Sunday, October 26, 2008

the trim A-liner

I found this as a yard sale this summer for 25c . Might be just the pattern for an cozy autumn dress for V. Some other kids' patterns I bought had a particular note on the front that really irked me and must have driven moms crazy in the 60s: "Not suitable for chubby girls."



Imagine those poor 1965-era "chubby" girls who were perfectly healthy and happy, aving a nice day with their mothers, until they fell in love with a dress pattern, only to realize....HORROR...they are 'CHUBBY' and the swish new dress is 'UNSUITABLE'. Really. Ousted from the fashionable world by a stamp likely placed on the design by a nasty little man who eats lettuce for breakfast.

Well, my little V. is a skinny thing...but even if she weren't stick-like I'd make those "unsuitable" patterns work with some expansion techniques and love. And a piece of black tape covering the offending statement. So there.


hey there, dollface

There's something so satisfying about making a doll and doll clothes for my daughter. Even though V. strips the clothes off pretty much right away. (She's 3). My mother made tons of fashionable clothes for my Barbie childhood neighbour even crocheted her daughter's doll clothes. It was pretty crazy.

This new one I made for my girl is mostly based on the "inside a black apple" doll. (video tutorial and pattern is here!) I mixed up the head with another pattern, somehow! I didn't have felt for the hair so I tried stitching the outline. I gave it my daughter's colouring. And the dress was a quickie, using scraps. But I did zig zag the dress edges so it wouldn't fray TOO quickly.

My girl likes her.

Yay. It's hard to find lovely cuddly-soft dolls that are appealing after baby age, you know? They all have hard plastic faces. This one, a girl can roll over on in her sleep and not get poked in the cheek with prickly eyelashes...

Now, here's a real doll maker: I love Jodie's dolls here -- and she makes an entire wardrobe for each one. Spectacular.

We're stripping off and getting ready for a spa day, perhaps?

V. used to call everything "Anna" but now she's getting more creative. So far the poor dear is nameless. We'll see who she becomes. For now she's just "dolly".


Friday, October 24, 2008

..a few new sewn odds and bobs...

Hi! I've really got no time to write anything today! I'm working on a deadline at home and getting ready for a weekend away at relatives who live a couple hours away...So here are a few pics -- odds and ends I have had lots of fun making recently...

A wonky patchwork potholder for my gourmet chef-ish husband.

Turned out a bit's got an old towel as the liner. I read about that somewhere...

And a doll quilt for my daughter.

This was so fast to make, it was a very satisfying exercise.

Again, I used unusual "batting". It is babysoft polyester fleece I had lying around. Makes it quite soft and yummy, actually. I know cotton is better for you. But, you know, I had the stuff on hand...

These photos look okay when I adjust them in "iphoto" but then they look like crap when I post them. I should probably start using Photoshop or something.

Anyway, have a great autumn/spring weekend (depending on where you are). Take it easy, like bunny here.

His secret is that his bum has a burn mark from when I was a new mother, placed him on a lamp, for some odd reason. I must have been totally sleep-deprived. He is scarred but cheerful. Forgive and forget, is his motto.

x ella

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

hallowe'en costume request

Okay. So I made the collosal mistake of asking my five year old what he'd like to be for Hallowe'en. Here's what he drew.

"Witch on top with ghost film over face, pumpkin head, witch top, monster middle, red and black witch skirt, monster middle, chains on ghost legs. And monster feet."

Uh, huh.

So a few days later I asked him what he would like to be (hoping he'd forget his original answer and say "a ghost"), and he recited this all again verbatum!!!! So, no he wasn't trying to press my buttons with crazy improvised answer the first time.


Wish me luck on this one.

PS - I suggested specific things tothe three-year old, telling myself she would have her chance to be really crazy/creative when she's five, too. Right? I drew the pic for her and she approved. Whew.

So I made the skirt yesterday of cheap black stuff and she decided to do interpretive dancing in it. Sweet.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

finished rust log cabin pillow

Okay, quick post, to say hi. Here's the finished log cabin patchwork pillow I started a week or so ago. My first log cabin, done old-style with lights on one corner and darks on the other. I don't love love love it any more, but it's done. Funny how that works. I like it, though. Must have been that short-lived craving of fall colours. Fleeting.

I used autumn-coloured scraps -- linen, kona cotton, old 80's floral, lucien stuff...

...belgian gingham from a failed hat project, my husband's orange shirt...

I finally sewed up the sides and used a zip closure. I stuck an old pillow inside it, thus the stiff look. The hand-quilting is in red -- big stitches. I have yet to use my new walking foot.

I made those other cushions you see on the couch last winter when I first started sewing again. When I decided I could have a "hobby". For me. Before it all took over my life...haha.

Monday, October 20, 2008

breakfast with mister cloud

Mister Cloud cries for happiness. Don't cry, Mister Cloud. I'll share my espresso with you.

Ah, fresh joe.

(Mister Cloud, you like coffee? Dark, syrupy espresso, hopefully fair trade, and not over-roasted a la *&%#bucks.) Personally, that's my choice. No sugar, no milk. You?)

And would you like some naturally-raised bacon fried up right, in my wonky pan?
You're vegetarian?
Oh. How embarrasing.
Let's see...

How about an apple?


I'm about to dive into work again this week. I'm catching up with everyone's blogs and it's so fun to have them stockpiled in my reader. (Do you use a reader?)

Back to coffee for a minute. A favourite subject. (Sorry, tea-drinkers. I admire your health but...) I go to a great place here called "Cherry Bomb". It has a minimalist Ikea/70's theme and service is fast and friendly. I'm a coffee addict. Always have been...since grade ten or so.

These pics of questionable quality are of a few freehand embroideries I did on a car trip recently. That cloud one was totally inspired by the Japanese kyuuto trend, I admit.
Sorry, these are blurry. Crummy camera.

When in doubt as to what to embroider, you can never go wrong with a bird.

Hope you have a sweet Monday.

xo ella

Sunday, October 19, 2008

kitchen embroideries

I hope you're having a lovely weekend. It's been very busy here at our house. For now, here's a coffee pot, traced from a 1950's cookbook photo...

...and some cutlery (embroidered on a car trip). I do that now -- like an old lady. I do my "needlework" in the I don't gasp as we pass other cars...& so I don't watch the speedometer.

Ahhh...just like a tranquelizer to a back-seat driver.

I hope you're having a lovely weekend.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008


We all went to a country fair over the Thanksgiving weekend.
It's a festival that's been on the go for sixty years or so. Nice barn, huh?

Here are my kids, waiting for the next horseback riding competitor.

That's me in the pink t-shirt...Yes, I'm at the top of the Fun Slide. Sigh. What can ya do?

We ate questionable French Fries...

...pretended to go really really fast on a really really slow train...petted bunnies and chicks...

...listened (and even danced to) a family fiddle group.

Then we were somewhat startled to witness a "souped-up lawn tractor" racetrack. Crazy.

Yes. It really does say "ONTARIO EXTREME LAWN TRACTOR RACING". You know? Who thought this one up?

And those are not our kids. Ours were covering their ears and whining for cotton candy.

Yes. Here comes the lawn tractor now. Not a blade of grass in sight. Only things this baby's cutting are my EARDRUMS.

And here's the crowd! Loving it. Woah.

But anyway...the rest of it, the farmy stuff and kids' rides...was nice. 'Til it got too damn hot to stand out there with no shade. So we called it a day. Or, in our family, a half-day. Feels like a day when you reach 2 pm, don't you think?

Then, back to my in-laws' home for Thanksgiving dinner. My MIL, a very talented cook, made spicy roast chicken, Jamaican "rice and peas", sweet-roasted squash, & gravy. Dessert was pumpkin pie and fresh whipped cream. Oh. My.

Thanks for going on this family weekend ride. Back to sewing/craft stuff soon. But here's another tree picture.

Tomorrow I'll post on a few new sewing projects. And maybe a sewing "to do" list? Hm. Should I make failures public, is the question. Hmmm.

Have a great night.
xo ella

ps - oh yes - the workroom had a big one-year anniversary party and it was great with wine and lucky draws and cake and i hope that it runs a long long time and okay that's all for now.

Saturday, October 4, 2008

nuit blanche...with kids!

We just returned from the early kid-friendly part of an all-night across-the city art event here called Nuit Blanche. It was almost enough for these kids that they were out after dark, let alone seeing art! One cool thing was called "Glow-worms". Basically, a large scan of a local park was filled with hundreds of flashing bicycle lights at about knee-height, randomly placed across the grass and under trees. Kids loved it.

Friday, October 3, 2008

autumn "emergency scarves" and a patchwork pillow

The tall maple just down the street is fully red now. The curbs are lined with brown leaves. I am pretty sad to see the end of summer. I do love fall but man -- that snow. It's coming. It gets tougher every year to face it!

This morning the temperature was icy -- about 5 or 6 degrees!. The kids are still wearing summer jackets. So I pulled out some soft baby fleece, cut a couple strips, zig-zagged the edges with thread colours chosen by the children, and made some "scarves". I usually knit scarves for the winter (that's about all I knit!) but I was pleased with these emergency scarves that were soft, warm, cuddly, and as my son said, NOT ITCHY. Ahem. Yes. note to self. No itchy wool.

The other day I was inspired to create a little autumn patchwork pillow. It's still in progress but I thought I'd post it.

Here's a glimpse of my sewing area.

I'm very lucky to have a room surrounded by windows - even if it is bloody cold in winter and boiling in summer. There's the old workhorse (my machine, I mean). I'm looking for a zipper foot and a walking foot for it, so I can quilt and put in zippers again. I put one in the other day with a regular foot and let's just say it was a challenge.

I recently got this machine through Craigslist after my ancient Kenmore kacked out. I have to say, I LOVE this old Husqvarna.


My crazy curtains are Ikea fabric...I needed tons to cover all the windows and at something like 3 bucks a yard I had to take it. I know they're rather alarming...but something about them reminds me of 45 records! One day I'll make linen curtains. Maybe.

Okay, so here the front of the patchwork pillow -- the beginning, anyway. I took ages to cut the pieces according to a little instruction I found on line. (That's it, printed out on the desk, above.) But once I started sewing, it was fast. Very fun.

And, uh, there's the messy, stringy back. I am really not that exacting when it comes to seam allowances but I am trying to improve. My last quilting experience was much more wonky. So I got that going for me.

Later, after kids in bed, I added strips to make it about 17" x 17". The orange around the outside is rough silk -- and I'm not sure about it. I love the fabric...but it weakened the orange bits inside...But my guy said he thought the orange would look good and I was in the mood to be easygoing...lassez faire, if you will. (I had to expand the thing otherwise I'd end up with a dinky little 12" pillow. That's no good. You gotta be able to LOUNGE on the thing, right? Yup.) The pale orange strip is a piece of his old shirt. I like that...using old clothes. The real spirit of quilting. Or maybe I'd romaticized the whole thing because I'm hormonal. Who knows.

I'll post finished pics soon, I hope. I'm doing the quilting by hand with red thread. Almost done, actually. The debates in the US and Canada last night were easy to sew to.

Have a lovely weekend.

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

a lost robot

I'm kind of sad about this robot. I made him for a child who shall go unnamed...he was about 8" high, a big one...and zig-zagged the linen edges so it wouldn't fray...and wrapped it and handed it over to the folks and said "I want to put him on a pillow! Take a look and send him back when you can and I'll finish him up. Just drop it in the mail box." They are practically next door.

I wanted to sew him to a boy-boy pillow for the child's bed. The embroidery was all done and I was quite happy with the guy.

As usual,, birthday gifts for six-year-olds are opened after the party. It was a lovely party. But...

I think the package went AWOL. The parents avoid responding about the gift, and I suspect it was accidentally tossed in the flurry of a million plastic gifts wrapped in paper. I've said a couple times "I must finish that pillow. You know...the robot?" They nod, looking away, a nervous smile on their lips. Hmmm...

Oops. It happens...I understand. I would just like to hear "We lost it! Man!" and all would be well.

But I think next time the kid gets a book.


Somewhere, this robot is beeping. Maybe on a barge full of garbage. Adios!