Easter With Banjo

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This weekend we welcomed Banjo into our family.  Banjo was a present for Scarlett’s first birthday from her auntie and uncle.   Banjo was created with love by banjo puppets. My clever sister-in-law saw him at the One of a Kind Show here in Toronto and knew instantly he’d fit right into our family.  (I guess that tells you a bit about our family….).  I’d love to think I’m creative enough to imagine such a spectacular creature but I’d fall far short.  How dose one come up with this exactly?

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Needless to say, Scarlett went bananas for him.  In two short days, they have become fast friends.  Thank you auntie Brenda for hours of inspiration and total silliness.

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The Lucy Tunic

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Add me to the growing list of people who have made this amazing little shirt created by Shwin and Shwin and want to expand it to adult size.  I trialed it with fabric from an old pillow case and it was so simple, yet so adorable I had to make it again. And again.  No doubt I’ll be gifting a few of these to friend’s kids and my own daughter is likely to look back on pictures from her childhood and say: ” and here’s ANOTHER picture of me wearing the Lucy Tunic”.

Here they are:

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So easy. So pretty.  The perfect project to play with fun fabrics and one of a kind buttons.

New Beginnings

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Every year I forget the first day of spring feels just like another day of winter. I think it’s worse this year because I”m on mat leave so I am out experiencing the winter day after day with the baby so that i don’t go nuts in my house.  Dressing and undressing, stuffing the baby into layer after layer.  Salt in the dog’s paws.  Mittens, boots and hats.  I’m done.

In the absence of a Robin, I’ll take the sure melting of snow as a sign that if i’m patient, the warmer weather of spring will arrive.  It’s all got me thinking about new beginnings and all the babies of friends and family who are due this spring.

I’ve just finished crib-sized quilt for a baby boy who will be arriving in June.  After greedily making item after item in girlie prints, I have to say I was super excited about doing a project for a little boy.  I love these prints from Birch Fabrics and couldn’t wait for an excuse to buy them.

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This ended up being a super fast project and i’m pretty happy with how it turned out.  I am still struggling with my backing shifting during quilting despite pinning the damn thing up like armor.  I think it’s time to try that spray baste stuff that I thought was only for serious quilters.  Turns out it might just be for people who don’t want to swear at their work with every pass down the fabric.

Here’s how it turned out:

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The Long Run

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Running long.  Might not be logical to anyone else, but to me, the reason I find bliss in the grueling Long Run is obvious :  during the run at the exact moment I think I can’t do it- that I can’t possibly take another step- I do.  It’s this bold and relentless internal competitor living inside me that propels me forward.  It’s just me out there against myself, pushing harder than the last time.  You see, the mid-week runs are tricky- the week is busy, there’s a million other things you’d like to get done, they feel like a nuisance. But the Long Run is revered.  You think about it all week long.  Strategize.  Psych yourself up.  Set goals : just get ‘er done, run till you puke, stick your race pace, slow and steady- whatever the week dictates. You need to plan just right- consume enough water and calories, get enough sleep, take in a good meal and some, but not too much wine/beer to relax night before,  and of course, enough coffee to turbo boost yourself out of bed at 0600 when the rest of the street is still enjoying their weekend slumber (especially if you got a little too relaxed!).

When you are dressed up in an unspeakable amount of synthetic fibers, your shoes are laced, and your playlist all primed it’s time to take that first step. Often my legs are tight, my shoulders too high and my stride too short – but then i find my pace.  It’s quiet.  It’s peaceful and solitary.  I live in Canada so often it’s colder than hell and then it gets colder. And then it starts to snow.  But then i look down at my watch and I’m 7 or 8 kilometers down and I didn’t even notice.  Lately i’ve been running along our lakeshore and doing this nice out and back course.  The kilometers tick by and i start to drag at the usual spot: between 22 and 24 km.  This is where I start to question why I am even running and the logic behind it all.  I start to feel doubt creeping into my head and my legs feel like my shoes surely must be filled with concrete.

I can never tell when it will happen but always the realization comes that every step i take from then on is one step closer to  my baby girl who waits for me, my husband, my over the top excited Brittany spaniel,

My favorite running partner

My favorite running partner

my fat cat- my home.  I pick up my pace- just by a few seconds each kilometer. I find another gear even if it’s often ugly.  I remember the reason I am running is first and foremost because I can. I’m healthy and running faster after the birth of my daughter than I ever did before she was born.  I’m fortunate to have a body that does what I ask of it most of the time. Beyond that, I go long so that I can get to the finish line at my goal race (this year it’s the Mississauga Marathon).  And if you’ve run a race, particularly a marathon, you will know that it isn’t the race itself where the real work is done- it’s every Saturday or Sunday during your Long Run.

Remind you of anything?  Every cut, seam and stitch creates this amazing result that even though you made it, takes you by surprise when you complete it. It’s beautiful, and it’s yours.  You created it. We all do a Long Run.

Gutting a Fish

One of the projects I have on the go presently is a twin-sized quilt for my baby girl’s room.  It’s nice to make things for other people but making something to bundle your own baby with is something else entirely.  I took the opportunity to buy some fabric that i really loved ( from Alexander Henry’s Once Upon a Time collection ) and landed on another Plus Quilt design.  This is the second Plus Quilt I’ve done and am looking forward to the  simplicity of the fast paced quilting after my last quilt which for some reason,I decided to quilt with about a million closely spaced horizontal lines.  Here is how it looks so far.  I’m not sure about the few squares I chose to do in red- might be too punchy but it’s too late now.

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Like usual, I underestimated the amount of fabric I needed and didn’t have enough to do the binding, leaving me to turn to my dwindling stash of second rate left-overs.  Nothing good enough for Scarlett.  Then it occurred to me: it’s time to gut the fish.

(Back story: I was on bed-rest for the last two months of my pregnancy and spent most of my time sewing up this fabulous bedding/curtains/crib set.  Everything turned out great, especially the lux bumper pads I made out of a pretty print from Amy Butler’s Soul Blossoms. )

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Then my vision of this glorious crib set was wrecked when I read that bumper pads are now apparently as dangerous as giving your child a plastic bag to play with.  So in her closet they have sat since March 2012 until this morning.  The backing fabric is a perfect match for the new quilt so I took the scissors to them and gutted all my hard work.

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Playing the unfortunately vs. fortunately game, it sucked hard to rip them up, but I know that the sentiment is still attached to the fabric and it will look awesome as a binding for the new quilt.

Getting Started

I like things simple and beautiful.  I love colour and texture.  I love the feel of washed and dried cotton that has shrunk just a little bit, making quilts feel wonderful.  I admire the powerful motor of my little sewing machine.  I’m not afraid to take on a big project (or 3 ) while sitting in front of it.  I know when I’ve produced a finished product I should be proud of.  And I definitely find it difficult to accept a compliment.

It is perhaps this last point that has led me to start this blog.   I needed a place to showcase all of the work that I’ve done- the good, the bad, and the “wow-that-is-never-going-to-fit” work.   I need this space not for other people ( although I welcome feedback and comments of course!) but for myself.  I’ve always been an over-achiever and rarely take time to reflect back on all that I accomplish-and when I do, I usually find myself down-playing its significance.

Using this blog, I will document the work I do ( primarily for my little shop named Fawn and Joey), and try to celebrate all the richness these finished products bring to my life.