These hands belong to one of the most amazing woman I know. I use to sit and watch these hands make the most amazing baking creations, while they would pass me a spoon to lick in secret. These hands would let me knead the dough or add the sprinkles or ice the butter horns. Wondrous family meals, followed by snacks, followed by a little night lunch, just to make sure no one was ever left hungry, was prepared by these hands. As pages would be carefully turned on the family photo albums, these hands would be pointing out and sharing each new adventure. These hands would trace the line of the family tree sharing something that had just been found out. In the evenings as we gathered around the table, these hands would deal a deck of cards to play a friendly card game. These hands would cover her face when she got laughing too hard, especially when our golfing went so horribly wrong.
These hands could take a little paint and a canvas and with a few brush strokes turn it into a piece of art. These hands would work magic with a needle, thread and sewing machine. I saw pieces of limp, uninspired fabric transform into elegant masterpieces with the guidance of these hands. When I was a little girl I would sit in the corner of her sewing room and watch these hands at work and marvel at what would happen and I wished one day I could do only a portion of what these hands did. During summers these hands would embrace whatever craft I suggested. Decoupage, air brush painting, stencilling, ribbon embroidery, tie dying, rug hooking, needle point, or mop doll making. And those hands did each one with grace. These hands were patient as they guided me through my attempts at crocheting and knitting, putting in stitches and taking them out again and again. These hands taught me to sew and what was possible on a sewing machine. These hands taught me the finer side of embroidery, the even stitches, the perfect knot, the back sides being as neat as the front.
These hands were loving.
These hands were some of my most favourite to hold. They meant comfort and love and caring. These hands would hold on tight when there was a sense that I needed the extra support. These hands would wrap around me after a bad dream or in a warm embrace. They would brush my hair aside after something sad. These hands have cupped my face in a moment of despair telling me that I was her perfect princess, that I was just the way I was suppose to be and to heck with all those others.
These hands held my baby girl, loved my baby girl. I gifted my baby girl with part of her name and made it part of hers – Anne. Anne which means grace.
I held these hands for the last time on Sunday, when I went to say goodbye. A hard good bye. These are my Grandma’s hands. My Grandma said goodbye to us all and left for Home on December 22. I know one day I will hold these hands again, but until that day, I will hold onto each one of these memories and never let them go.
Friends of ours welcomed their second baby in May, I know I’m late on putting a post up about it. Their second baby was a little girl.
Though, when I started making the quilt they weren’t sure if it was going to be a girl or a boy. So I had to be careful about which fabrics to select and a pattern that didn’t scream FOR A GIRL or BOY.
Ever since making the wonderful SWOON quilt by Thimble Blossom, I knew I wanted to at some point take that block and make it BIGGER. I thought it would be the perfect quilt for a little one.
This was easier said than done. I made the assumption that all I had to do was do some fancy math – figure out how big I wanted it and see how much I increased it by and viola! Defiantly wrong there. Each block normally is 18″ squared. I thought making the block double the size would be the perfect quilt size for a child. Because it was doubled, I just assumed that I could take that pattern and double each of the measurements and it would work out. It did not. I can’t even tell you how I managed in the end because there was some fancy cutting and sewing here and there to get it to come together. But in the end I am pleased as punch with how it turned out. The fabric came from Connecting Threads. The yellow is from Cotton and Steel’s Leo Lounge and I am sorry to say I can’t remember the blue with yellow dots at the moment and can’t seem to find it anymore.
One day I will try this block again in this bigger size and the next time I will have to write down what I did.
As Ella put it, “Messy Mommy. Clean it up!” about my sewing room and how it might have spread out into the main basement area. I will admit that I wasn’t really enjoying being in there work at all so I mostly avoided it. But once Ella and Nate got on to my case I realized I better clean the mess up.
With Nate’s help we pulled EVERYTHING out of the sewing room and sorted through it.
These are the bags of fabric I had around, from projects that were finished but I just didn’t put away – this is also embarrassing but its time people know the truth.
This pile here is projects. Either cut out and bagged and ready to go, or fabric and patterns that need to be cut. There is a middle pile that I didn’t take a photo of, it was of just cuts of fabric and scraps.
After 2 evenings I was able to sort it all and get it put away in a more orderly fashion and one that I can actually work with.
Now I’m down there quite a bit puttering away on projects that I’m enjoying and enjoying being in the space again.
Back in March I was telling you about the Crabapple Hill’s Shiny and Brite quilt I was working on. I was also lamenting about how I wasn’t sure if I liked the fabric I had selected – well I take back everything I said. In the end it turned out wonderfully. I love it in fact, though I don’t have the foggiest idea of where I’m going to hang it at Christmas time. But I will cross that bridge in October when it begins to snow here.
I think what clinched it for me was the red polka dot binding I used. It just makes me happy to see it outlined in that fun red. This took a little while to quilt as I stippled in the middle section and then used a straight line patten around the pinwheels and a loopy pattern in the borders. The straight lines took the longest part and it took me a couple of passed to figure out a good, logical and effective way to stitch around so I wasn’t twisting the turning the quilt to much.
I was even able to complete it for the deadline at Out of Hand for their shopping spree contest. I didn’t win, but I was able to walk away with 12 other ladies who completed something in the year. As a door prize I was given a pretty sweet little iron that I have very much enjoyed using.
This March I was fortunate to be a chaperone on the school travel club’s trip to Italy. It was the first one we had ever taken and I knew it was an experience of a life time. For months leading up to the trip I didn’t think I would be able to go. Simply because I didn’t know if I could leave Ella and I am not the best flyer. But as Nate and my parents said, it was a chance of a lifetime. So I went.
After long plane rides and long layovers (Calgary – Toronto – Frankfurt – Naples) we landed in Naples and immediately began our adventure. Herculaneum and Pompeii were amazing to see, I can’t believe how they were buried under ash from Mount Vesuvius. Then we were off to Rome for a couple of days. My head is still spinning from all we saw in Rome. The Colosseum, Imperial Rome, the Spanish Steps, Circus Maximus, the Vatican, and 5 or 6 Basilicas. On our way to Florence we made a stop in Assisi. I had the best time in Florence, we were given some free time to go around and explore and the group of girls I was with was amazing. Loved them. From Florence we went to Jesolo and would take a water taxi to Venice. Venice was so busy as it was Good Friday the day we were there, but what a place it is. I was terrified about getting lost.
I saw things I never thought I would ever get to see in my lifetime.
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.
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!