Sunday, October 31, 2010

It's beginning to look a lot like....Halloween?!?

True story. Woke up to this on Saturday:
Yikes. Though, the kids were excited as can be....
Had a quick snowball fight and some hot chocolate, and it was melted by afternoon. But our breath makes tiny ghosts in the air.....winter is coming.

Halloween falling on a weekend means 3 full days of fun! Class parties and parades, costumes worn to piano and dance classes, trick or is good!

Last But Not Least has been talking about being Princess Belle for-EV-er! Then, Friday morning for her preschool party, she announced, "Actually, Mom, I think I will be a bumble bee." So, out came the bee costume from the dress up box. As we were loading into the van for school, she says, "I have changed my mind again, I want to be Belle." Was not too happy when I said N-O to that....but, judging by the big smile and chocolate all over her face when I picked her up, she got over it! The Middle Child was similarly fickle. Her costume of choice was "fairy princess," and she insisted I do her hair and makeup, which took a good half hour (precious time on a school morning with 3 kids!). Then, 5 minutes later...she pulled it all out. At least I got this picture first!
Speaking of fairies, the Tooth Fairy made a visit to our house this weekend. The Middle Child actually lost her second tooth eating candy. "Mom, it MAY have a bit of orange chips on you think the Tooth Fairy will mind?" Check out the orange little fingers in this photo!
Also a picture with her pink sparkly spider- isn't it fun ?
Big G is into Star Wars at the moment (though he has never actually seen the movies), so he went as Darth Vader. No Light Saber, as I am wise to the fact that he would only use it to pummel his sisters...

We had fun doing the typical things like decorating the house, picking pumpkins to carve, and roasting pumpkin seeds. Halloween night was cool and clear. You can see how us Canadian Moms have to ensure we can fit a full snowsuit under our kids' costumes! Don't worry, they are hearty, and will be out for hours until those bags are full to the brim!
Hope you all had a Happy Halloween!

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Blogger's Quilt Festival

Amy's Creative Side - Blogger's Quilt Festival
Hello, Festival Goers! Thanks for stopping by! This is my second time around participating in Amy's Blogger's Quilting Festival. My first entry was this spring, with my very first quilt, and the festival is what prompted me to start this blog. I have learned so much since then, and am excited that it is Festival time again, and have been working hard to finish my latest project.

Well, the best laid plans.....

Regular readers will know that I had 2 sets of good friends each have twin boys in September, a week apart. I had such fun making twin quilts using Riley Blake Wheels for the first set, blogged here.
I have been working away on the second set, which I intended to show for the Festival. BUT, due to an unscheduled date with my seam ripper, "Twin Quilts Take 2" and I are not on speaking terms at the moment. Don't worry, we'll make up in a day or two and I will likely be showing them to you in the next week or so, but for now, I have stuffed them in the closet and we are "on a break." But I WILL give you a sneak peek :-)
So, for the festival, I decided to revive and oldie but goodie. By "oldie", I mean from June....I am still new at this! But this quilt is special to me as it is THE ONE where I truly fell in love with quilting. It is simple, but sometimes simplicity can be striking.
I named this quilt the Mckinley quilt after its recipient, a sweet little girl adopted by friends following a long struggle with infertility. I wanted to give them something to mark and celebrate the creation of their new family.
I used a Hunky Dory charm pack, some white solid for sashing, and accented the quilt with hand embroidery and some shabby chic flowers. To learn more details about its construction, you can read the original post, here.
I had such a great response to this quilt, that I later posted the free pattern, here. I have had a few readers send me photos of their finished Mckinley quilts, and it makes me so proud that my simple design has inspired some other new quilters!

Speaking of inspiration, don't forget to go and check out the other amazing entries in the Quilt Festival...prepare to be awestruck!

Friday, October 29, 2010

Plugging away...

It's time for the Blogger's Quilt Festival over at Amy's Creative Side! I love this festival, it is the reason I started this blog, back in the spring. I entered my very first quilt! Now, just 5 months later, I am working on quilts 11 and 12....see, it really is OCD!! These next 2 quilts are the "Twin Quilts Take 2" that I promised. I will be plugging away on these over the next few days and hopefully will finish them up in time to join in on the festival fun! Be sure to go and check out all the amazing entries!

Back to work!

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Somebody stop me

My appetite for fabric has not lessened. Fabric diet remains broken, binge still on.....burp!

I can't stop buying fabric. I am going to need a 12 step program soon. I wish I could say I regret it, but I don't. It is so so awesome. It is like Christmas in my mailbox! Except for the whole bill part.

Lookie what I got:

Katie Jump Rope. This line was before my time, but I managed to get some fat quarters, sticking to the more masculine prints to build my "boy stash." Love it.

Some sweet Japanese prints:

Pretty solids, odds and ends:

I may have gone a little Crazy Crazy with the Munki Munki. Yes, I broke down and bought it. A LOT of it. Must say...I was not as impressed with it in person.... but still super cute and will definitely be put to good use! I've always coveted those darn goldfish! Also picked up some of these while I was at it....see what comes of it!
Some Amy Butler, Lotus spots and Love spots, too. And some Micheal Miller Ta Dots. Can never have too many dots! And let's not forget the Riley Blake Rainy Days and Mondays (and other) from my Calgary/Banff trip: Also just ordered some awesome organic Monaluna fabric by Jennifer Moore with adorable scooters all over it. Inspired by Italy! Maybe something for my hubby for the holidays?

And I just bit the bullet and ordered a big batch of Bliss.....I hve been eyeing it forever, so why hold back now? So now I just have to find time to sew!

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Getting organized with Amy Butler

Warning: This post contains graphic scenes of extreme clutter and
embarrassing levels of messiness!

Just getting home from our trip, it seems like all of life is in an uproar. Saturday morning, I took a look around my kitchen and saw this:
I decided it was time to declare a State of Residential Emergency. Time to get organized- NOW!
I had the supplies to make the Noodlehead Mail Organizer for some time....just a matter of getting to it. Now was the time! So I dug into my fabric stash, pulled out some more of my Amy Butler Lotus (paired with some stripes from Barbara Jone's Quiltsoup), and got busy. Without further ado, the finished product:

Well, still planning to put a wall vinyl or something above the cork/magnetic board, but mostly get the idea. I also added the black box on the side, which contains hanging files, for the million school notices, permission slips, take out menus, etc that end up on my counter. Now, every kid has a file, and everything has a place. There is hope for me after all!!

Any wagers as for how long this level of cleanliness is going to last??

I am sharing my new-found organization over at Quilt Story and A Crafty Soiree...go check out the other inspiration!

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Italian Memories Finale: Genova and back home

Our final stop in Italy was an overnight in Genova. Not a city commonly visited by most, but it was our point of arrival/departure, so we thought we would give it a look. We had a lovely walking tour of the old town by a very knowledgeable local guide, which made all the difference! We learned some interesting facts. Christopher Columbus was born in is a reproduction of his house: Also, the city was once walled, and still has many of these medieval walls fact, the amount remaining is second only to the Great Wall of China! Also saw many gorgeous examples of Medieval, Renaissance and Baroque architecture:

And I tried to convince the hubby that we need a scooter....don't they look fun?After our tour, we decided one last 4 course dinner was in order. We went to this very Old World restaurant recommended by our hotel....we were unsure at first, but ended up being the best yet! The executive chef came out to serve our dinner, and again to shake our hand as we left. Apparently, he has made pesto for both Popes Jean Paul and Benedicto (and has photo albums to prove it!), so I am assuming my pasta was Blessed!
Our wonderful holiday was slightly extended, thanks to the Air France we got an extra-long visit to the Genova airport, as well as an in-depth view of the Charles de Gaulle in Paris. But otherwise, could not have been more perfecto!

Now, back to reality.....

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Italian Memories Part 2: Portofino and Porsches!

Once leaving Cinque Terre, we headed slightly north along the Liguarian Sea to the yachting town of Portofino. While geographically it was not too far, or different in appearance, it was like entering another world...Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous!

We are neither of those, but part of the anniversary surprise was a tour, put on by Porsche, where basically you drive all around the beautiful Italian countryside- mountains, sea, wineries- and break regularly to eat 4 course gourmet meals. I am talking dessert with breakfast. This was serious spoilage! I was glad that they only weighed my luggage at the airport on return...imagine if they made the passengers do a before and after weigh-in on a holiday??

Anyways, all I can say is- DECADENT. We stayed at a place called the Hotel Splendido, which was so gorgeous, and we had our own private courtyard with a view like this: The cars of course were the highlight for my you think he looks happy??Did I drive? Why yes, I did...about 5 minutes into "my turn", I was nearly run off the edge of one of the skinny mountain roads by a tour bus, causing lots of drama and a big old traffic jam. Learned some fun Italian hand gestures! Luckily, no damage done (you-break-it-you-buy-it becomes expensive in regards to a sports car), a very handsome Italian taxi driver helped rescue me and the car off the hill, and all is well that ends well, right? Sorry, no photo ops of that adventure!The great thing about the driving tour is that we got to see so many country landscapes not visible by train, like these:

And did I mention...4 course meals? Three times a day? And some of those courses had 2 plates each? How will I ever readjust to simple toast and tea for breakfast again???

Thanks so much to our tour guide, Sabine, and to the great people that we met on this tour! It was amazing!

Friday, October 22, 2010

Home again- Italian Memories Part 1: Cinque Terre


I can't put into words what an amazing trip we had! I feel like such a lucky girl! I am sure many of you can relate- I juggle working part-time, 3 young kids in a zillion activities, and a husband who also has a busy career. Not a ton of time for myself....most of which I spend sewing!....and life is wonderful, but certainly not glamorous. But for ONE WEEK, it was all about me and my husband, living what the Italians call "la dolce vita"- THE GOOD LIFE!!

I am going to break this into a few posts to savour it :-)

The grandparents graciously offered to take care of our kids as I planned this adventure, which was a surprise for my hubby to celebrate our recent 10 year anniversary. We had always enjoyed travelling in the "BC era" (before children), so I thought this was a wonderful opportunity to do so again (though without backpacks and hostels this time!). We have never left the kids for more than a weekend, so we didn't want to be gone too long, and as such I thought it best to do one small area well, instead of trying to run all over the country to see it all, and instead spending most of our time on trains. I chose this area of Italy on the coast in the north west, as it had always appealed to me for its beauty.

Cinque Terre is a series of 5 small fishing villages, suspended between mountain and sea. Historically only accessible by foot or boat, there is now a train that connects them, and some have a small amount of road access, though no cars within the town. They have been declared a UNESCO world heritage site, and the buildings have not changed for over 300 years, and each town has a population of under 1000 people. Small, quaint- perfect.
We got a small room in Vernazza (ver-NAT-za) and enjoyed 3 days of hiking and exploring in the area. The hiking trails between the towns are incredible, going up and down the mountains, and offering magnificent views.

Don't worry, we balanced all this exercise with copious amounts of pasta (this area is where pesto was originated), fish, wine and pastries! Yum!

This is not a big shopping area, but what was there, was homemade. It was so nice to support the local artisans. I bought this knit hat from a lady, who was busy knitting another at the time- magic (note- you can also see my camera case in hand!).
One of the walking trails connecting two towns is referred to as Via Dell Amore, "lover's lane."
It has become a custom for lovers to place a lock along its path, to signify their bond. So, we bought a lock, and scratched our initials into it... ...attached it to a bench together....
....and my hubby threw away the key into the ocean.

I guess that means we are stuck with each other!