest things of all to install, they just snap in place without any tools needed. We didn't even have to take the drawers out.
this corner has the mugs, the kettle, and the drawers below have utensils and all the tea supplies

But to explain the title of this post, I am addicted to Anthea Turner's Perfect Housewife. It's on BBC Canada, my favourite channel. And I've been in a bit of an organization frenzy. I've used some of her ideas, and some of my own, but the main thing is that we have time now before the countertop arrives and I've been sorting out all the kitchen things so that they're grouped together in a way/place that makes sense. For example, all the baking supplies are on one shelf over the countertop which is next to the stove.
I used to have all my plastic containers in one big bin. But now I've stacked each by size and they sit on their matching lids, also stacked. It's a good use of space and you don't have to go hunting for a lid to match the container you want.
After all the chaos, our kitchen is now actually better organized than before we started and it's not even finished. Which makes me very happy.

p.s. I also post on our Illustration for Kids blog, this post is about my art desk organization!


Pretty organized

>> Friday, February 01, 2008

The kitchen is going well, mainly because we had to get things in place for the countertop measurer on Wednesday. It went well, they make cardboard templates of your countertop and glue them in place to make sure they're accurate. Now we just have to wait a few weeks until the countertop is ready to install. Since the kitchen is now more organized I could put away some of the dishes that were in the living room china cabinet I bought specifically for sewing supplies. I've finally organized all my fabric!

The fabric is folded in large squares so that you can see the edge of each one which will make them easier to find. They're sorted by colours of course, with patterns and solids mixed in. I tried to fold them neatly (in thirds if they're big enough) so you can pull one out without messing up the whole pile.

My thread boxes are on top, and the drawers hold smaller items. The lower shelves hold messier remnants of fabric that don't fold as nicely. I want to paint this cabinet white but can't decide. The wood patina is nice on some places but not so much in others. This is the outside of the cabinet: And the inside:
I might just put light wallpaper in the inside to lighten it up without painting. The vintage tins hold things like zippers and bias tape:
I also had some inspiration for my ribbon. I'd already organized it into these metal baskets that came from the dollar store. They are wound onto pieces of paper towel cardboard rolls.
My inspiration was to use some of my vintage thread spools. Finally I have a purpose for them, and it's much nicer than the cardboard. These old wooden spools are just too nice to throw away, but I do actually use the thread so they were empty.
You can wind the lace or ribbon the way you would thread, spiral up and down the spool then secure in place with a pin. I need some shorter pins for this, so if anyone knows where you can find them please let me know!
p.s. the cable stitch from my recent knitting post was adapted from this lovely scarf pattern. For mine, I made the longer cable part shorter and was trying out a double rib for the sides.


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