Wednesday, January 30, 2013


5 minutes ago.....

Monday, January 28, 2013

like new again....

I've been abusing my iron for months now.  Too many accidents with fusible interfacing have added a burnt coating to the face and made it unwilling to glide on fabric.  Last Fall I picked up a Rowenta iron soleplate cleaning kit at Joanne's in NY....and this weekend I finally broke down and gave it a whirl.

In short, it is awesome!  I took some quick before and after snaps....

Because the crud was so thick in places and definitely very cooked on, it took several applications to get it all off.  I would guess about half of the tube was used all together, but the end result is that my iron looks practically brand new.  A minor miracle, IMHO.  While seemingly pricey ($12 or so?), the kit is a fraction of the cost of a new iron.....and I think that if I just take a few minutes to clean off any future residue more promptly, it will be a fast fix - and use much less of the cleaning compound.

Hip Hip Horray for the Rowenta Soleplate Cleaning Kit!  

Sunday, January 27, 2013

this weekend

Buoyed by my recent trip, I've been hibernating at home this weekend and treating myself to a reprieve from all of the things I should be doing (going to the gym, visiting AJ, groceries, laundry, etc.) and just playing instead.

First up was finishing off the hooking of my newest purse.  Needing a project for Georgia, wanting a bigger purse, and discovering one of the handles had detached from the purse I've been using, all conspired together to encourage me to design a new bag.  For the longest time, I didn't think that I would ever hook another purse.....but you know what they say about never.....LOL!

Anyway, I got a new design put together for my trip, and hooked all of the pocket side and almost 2/3 of the solid side while I was away.  Riding the momentum, the rest seemed to go quite quickly on Friday night and Saturday morning, such that I was able to finish all of the hooking within a week.

Yesterday afternoon, I pressed the hooking with my amazing steam iron, the Rowenta DG5030 Pressure Iron & Steamer (now there is a purchase without an ounce regret!) and while it was out and ready, I also dug out a cardigan I finished ages ago and blocked it (pictures forthcoming).  I don't know why I procrastinated getting out the steamer 'just to block the sweater', but in hindsight it was just laziness meets thinking it was more of a hassle than it really is.  It is not a big deal, nor does it take very much time.

While both lay to dry, I hauled out the felted mittens I stared in Georgia.  Started sewing them together....and then steamed the outsides after turning the right sides out.  Lay them to dry.

With all of my various project pieces needing to dry before I could proceed, I was forced to wait a spell.  So I decided to play with some of my batik strips.  I've been crushing on the scrappy around the world quilts that are popping up everywhere these days (simple tutorial here).....and remembered that I had cut all of those 2" strips for binding my ewe-fuse projects.  But what to make?  I settled on making some shams for my euro pillows, quickly calculated how many squares I would need for my dimensions....and started picking and choosing.  Before long, my idea had morphed into just an 'around the world' and I was stitching up a storm.   I finished up my first complete top this morning, but when I put it on my bed, I realized that the colours are too similar (blendy) with my quilt.  A far better choice would be to concentrate on a colour or make more of a value statement (darker?) that would provide a better contrast.  Waaah!  I will have to begin again for the shams....but in the meantime, I think I might adopt the quilted piece to use in sewing my purse lining.

I'm off to go and start stitching the purse together....and finish off the mittens....and try to figure out a plan for the lining.  Everything is dry now, so it's time to buckle down....and stop procrastinating!  ;-)

Georgia on my mind....

My trip last week was incredible.  After what seems like months of doing not really much creatively, I returned home feeling invigorated, excited, and very ready to just make, create, and play.   If only I could bottle the feeling, so that I could just pop a pill anytime I needed one....

While the weather wasn't quite as spectacular as I was hoping for, it was sunny every day and I didn't see or feel a drop of rain.  A pleasant change from the -26ºC the day before I left – and the -30 to -40ºC weather my family experienced while I was away.

Although much of my time was spent sitting hooking, dyeing, stitching, making paper beads (so. much. fun.), sharing ideas, making new friends and revisiting old ones, and generally just playing, I did get out for a walk to the beach one afternoon, and took a nice walk about the retreat property on another.  Here are a few snaps...

I am so thrilled to have been invited to join this group of fellow fibre addicts for their annual SSI retreat.  I can't wait for next January to hurry up and get here.... ;-)

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

What I made yesterday....paper beads

Having a blast. Don't want to go home. Please let Thursday come slowly. Very slowly.

Saturday, January 19, 2013

At the airport

3:20am comes very early when you go to bed at midnight, don't cha know....

The crazy early start is totally worth it, though. I'm about to embark on an adventure, of the fibre variety. A group of fellow rug hooking enthusiasts are gathering together in Georgia for 5 days of play. I can't wait to get there!

I've designed a new purse, and have been busy in the evenings this week doing all of the necessary prep work, so that I am ready to start hooking right away. Ever the optimist, I even assembled the gusset, just in case I get it all hooked and have time to spare so that I can start sewing it together.

Truth be told, this will be the first serious rug hooking I've done in ages. In hind sight, I think I was a little burnt out once I finished working on Jumbo....but I am feeling very ready to get back to it and bring some structure back to my evenings. I won't promise to blog from the land of peaches, but I will if I can. Have a great weekend!

Monday, January 07, 2013

MP by OP • Connie's Simple Geometric

A partial explanation for the quiet around here last Fall is that I taught something like 8 two-day classes,  performed 2 speaking engagements, went on 2 week-long road trips, and also sat as a student in a 3-day class.  Oh, and did I mention, this all took place within two months?? 

Despite the crazy schedule, the teaching was very fun.  It's always so nice to receive follow-up pictures from students - especially when they finish their projects!  ;-)

This picture arrived from London (ON) on the weekend.  I think that Connie did a great job of picking a good variety of amicable colours and working them in and around the simple shapes she drew on her backing.  With an easy framework, it's all about playing with the colours....and with a few simple tips, the balance just seems to appear by magic.  Connie wrote: "I absolutely loved doing this rug.  It seems to work up fairly fast.  Everyone loves my colours...."  And it's easy to see why – great job Connie! 

Friday, January 04, 2013

happy new year!

In my attempt to start off the New Year on the right track, I went for a nice, long walk outside on New Years Day.  Despite the nippy temperature, it was gorgeous out with lovely clear blue sky.

Reflecting on some of the (many) things lingering on my to do list, I happened upon this sign.  If you've ever been to visit, you know that I live just beyond a light-less railway crossing (and I am always paranoid that someone is going to get smacked on their way to my place - so please be sure you always stop and look both ways....). Now I see this sign every time I head into town...but that day, it just seemed so apropos to my reflections on my lengthy and unplanned blog absence that I took a quick snap....

Despite good intentions, I really had quite a long "stop before crossing" into the new year, didn't I?  And apart from a few little twinges of guilt along the way, the rest and break was really quite lovely.  You see, this year I will be having a 'big' birthday - four oh! - and although I wasn't too concerned about it for most of last year (following my 39th birthday in March), I'm beginning to wonder if all of the rest, relaxation and reflection of late of it isn't starting to tell a different story....?  Perhaps it's a good thing I still have a little bit more 'coming to terms' time ahead of me.

Last year I started off the year with several goals in mind.  Happily I can share that I did achieve several of them (reading more, shrinking more, and perhaps hooking more?)....but there is still room for improvement in some of the other areas (mainly blogging more and creating more).  I'm not really a big fan of resolutions that are too exclusive, finite or restrictive (e.g. quitting smoking, exercising every day, never eating chocolate again....etc.) – I know that just knowing I cannot do something makes me want to do it!  LOL!  So I find it works a little better if I'm a little more general in my goals.

For this upcoming year, I have a few areas where I want to focus my attention and energy.  I definitely want to continue to shrink, but with more of a focus on fitness and health vs. just looking better.  I also want to read more non-fiction and less junky, tranquilizing fiction.  I have a big pile of books (on art, creativity, craft, hooking, etc.) that has been steadily growing while I look at the pictures and then set them aside before I read much of the text.  I want that to change, so I am going to try and tackle at least one of those books each month and share my findings here.  Speaking of here, I am beginning to think that my lax attention here (80% of my posts last year were written in the first half of the year) is an indication that I need to change things up a bit on the blog.  I'm not sure right now quite what that is going to mean specifically, but I'm sure there will be some transitions with the blog this year.  Lastly, I would really like to explore my sewing and quilting more.  That bag full of Liberty Tana Lawn is starting to make me itchy to piece a quilt top....and I still want to start making some clothes. 

One thing is for sure - 2013 is starting off to be a busy year.  I am taking a camera class tomorrow down in the city (yes, I splurged on Sony Nex - and have much to learn)....and I have two exciting hooking trips in the first two months of the year - even before the big b-day!  

I just hope that 13 is only the next number after 12....but given that I got some pretty ugly blisters during my first big walk, I'm trying really hard not to believe in the superstition.... ;-)