Friday, 27 March 2015

Postcards from the city

My mother in law told me that she was wanting a small zippy pouch to hold a few small makeup essentials for on the go. So I made her one!

I just received my Cotton and Steel Club package in the mail this week, and in it was a print with postage stamps on it. 
Postage stamps are second from the top on the right
I thought it would be cute to make a pouch that looked like a postcard using those stamps. 

I used pinking shears to cut out the stamps I wanted to use, then fused them to the base fabric with fusible web. I top stitched over them, then used a couple of the fancy stitches on my machine to "cancel" them. 

Then I hand embroidered her name in the address spot 

I made a strip for the bottom, to look like  the stickers they put on mail if it goes by air. I used a line from the Heartfelt fabric that says "the little things", since that is what the pouch is used for! 

Then for the front of the postcard, I made a city scene with a print of houses, and a wrought iron fence from the Bluebird Park fabric line. 

And last but not least, I finished it off with a pink rose and brass charm for the zipper pull. 

The inside lining coordinates well with the outside colour scheme. 

I love how this bag turned out, and I think I may have to make myself one next! 

Tuesday, 24 March 2015

Feelin good on a Wednesday: Charley Harper love!

I recently signed up for a Charley Harper themed Instagram swap hosted by Sewn Studio. This has given me lots of opportunities to engage with Charley Harper's art, and hone in on what I love about his work.
A few of my favourite pieces
I put together a few inspiration boards for my partner. 
Happiness is the longing for repetition. - Milan Kundera
Obviously, I love that his work is all about animals and nature. I adore biology, and the world around me. I also love that he has really embraced the beauty in repetition. And that use of repetition highlights the beauty in the anomaly. In nature, no two animals are identical, but within a species they are certainly similar. Charley Harper makes us see what we already know, and shows us the beauty at the heart of it. 

I love Charley Harper's self described minimal realism style. His geometric shapes and bold colours lend themselves well to recreating his art in quilt form. 
Some amazing projects!
And that his art has been shared with the world as fabric is a true gift to us all! (At least, those of us who sew!) In my reading about Charley Harper, I found this quote of his about painting.  I think it is true about all crafts, and is certainly true for quilting.  

I will share what I have put together for my partner soon. It has been a joy interacting with Charley Harper's work, and this swap has just reinforced for me that his art is something I will never tire of. To learn more about Charley Harper and his art, head over to The Charley Harper Art Studio, or visit my Pinterest page to see more of my favourites.

The Alphabetical Laura: Books

Books. God I love them! I love the look of them, I love the feel of them, I love reading them. I love old books and new books, picture books and chapter books, thick books and thin books, fiction books and biographies.
My basement bookshelves
I participate in a bookclub that has been meeting for almost ten years. We take turns choosing books and hosting a monthly meeting to discuss the book and eat snacks (sometimes related to the book, if possible!). At the end, we each rate the book on a scale of 1-6, to eliminate the fence-sitting nature of a 1-5 scale. 

I also challenge myself to read beyond the bookclub. My personal reads fill in the gaps between bookclub books, so I can typically read two books a month, one bookclub, one personal. My yearly reading goal is 24 books. Last year, I managed 33! (I was on medical leave for a few months, so that helped to boost the numbers.)

My main floor bookshelf with all my prettiest books

I know they always say to not judge a book by its cover. But I'm not going to lie, I definitely let cover art influence my attraction to a book. An eye catching cover draws you in, and a beautiful book on the outside has a lot of potential to be a beautiful book on the inside. 
My husband and I first started to bond over books. We met during mutual employment at a toy store, and we would talk about reading in the aisles while tidying up at the end of the night. He asked me for a reading recommendation, and I lent him Kurt Vonnegut's Slaughtershouse-Five. Nine years later, he gave me a first edition copy of the book on the morning of our wedding. To this day, one of our favourite date destination is wondering around the bookstore. 
One of my most treasured possessions
It has always been my dream to be an author. I just love books so much, that I want one of my very own! In the meantime, I will keep practicing my writing for the blog, and keep reading (you know, for research....!). 

Saturday, 21 March 2015

Welcome to the world Baby Lina!

My BFF had a baby this week, an adorable little cutie named Lina May! Of course, I have a knitted blanket ready to present to the new little princess. 

I decided on go with a star shaped blankie, because I thought it would be interesting, and I hadn't done anything like it before. This is a crochet pattern, and it was really quite easy once I got the centre star figured out. After that, it just radiates out, getting bigger and bigger with each round. 

I chose a rainbow of bright colours, because my friend likes bright colours. In retrospect, I would probably leave out the grey if I did it again. At this point though, I'm already committed! 

To get ready for Lina's arrival, her mom and I made some slip covers to refashion an old glider rocking chair that was given to her. This is the before picture:

And this is the after:

Wow! What a difference! Proof yet again, that you can DIY anything with the right internet tutorial. 

Wednesday, 18 March 2015

The Alphabetical Laura: Animals

I have always been a huge fan of animals. I was the kid who found a stray cat at the park and convinced it to follow me home. Then it lived under our deck, getting bigger and bigger with kittens until my mom felt sorry for it and finally brought it in the house.

I remember going camping as a child and trying to lure chipmunks out of the bushes with sunflower seeds. They would peek their little heads out and grab the seeds, getting a little closer every time. I got greedy and wanted to get super close to them, so I tried to get them to take the seeds right from my hand. I ended up getting bit. 

I begged and begged for a dog, and we finally got one when I was in second grade. I took him to school for show-and-tell, where one of my classmates asked my mom "if he's a boy dog, then why does he have nipples?" Rusty was a great dog; except when he was jumping on the table to steal a Mars bar, or lick up all the butter. 
My first dog, Rusty
My love for animals has shaped my life in many ways. I am employed in a vet clinic as a Registered Animal Health Technologist. I always say "it's kinda like the nurse in the vet world" when asked what the heck that means. But truly, I do so much more. 
Me, performing dentistry on a knitted cat
Yes, I do practice good nursing every day. I place catheters, and comfort pets, keep them clean and comfortable, feed and bathe them, give them TLC when they need it most. But I also draw blood, take X-rays, and run lab tests, like blood counts and chemistries, urinalysis, fecal analysis, cytologies, and parasite screens. I perform blood transfusions and chemotherapy, assist in surgery, perform dental cleanings and administer and monitor anesthesia. I discuss nutrition, dental care, grooming, training, and post-surgical care with clients every day, and I teach training consults with clients whose pets need specialized care, such as diabetic pets. I ensure that our hospital is clean, organized, well stocked with medications and supplies, and providing excellent care to every patient. I help new puppy and kitten owners welcome their new family member into their lives, and I help elderly and sick pets to pass away in a peaceful and pain free way. 

A stray kitten that was turned into our clinic
I love what I do, because I do it alongside animals. There is nothing sweeter than a cat or dog that is so thankful when we help them to feel better. I am grateful that I have the education and training that I do to be able to work in this field. 

A duckling with a broken wing that came into the clinic
My favourite animals are probably cats. And special mentions goes to foxes, sloths, frogs, deer, raccoons (don't tell my husband-he hates them), mice, lions and tigers, bears, bison, wolves, birds, whales, dinosaurs, fish, zebras, and platypuses. Really, the list goes on and on. If something has an animal on it, I am instantly drawn to it. When I see fabric featuring animals, I typically want it. 

A sampling of some of my animal fabric
When my husband and I got married, our wedding theme was lovebirds. I made a bride and groom pair of birds for the top of our cake. 
Bride and groom birds
My favourite Christmas decoration is adding a Santa hat to our crocodile head. 
Merry Christmas!
And of course, I have pets of my own. 
Annyong and Bronson.... if only they could figure out how to play together!
Do you have a favourite animal? 

Sunday, 15 March 2015

Let them eat cake! (And sew it, too!)

As you may have seen, I made a birthday cake block to share as my 52 Quilters contribution.
You can read all about it here

I was inspired by this pattern, but had to design my own to accommodate the size specifications, and my desire to have three candles.

So I set to work using Excel to plan out the picture. I decided each square would represent a quarter inch, so it was easy to figure out what size to cut all the pieces.

I cut and sewed the pieces together in groups from the bottom up. To make the angled corners (pieces B, E, H, M), line up the square pieces over the base piece and sew along the diagonal of the square, then press open.

At the end of building the block, I sewed long strips along all four sides, then squared up the block so that it measures 8.5x8.5 inches. 

If you use this pattern, please let me know how it goes! I planned it out initially, and amended as I went, but I haven't "tested it", so to speak. So if you try it and find any mistakes, please tell me. Or if you try it and don't find any mistakes, let me know that too! 

Tuesday, 10 March 2015

Birthday week cookies: #15cookiesin2015 part 4

When I set the intention to make more cookies this year, specifically 15 batches, I intended to try all new recipes. However, since last week was my birthday week, I decided to fudge the 'rule' just a little bit. I made my favourite oatmeal cookies from my grandma's recipe cards, but tweeked them by adding in Reece's Pieces candies. These are my new favourite! They were so good, my husband and I ate 30 cookies in 3 days. They didn't even make it to my birthday!

Sunday, 8 March 2015

And last but not least...

Today was my last day with 52 Quilters, so I wrote a final blog post about my experience, my quilt block contribution, and thanking everyone profusely. It gets a bit gushy. Head over there to read it!
My 52Q block contribution - a birthday cake to celebrate my 30th!
And if you like the quilt block, I posted my pattern here.

Friday, 6 March 2015

More 52Q fun!

My lastest post has hit the 52Quilters blog , and it is all about creative ways to avoid spending a small fortune getting started on your quilting hobby. Head over there to read all about it!

Wednesday, 4 March 2015

I'm still over at 52Q!

My Briar Rose quilt, among other projects, makes another appearance in my guest blog post at 52 Quilters today. It's all about learning via the Internet,  believing in yourself to try something new, and being proud of yourself for your accomplishments without comparing yourself to others. Head over there to read more!

Monday, 2 March 2015

My week with 52 Quilters starts today!

Starting today, I will be guest blogging with the 52 Quilters project for the next week!

Please follow along at the 52 Quilters blog, and on Twitter and Instagram @52Quilters. My first blog post is an introduction post, so head over and get to know me a little more! This is going to be so much fun!