Hazel the Hedgehog

Good friends of ours announced that they were expecting their first child in November of 2014. Now before I continue, let me just state for the record, this quilt was finished well before now, I just haven’t blogged about it.  As I was saying, they were expecting their first baby.  They, like many, decided not to find out if the baby was a boy or a girl, which as a quilter can be challenging.  I have found some nice collections of fabrics but sometimes I struggle with what colors or fabrics to use.  I worry about using a fabric that has some florals, in case it is a boy.

Well, after some searching I came upon Elizabeth Hartman’s Hazel the Hedgehog.  I thought it was the prefect quilt to do for a little girl or boy.  I really leaned toward this one because the original was done in solid fabrics  and that is a great option when you aren’t sure if the baby will be a boy or a girl – no big flowers to worry about.

One afternoon I headed out to the local fabric store and picked some fun solid fabrics for the hedgehog spines and bodies. Of course I threw a red hedgehog in as red is one of the first colours a baby will see.  By the time I had all my supplies I had a little over a month to complete the quilt from start to finish.  Completely feasible as October is a fairly “easy” month at school.  I remember going to school on a Thursday morning and sharing with a friend which quilt and colours I was going to use. That morning I spoke with the mom to be on the phone about a surprise shower they wanted to have a work – as the dad works with me and nothing surprises him.  Then I got a text from the dad saying they were off to the hospital as the water broke.  Later that night they welcomed a beautiful little girl into the world and they moved the surprise shower up 4 weeks.  Which gave me just two weeks to complete the project.  After pulling an ALL NIGHT sewing bee in the kitchen (sorry again Nate) I was able to complete it for them.  I simply love how this one turned out.  Look at their cute faces?

The pattern is quite fun to do once you get a handle on all the spins and not misplacing them – or having someone borrow them off the table.  Because it is Elizabeth Hartman it is very well written, with great diagrams and options for bigger sizes. I love that about her patterns.  I would definitely make this pattern again, after of course I try the foxes, whales and bunnies.

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Summer 2015

Right now I am sitting on my deck in my adirondack chair, the temp is 22 degrees Celsius (though apparently it feels like 25) and it is lovely out.  Just so you are aware I wrote that sentence on the evening of July 21, I finished the post a little later on.  The only thing that could make this scenario better is if I had a lovely drink beside me like a black tea lemonade or a mocha frap – as I am not a wine drinker.

Summer has been lovely so far.  Ella and I have gotten up to many great adventures so far.  We have been to water splash parks, playgrounds, farmers markets, the zoo, some pancake breakfasts and a bit of shopping just to name a few.  We often spend our afternoons playing in the back yard – her in the pool and me hand stitching as I try not to get splashed.

Currently, I am stitching the Crabapple Hill Whooterville quilt.  The owls are great in this quilt because they are too cartoony.

This summer I also took another quilting class at Out of Hand here in Calgary.  It is a 6 part series that has us working through the My Small World Quilt by Jen Kingwell.  It was featured in the Quiltmania Special Issue that came out a little bit ago – I can’t remember the date I’m sorry.  It is such a fun quilt to make as well.  I’ve only done the first section but really like how it is taking shape.

A couple of weeks ago I spent the entire morning and part of the afternoon at my friend Paula’s place for a quilting time – non stop and managed to complete all the “sky” section.  That is all the top section of low volume fabrics – most of the pieces are 1.5″ with a few 2.5″  It took the entire time I was there to complete it, but it is done and now I can have fun with the bottom.  YEAH!

We have also been to Canmore and Kelowna for a short holiday and Ella and I will be working on round 2 of our swimming lessons.  Can’t wait!

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How Embarrassing, 3 Months? Really?

Photo by George Hodan

Photo by George Hodan

It is embarrassing to think that its been about 3 months since I’ve been on the blog.  Good intentions lead my goal making for this year, trying to write something at least once a month, but some how LIFE had other plans for me.  You know the saying, “Life happens when you make other plans.”  Nothing bad, mind you, but life, busyness, too much of everything got in the way.

Thankfully, I don’t think I’ve had a school year like this since, oh, I first started teaching – that very first year about 10 years ago.  This year once Christmas break finished it was a steady roller coaster.  It felt just like a roller coaster too.  One minute I was climbing that slow, jerky climb to the top, knowing full well that there was going to be one heck of a drop on the other side.  Slowly, painfully it climbed, it was torture.  The top couldn’t come fast enough because on the other side was an easy descent – just incredibly quick – often I would blink and it would be over A couple of twists and turns and loop d loops thrown at me and then another monstrous climb.  And once March hit, hold on to your socks, Jen, it is going to be quite a ride until June.  Often I felt like the dandelion in the picture above, just holding on as the rain was pummelling me.

There was little time for anything, and I mean anything.  From March to June I was busy, almost every evening with one thing or another as well as on the weekends.  On evenings or weekends I was at home, I was prepping or working on something for upcoming events/classes/meetings OR I was passed out on the sofa from exhaustion.  I missed out on time with Nate and Ella and Molly and that was too much for me.  God bless Nate for picking up the slack at home, and not once complaining about it.  (Though, between you and me, I think it means i’m going to have to keep pretty tight lipped come hunting season this year.) Anyways, I wasn’t very fun either and I looked a little worse for wear – lets just say I tried a lot of anti puffy, dark circle removing eye cream, still trying to find one that works.

When June came, I felt better.  I was sleeping, really sleeping, not just a couple of hours here or there, but for 6-8 hours. That is practically unheard of for me.  Probably because I was trying to catch up on months of sleep depravation.

This upcoming school year, there are some changes coming.  I am reclaiming my time, my family time, my priorities and putting somethings on hold or aside.  It will be healthier.

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Shiny and Brite

I’ve really enjoyed stitching this pattern by Crabapple Hill Studios.  The color tinting was a lot of fun to do and I loved using the sparkle floss by Cosmo.

However, I’m not sure if I love the fabric I picked to do the outside borders.  I was also surprised about how big it ended up being.

I’m trying to get this finished for the Out of Hand challenges – so May 15 is my date to finish this, though I now have to find a wall to hang it on, once it is finished.

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34 Things to do…..Another Birthday List

Happy Birthday to me, Happy Birthday to me, Happy Birthday dear me, Happy Birthday to ME!

happy-birthday-girl-by-D-Sharon-Pruitt-thumb-280x186-10087

Today is my 34th birthday. Its hard to believe actually.  I don’t know if I’m quite ready to be 34, that means I am almost in the mid thirties.  YIKES!

Anyways, three years ago I started a “TO DO list” for myself, a bucket list of sorts for the year, 31 things that I wanted to do before I hit 32.  This year I had 33 things to accomplish and you know something I think I did really well completing the majority of them.

Because I enjoyed the list so much, I decided to make another list, my 34 things to do before I hit 35.  So here we go.  Each year there is one more thing….should have started with a count down instead.

  1. Have some gelato in Italy
  2. Step foot in St. Mark’s Cathedral, Venice, Italy
  3. Have authentic Italian Pizza
  4. Print the Year Book for Ella
  5. Complete level 2 of swimming with Ella
  6. Make a bean bag chair for Ella
  7. Make a cute little girl dress for Ella
  8. Get Ella’s basement play room set up
  9. Take Ella to Barrier Lake for a picnic
  10. Finish my Swoon Quilt top
  11. Finish the Shiny and Brite Quilt
  12. Do a small applique project to get over my fear
  13. Walk at least 10 000 steps on week days and 7000 on weekends (minimum)
  14. Lose 15 lbs
  15. Get a Cruiser bike to bike to work
  16. Ride my bike around the Reservoir
  17. Bike to work at least 3 times a week during the Spring/Summer/Fall at least
  18. Bike to Fish Creek for a picnic
  19. Learn at least 5 chords on the Ukulele
  20. Practice my Ukulele at least once per week
  21. Not blow my FUN money budget
  22. Go Bowling with Nate at least once
  23. Go to a movie in the theatre with Nate
  24. Go to the CPO
  25. Eat at a new restaurant
  26. Go out for Ice Cream and sit in the park to eat it
  27. Purge the stuff under the stairs
  28. Take a family vacation
  29. Blog at least once a month
  30. Read Lord of the Rings book 1
  31. Make Peanut Butter Ice Cream
  32. Make cupcakes that actually turn out
  33. Try one new menu item each month
  34. Purge my Closet

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Sleep Sack for Ella

Ella was in need of a new sleep sack as the winter months approached.  She has a thin cotton one, that we knew would’t be warm in the cool temperatures.  I headed out to a couple of stores to find the next size and something a little heavier than cotton.  But I had a lot of trouble finding the next size up.  Ones I found in the 18-24 month, were a shocking amount of money. Who knew a sleep sack could be $80 plus?

In the end I decided to try my hand at making one for her. I used some fabric I had left over from a quilt to make the quilted front.  I picked up some flannel to make the inside.

This was a bit more challenging than I first thought and I made some mistakes along the way, but in the end I am thrilled with the result.  Ella loves it too.  In fact, every quilt she sees she now calls a sack.  I would love to have one myself.

Since the piece had a quilted front and a flannel inside, I had to figure out, along the way, how to join those pieces together with a finished seam, AND join the pieces to make the sack again with a finished seam.  Perhaps the arm holes are a touch tight because of this mishap.  My seam ripper became a VERY GOOD friend through this project.

Now that I know how to do this, I will be able to make the next one without so many tribulations.

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FNQG: Zipper Challenge

Zippers seem to be one sewing basic that strikes the fear in the heart of almost all sewists or quilters that I know.  Back in June we began planning this year’s guild program. We came up with a little zippered pouch to do for one of our challenges.   It was going to be great.  Then I started to get emails about it.  Perhaps people hadn’t quite gotten over their fear of the zipper.

So I revamped things a bit.  We moved the zipper challenge to December for those BRAVE ENOUGH to take the plunge.  Nine people did.  Which is great, I thought it was only going to be me and one other lady.

I used Elizabeth Hartman’s “Quilt as you Go” tutorial and a package of 2.5″x5″ rectangles that I had.  I also followed the tutorial I found on Lori Hartman Designs to make the actual pouch.

I’m really happy with the way the pouch turned out.  I used a puffy batting that I had a little piece of and it really made the pouch seem like it had some substance – nothing flimsy here.  Love it.  I laugh in the face of zippers!

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