For the last couple of months, you could have found me in my basement, among piles of fabric, frantically sewing for 3 upcoming craft shows and an open house. This past weekend was the first craft show, I was ready (almost, still threading elastic through some sleeves the morning of the show), I had my inventory, my price lists, my receipts books etc… all I needed was people…hardly anyone came! Good job I brought my knitting.



Guy returned from theatre last night in tears; he didn’t get the part he auditioned for. He has been part of a local youth theatre group for 2 years now, and both times he has had a fairly substantial role. This time however he “only has 3 lines, no singing, and loads of dancing” I have every faith in the director’s choice, and know that dancing is the thing he needs to work on most, if he wants to be a “triple threat” (no, I’m not a pushy parent, he just loves theatre arts) but it is so hard to sit back and watch him deal with rejection at such an early age. And he has the perfect hair colour to play the part he auditioned for too!


I wanted to post some pictures today of all the dresses I have been working on for my 3 upcoming craft shows, but I like to take them (the dresses and the photos) outside for best light. I should have done this yesterday, when we had glorious weather all day, but I had errands to run and it slipped my mind. Now it has rained all day, and my house is dark and gloomy. So, I hope the sun comes out over the weekend so I can post some next week.
In the meantime, heres another cushion that I made almost immediately after the Cloud 9 one, but didn’t upload at the time.


Over at Sew Mama Sew they are running a scrapbuster competition. I will be writing my entry for it next week, it uses up the tiniest of scraps!

I have been following the blog of Michelle Engel Bencsko since about March of this year, when I discovered Cicada Studios and some of her amazing fabrics.  At that time she was blogging about her up and coming line of organic fabrics, called appropriately Cloud9, because that’s where you go when you see them, and I have been following her progress with this collection all through the summer.   Both the 100% cotton that she prints on, and the inks she uses are environmentally friendly (you can read more about that here). 


I am a little envious of  her, and other fabric designers like her, because 12 years ago when I started to study fabric design and printing at OCAD, I was bothered by the use of toxic inks in the printing process, but back then there really wasn’t much available in the way of environmentally friendly inks, and organic fabrics tended to resemble burlap, which didn’t make printing on them very easy!   Part of me is ready to set up my own screen printing studio in the basement and get on down to turning out yardage of my own, but it’s way easier  (and less messy) with 3 kids to just buy the fabric that others are printing. 

The fabric finally hit the stores last week, and my order arrived on Friday.  The fabric is even more beautiful in real life, and so very soft, it’s absolutely perfect for baby items.

I showed pictures of it to my friend, and she ordered a cushion to be made immediately.  Here it is, and there’s another one available in my etsy store. 


I hope it gets snapped up quickly, because I adore this fabric, and want to buy more!  Next project, a baby quilt using pieces of the entire collection.

Here are a few t-shirts which were birthday presents for friends’ children:


The number 4 was for a little boy who loves to camp.  I adore this Michael Miller fabric, called “Bot Camp”, and ordered some several months ago just because.  I had no idea what I would make with it, but it was the perfect choice for this little boy.


Now I’m thinking I would like to incorporate it into some toddler bedding for a little boy’s room, I wish mine were still young enough to want it for their rooms, but I don’t think my (nearly) 11 year-old would appreciate it, and it doesn’t really go with his black and white theme!

The stars and moons was for a big Harry Potter fan. Usually I stick to 100% cotton appliques, but with the iron-on  backing I think it will hold up.

Angela at Raggedy Owl spent a weekend sewing in Vermont with two fabulous fabric designers, Heather Ross and Denyse Schmidt. To celebrate she is giving away a Heather Ross autograph along with a thirty piece, 5-inch square charm pack from her own collection. Her collection includes all those Heather Ross fabrics that are so difficult to get hold of now because they are out of print/rare and highly priced so I’m hoping to score some. Head on over to see how you can win (or perhaps I should have kept this a secret!)

trueupheader-600Over at TrueUp you have a chance to win more divine fabric.  I am a huge fan of Michelle Bencsko’s designs and she has 2 collections just hitting the stores.  The colours and patterns of  Shade Garden are delightful, and My Happy Garden is the debut line for her new organic fabric manufacturing company, Cloud 9 Fabrics.  Back when I was at the OCAD, studying surface design, I loved fabric printing, but baulked at how toxic the printing inks were (and we just washed them down the drain!)  At that time there were no earth friendly alternatives, so I am so excited that Michelle and her partner have produced this beautiful collection.  I have plans to make baby quilts with it, as soon as I can get my hands on some.)  Good luck with your entries.

Reason 1.  The boys are off to school this morning, and were positively leaping out of bed to get ready.  This makes such a change from last year, when we endured several months of tears every morning from Boy, which was absolutely heartbreaking.  Thanks to 2 special teachers last year, who must have made him feel incredibly happy and safe at school.

Well, I only managed 2 of the things on our remaining list of things to do, but IronMan was sick this weekend.  While she was sleeping, and during the mountains of laundry I had to get done before today (so that Guy and Boy had their choice of natty outfits to wear to school), I managed to make these 3 stuffed pumpkins, and listed them in my store this morning .  That’s reason #2!



Ironman has requested a dress for the fall, and I have tons of the orange floral, so it’s off to the sewing room with me today.  (Reason #3).

Final reason (for today anyway), is that Guy is off to his 2nd year in the gifted class, and I want to celebrate how lucky we are in this part of Ontario, to have access to special education for gifted children.  This opportunity would not be so easily available if he went to school in the UK where I come from, and since joining this class last year he has experienced and learnt so much, that he was excited to be going to school again this morning.  Have a good day all of you whose children are off to school today, and enjoy those little ones who are still with you if you are at home with them.  Ironman starts nursery school on Friday, and I don’t know where the last 3 years have gone.  Treasure those moments with them, they go by in the blink of an eye.

I’m feeling torn between spending  time with my children, who start back at school in a week, and with getting going on a huge list of crafts that I want to start.  I haven’t touched my sewing machine for over 2 weeks and I really want to start something now, but I also want to relish this last week, and pack in some of the things we planned in June but haven’t got around to yet.  Here’s the list: 

milkshakes at Troy’s Diner  (did that this morning, I recommend the “Chunky Monkey”)


swim at Rotary Park
go to the zoo
craft day part 2
Ontario Place
Centre Island

Besides this, I’m experiencing that feeling I always get around this time of year, of wanting to get some order back into our lives and organize my house (and my head!)…..hmmm, I feel a trip to IKEA beckoning (perhaps I can add breakfast at IKEA to the list!)

I signed up for the Seasons Round Exchange, and besides 1 thing I made on a trip to St Marie Among the Hurons, I have still to assemble the rest of my items and mail them out (and my partner has already mailed her items to me, to add to the pressure!)   I have lots of ideas, but none have actually come to fruition yet, but here’s something I’m going to be using for one of them):


I decided last week that since our camping trip to Awenda, my children had been watching way too much tv, and playing on the computer too long, and it was time to do something crafty. Thanks to the wonders of the internet, and this site in particular, I was able to gather together enough ideas for 11 different crafts.
I love this site, Rachel scours the craft forums, sites and blogs to bring the best tutorials and DIY projects from across the internet. She then groups them according to category, so you can search for kids crafts, back to school, weddings, birthdays etc.

I chose the crafts for our day based on what supplies I had in the house at the time, so I didn’t have to drag 3 kids around a craft store (it was really hot, and I was trying to do this without spending any money!)
The first 2 crafts were easy, all they required were broken crayons, of which we have mountains, and lots of 2 dimensional items. The only other things we needed were a paper plate, aluminium foil, construction paper, cookie cutters, and sunshine.
I sent the kids off around the house to find these items, while I downed my first cup of coffee of the day.

Craft #1 was crayon melts.


While these were melting, we went onto craft #2, sun prints.


 This was a interesting lesson, trying to explain why really cool shaped rocks would not give great results, but other things like the miniature guns (can you tell I have 2 boys) turned out very well. I think this was my favourite craft in the end.


Now came some messy crafts. We made watermelon paintings, (I recommend a strong paper towel not an economy one.)


followed by painting with soap suds.   I ended up using more laundry detergent than recommended to get large bowls of “paint”, and it’s not a craft for the really messy, as I was a little concerned about the detergent getting into the kids eyes. I wouldn’t do this craft if your kids are prone to splashing paint around, but my kids enjoyed watching how the painting changed over time.
We then made marbelized paper, which I loved (that’s the printer in me ), and we discovered that once dried the colours are more vibrant on the side of the paper that was not actually printed on.

The great thing about the weather being so hot was that the children spent time in the paddling pool in between crafts, instead of badgering me about the next activity like they normally do. While I was clearing up one craft and assembling supplies for the other ones they were running about throwing water at each other. Also, we did most of the crafts outside, and they were nearly all made with soap it was an easy clean up!

After lunch we made our final craft, make your own personal monster. I got the idea here, but as guy and boy are not into dolls, I had to make the whole thing more appealing to them! We adapted the idea, but left out the catnip. They are still sewing them as this was their first lesson in sewing, and guy is now talking about making more, and selling them on my etsy store. Watch out for them, I may be taking orders soon!IMG_0352_6

We kept checking back on the crayons, and by dinner time they had still not melted completely. I recommend the author’s suggestion to make crayon shavings, rather than do what I did, which was put them into the top of the bbq for a few minutes (ha ha). Here is the resultant mess, but we still had a great day, and I have a list of crafts for some other time. I think I’ve earned a few hours of sewing time to myself now, once I’ve figured out how to remove melted wax from my deck.


I had an entire day to myself last Friday, so decided to take a class at the workroom.

I met the lovely Karyn, and her dog Maisy, and spent 3 hours immersed in learning a new technique; how to make a log cabin quilt block. Here’s the start of mine:


Besides spending my free time learning something new, I discovered how great it is to be with other sewers. I have sewn on and off for over 30 years, but a lot of that time is on my own. I glean bits of information from blogs, online tutorials, and books, but you can’t beat being having a teacher who can show you in 2 minutes the best way of using a rotary cutter. Especially if your teacher is also a lefty like me, thanks Johanna!

The class is the first in a series of “a la carte” classes, where you can pick and choose which quilt blocks you would like to learn how to make. You can see more images of the quilt blocks here.
In the future they have plans for a class which will teach you how to finish and bind your quilt, once you have completed all those blocks.

In addition to the classes, The Workroom has an amazing collection of fabrics, some of which I have seen on line and was excited to see in real life (I know, I should get out more!). In addition you can pay an hourly rate to use a sewing machine or serger there, and Karyn is always around to help.

If you get a chance, go sign up for a class there, who knows, we might bump into each other!