Fifi and Frances hijinks

>> Thursday, March 27, 2008

When we moved into the new house last summer we packed away tons of our things in baskets and boxes including our two young sock monkeys, Fifi and Frances. A few weeks ago we found them and put them on the couch in our front room. Possibly the hibernation has made them even more rambunctious than previously because it seems they are always up to something silly.

For example, this is their new favourite game:
It's basically exactly what it looks like. They wedge themselves into either end of my folded quilt to make themselves look like one very long sock monkey. That's the game. It's pretty funny actually, every time I come into the room and find them like that I have to laugh.
Anyway, Bradley had a Cath Kidston catalogue around the house and there was a flyer with it for an easter egg painting contest. Well it's not really a contest, more of a draw, but all you do is paint your egg and email a picture and you can win a basket of Cath Kidston floral/gingham things.
(send a photograph of your "eggtrant" to with your name and address. closes 13/04/08)

Things have been busy with work lately and I wasn't going to bother but the monkeys were interested in having their portraits done in egg format. Well they didn't actually say that but they had the flyer around and were looking at it a lot. So last night Bradley drew Frances and I drew Fifi.

Speaking of work, I'm looking forward to showing you some of my new illustrations but I have to wait until the books are printed. So until then, I bring you the ongoing hijinks of Fifi and Frances.


Wool felt embroidered watch strap

>> Tuesday, March 25, 2008

My favourite watch is a Swatch that had a red satin embroidered strap. Unfortunately after tons of wear it became pretty worn looking and then finally the buckle broke. I was inspired by this blog post to make a new strap for it.
First of all I used the old strap to make a paper template and cut out wool felt pieces from it - two for each side. Then I used a piece of twill fabric (with anti-fray) to make pieces shaped like forks with 3 strips that fit through the slots on the watch and stitched them in place. Then the wool straps sandwich the twill piece, top and bottom and get sewn together.After trying it out I realized it was a teeny bit scratchy on the wrist, so I added a ribbon lining. I used anti-fray to the ends. The last step is a snap closure.
The embroidery is done with wool, just a simple flower pattern.
Now I can wear it again!


Spring kitchen

>> Wednesday, March 19, 2008

I was informed by my brother yesterday that he is tired of the bedspread and he would like another post. I'm not sure why he's even interested in my blog given that it's pretty girly! But lots of my friends seem to keep in touch with me through my blog so if I stop posting for awhile I get more phone calls. It's a bit weird if you think about it. Another thing is that I find myself not telling friends about some things for fear of repeating myself. Sometimes I mention things and they say "I know. I read it on your blog".

The main reason for the lack of posts is that I've been babying myself due to a cough/cold recently that kept threatening to get worse (but never really did) and now seems to be wrapping up. Right now I just have those throat clearings that sound like I'm about to make an announcement and would like people's attention. Thank goodness I can get back to blogging about our kitchen.

The big news is that we finally have a sink in our kitchen! So luxurious! I have to stop myself from going in to the bathroom to fill up the kettle because after 3 months it's just habit. I love our new sink, it's white ceramic from IKEA (so you know it was very affordable). It's a good size - we can even soak our cookie trays - which admittedly are small because our stove is tiny. We bought the new faucet just before the renovation, so we're enjoying having it again. The gooseneck style is great because we can still fill the kettle with a sink full of dishes.
Not that we'll have any more sinks full of dishes because we have a dishwasher now! The plumber hooked up the water and Bradley did the electrical connection. He just looked online and in some books and figured out how to do it. So clever. I'm so glad he does that stuff because it's beyond me. This picture shows our new baseboards too, we've only done them behind the cabinets but will be adding them everywhere in the house. They had to rip the old ones out when they did our floors.

And lastly I filled the remaining bare wall with two small decorative (and somewhat functional) shelves. We didn't want upper cabinets on every wall so the kitchen would feel airy and spacious but that wall was looking too bare. This is in keeping with my tendency to do finishing touches before the work is actually finished but oh well it makes me happy. Next we have to do the backsplash and attach the fan over the stove and add finishing panels over the gaps at each end of the cabinets... but for now we're enjoying it as is.


1930s basket quilt

>> Tuesday, March 04, 2008

First of all, no I didn't make this quilt. I bought it on ebay because I really wanted a vintage quilt, especially now that I'm working on one of my own. I've always loved them, but now that I'm making one I have lots of questions about all the details and I wanted to have one up close so I could sort of refer to it.

Then I saw this one and fell in love with it, I love the colour scheme with lots of white, and so many charming little floral and plaid vintage prints. Handmade quilts can be very expensive but this one was surprisingly not, and I think I know why. Vintage quilts seem to be valued on a few factors as far as I can tell, such as the overall condition and the evenness and size of the hand stitching. Patterns that are rare and especially one-of-a-kind are worth more. Quilts that have some history, such as a date and signature are in demand. Then there is the overall artistry, the way the colours and patterns work together.

This quilt is nicely quilted, but the stitches are a little uneven, the patches aren't perfectly aligned, and the stitches which seem so small to me are actually only 6-7 per inch which is good but not considered Expert. And this basket style of quilt is fairly common.

But these little flaws appeal to me, and helped me decide how I'd like my quilt to be. Not Expert, but still very appealing.
Some of the patterns look surprisingly modern, but I think that's because everything old is new again these days and a lot of designers take their inspiration from these old prints. I think the 1930s is my favourite time for fabric. This quilt is so nice because when I'm in bed I can just gaze adoringly at all the prints...
In the meantime I've started quilting my blue Irish Chain quilt... very slowly...


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