Archive for December, 2010

Looking back, Looking ahead

Sew, Mama, Sew is encouraging people to reflect on this past sewing year and to make some predictions for 2011.  I thought it would be fun to participate, and who knows, maybe a few of my predictions will prove to be true!

The Year in Sewing

Looking back on the sewing scene of 2010, what trends stand out in your mind?   Bags, and lots of them!  We also saw designers experimenting with different fabric types (voile, lawn, velveteen) and an increase in the availability of organic cottons. 

What were some of your favorite things?   The availability of the PDF pattern!  I love the convenience of being able to download a pattern right away and also enjoy supporting independent sewers and pattern designers. 

What was your very favorite fabric collection or print?   All of Anna Maria Horner’s “Innocent Crush” line, and also “Honey Bush Blue” which is part of the Tea Garden line by Dena Fishbein for Free Spirit. 

What was the best thing you made in 2010? Hard choice, but I think it was my Ruby Lou Doll.  She is the first doll I have ever made and I hope to make more!

What is one of the best things you saw that was made by someone else?  All of Elizabeth Harman’s quilts, she amazes me! 

What do you think 2011 has in store?  I think the PDF pattern industry will continue to grow and we will also see more designers printing on a wider range of fabric types.  I also think more and more people will take up sewing –  I have had 3 of my friends express an interest in learning to sew in the last two weeks!

What’s on your sewing agenda for 2011? What are you excited about? What would you like to learn more about?  I really want to learn more about clothing construction and pattern design and make more of my own clothes.  I am also excited about more and more people becoming interested in recycling and upcycling textiles and hope that this continues to grow.  I also want to expand my quilting skills and grow a sewing-based business.  It’s going to be a busy year! 

What about you, my readers?  What are your plans and goals for 2011?

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I hope you have all had a wonderful Christmas holiday!  Hubby and I packed up the car on Christmas Eve (and boy was it packed!) and headed over the river and through the woods (literally) to his parent’s house where we spent the holidays with all of his family.  It was a wonderful Christmas full of love, laughter and lots of good food, we certainly could not have asked for anything better.

One of my favourite parts of the week-end was finally being able to watch everyone open their hand-made gifts, and now that they have all been received by their recipients I am equally as excited to share all of my “secret sewing” with you! 

For Hubby I made him a lunch bag using this tutorial.  I toyed with the idea of making a number of more complicated insulated bags, but none of them seemed big enough for the containers we often use for lunches, and because he stores his lunch in the fridge the insulation seemed unnecessary.  Plain and simple won the day!

It’s lined with NASCAR fabric to jazz it up a little. 

For my sister-in-law I made a sewing set. 

The big piece of fabric is a sewing machine cover based on this tutorial.  I had lots of fabric left over so decided to sew up a few accessories. 

A little pin cushion

A needle book.  I have seen several of these on blogs over the years but couldn’t find a tutorial to make one so just made it up!   I’m really happy with the way it turned out.

And finally I made a gathered clutch to hold it all.   This tutorial was a lot of fun, I now understand why everyone seems to be making them.   This was my first zippered bag and I have to say I am no longer afraid of zipper installation. Yay! 

My sister-in-law had also asked for some produce bags (I use them in my fridge instead of plastic) so I made a set of those, too.

For my mother-in-law I rediscovered the joy of paper piecing.  I had forgotten how much fun it is (and also how time-consuming – I was still sewing on the evening of the 23rd – yikes!)  This is my first paper-pieced quilt with such tiny pieces and I am really happy with the way it turned out – and I think my mother-in-law liked it too!

For Hubby and my father-in-law I made personalized mouse pads.  The pads were bought blank and then I used an iron-on-transfer to decorate them with a photo that reflects their interests.   (The canoe is for Hubby)

And finally, I made some handmade ornaments for a good friend of mine.  She has a nativity-themed Christmas tree but happened to mention that she didn’t have any shepherd ornaments.  I can understand why when I tried to find some and come up empty-handed!  Not finding any tutorials on how to make your own shepherd (!) I had to improvise.  Based loosely on penny rugs I rediscovered hand-stiitching and made a felt shepherd and sheep. 

It was a busy week before Christmas (I know, I know, every year I say I am going to start earlier but there I was on December 20th just getting started!), but definitely worth it! 

Did you make or receive any handmade gifts this year?

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‘Twas Four Days until Christmas

‘Twas four days until Christmas and it was pelting with rain,

The grass was brown, the trees were bare, it was looking rather plain,

But inside something festive had started, something that would not be stopped,

The smells of molasses and ginger and spice, the fresh pine of a tree that had been chopped.

Oh only a few days ago things inside were looking rather grim,

Saws had been whirring, plumbers should have been stirring, and no one had painted the trim,

“Perhaps we won’t decorate for Christmas this year, with concrete dust looking like snow,”

“Perhaps we will just enjoy the festivities, when off to your mother’s we go.”

But oh, who can resist the joys of Christmas, with the house all merry and bright,

And so out came the boxes of tinsel and trim, of ornaments and lights.

It wasn’t long before this half-built house started to sing out with glee,

I am decorated for Christmas, oh come in and look at me!

Although far from Martha Stewart’s nod, we have done what we are able,

We look past unfinished rooms and dust, remembering that the first Christmas was in a stable. 

And this will be a sign unto you: you will find a Baby wrapped in cloths lying in a manger.  And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God, and saying, Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men.” (Luke 2:12- 14)

Merry Christmas from our house to yours!

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I am a little sad that the giveaway is over.  I have so enjoyed reading all of your comments and can’t wait to dive into some new books!  Thanks for all of the great recommendations.  If I had all the time in the world I would love to email each and every one of you just to talk about books!   If any of you are looking for some new reading material for you or your kids, I encourage you to take a look through the comments.  At some point I may make a comprehensive list of the most-recommended books for anyone who might be interested, but for now, I’ll just mention a few that stand out:

Harry Potter – I love them too!  I am currently reading the first in the series out loud to my students and they are loving it!  

Material Obsession came up again and again as a favourite sewing book.  I have yet to read this one but it sounds like I need to add it to the list!

 Karen Kingsbury was mentioned several times.  I have not read any of her books but know many who do. 

The Red Tent is a book I would also recommend to others. 

Like Water for Elephants, Book of Negroes, and the Time Traveller’s Wife are all books that have been recommended to me before and your thoughts echoed what I had already heard. 

 You can’t go wrong with the classics – Lord of the Rings, Little House on the Prairie, the Narnia Series, and Anne of Green Gables are all books I have enjoyed both in childhood and adulthood and they came up over and over again in your recommendations.  For adult reading Pride and Prejudice and To Kill a Mockingbird were mentioned often. 

There are many, many, more but I know what you are really waiting for is to find out who the winner is, so without further ado…..

The winner is Janet!  She wrote: My favourite book of all is called Oh Rugged Land of Gold. It is the tale of a woman’s survival in the Alaskan wilderness and is very inspirational for any woman. Thanks for a chance at your giveaway.

Congratulations Janet, and thanks to all of you for stopping by!

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It’s Giveaway Day!

Happy Giveaway Day!  Welcome all visitors to my little corner of the blogging world. 

I know you have lots of places to visit today so I am going to keep this simple. 

Today I am giving away…

Drum roll please…

a $10 gift certificate for Sew, Mama, Sew!   

(Insert cheering and wild applause.)

I wanted to give away something that I would be excited to receive, and open it up internationally, and this seemed like the best way.  The lucky winner will be emailed the certificate and then can have the fun of picking out a beautiful fabric (or amazing pattern) of their choice! 

To enter, leave a comment telling me about one of your favourite books.  It could be a sewing or quilting book you love, your favourite cookbook, your child’s favourite bedtime story (as a teacher I’m always looking for great titles) or that novel you just couldn’t put down.

That’s it!  The giveaway will be open until Friday, December 17 and the winner will be chosen randomly from the comments. 

Thanks for stopping by!

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Season of Secrets

This is the season of secrets.  A season when I am involved in more creative projects at one time than almost any other time of the year – and I can’t talk about them!  (Well, at least not yet.)

Even cooking is taking a back seat these days as I rely on easy family favourites.

This is the season of tiptoeing around and humming, of closed doors and secret wrapping, of boxes and goodies hidden away in unused corners of the house.

And so things are a little quiet around Laundry on the Line too. 

But they won’t be for too much longer.

On Monday I will be participating in Sew, Mama, Sew’s Giveaway day!  If you love to sew, or you love handmade things, you’ll definitely want to check out some of the many, many, many creative blogs that will be hosting giveaways on Monday (and throughout the week, which is a good thing since it can take all week to visit them all!)

Friday will be the last day of school and so I will be spending some of this week making gifts for my students.  Nothing as elaborate as last year, but I hope to make something they will enjoy!  (Who knew I would be teaching the same class for the third year in a row?) 

And after that getting ready for Christmas will begin in earnest.  I can’t wait to pull out the Christmas decorations and make the house look festive, and to have time to putter around in the kitchen, making delicious holiday meals.

But for now it is back to secretive sewing and crafting.  Shhh……. 

See you on Monday!

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Pajama Time!

It has become a tradition that every year I make my nephews flannel pajamas for Christmas.  I think I started when my oldest nephew was just a toddler, (and I was just learning how to sew) so this marks my fifth year of PJ making. 

I always try to pick out a fun fabric, one that represents something the boys enjoy, (like race cars or fire trucks) and sometimes I choose something just because it is so darn cute (my youngest nephew had the cutest bugs on his pjs last year.)

I had trouble finding fabric I liked this year until  I was at a fabric store with my sister-in-law looking for fabric for her kitchen and I happened to see some black flannel with turtles on it.  Now, I wouldn’t normally pick black for PJs, but these weren’t just any turtles, they were Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles!  (and my nephews LOVE the Ninja Turtles.)

So, for the first year ever, my nephews will get matching PJs for Christmas. 

Check out those turtles!

I wish I could be there when they open them up.  Turtle power!

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A Swing and a Miss

Ever have one of those recipes that you just can’t wait to try?  In fact, after hearing just the title, you can almost taste it, and it is good!  In your imagination you savour every last bite.  And then you get all of your ingredients together and the excitement builds.  It looks beautiful going into the oven, smells heavenly while cooking, and looks perfect when it comes out of the pan. 

And then you taste it.

And it doesn’t live up to its expectations.

And your husband doesn’t want to eat anymore (and he loves dessert.)

And the perfect dish now sits in your fridge sad and unappreciated. 

Has this happened to you?

This weekend I was flipping through old magazines and found a recipe for Upside Down Pear Gingerbread Cake.  I LOVE gingerbread and thought the pear part sounded delicious.  And it certainly looks good, doesn’t it?

It will get eaten (because I hate wasting food) and then I will move on to another intriguing recipe and hope that the results are better. 

(And perhaps I can apply what I learned from Pete the Cat: Did Andi Cry?  Goodness no!  She kept on going and singing her song….knowing that there is another, better,  gingerbread recipe out there just waiting to be found!)

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