30 April, 2012

Sunday Morning Quilts Launch Party!

May 11
7 Parkdale Crescent NW, Calgary, Alberta
6-8 pm

Join me for an informal trunk show, book signing, and general celebration of all things scrappy and quilty.

I'd love to have you there to celebrate this with me and so I can properly thank everyone for their support.

PS I'll be baking treats.

26 April, 2012

Spring Afternoons (Recipe: Rhubarb Iced Tea)

Spring is finally here. The grass is turning green, we get more rain than snow (mostly), and the rhubarb is poking up in back alleys and side yards everywhere. We are also actually getting some heat. That means cool drinks on the front steps.

Combine the spring rhubarb with sugar and water to make a pretty pink sugar syrup. After that the possibilities are endless.

My son arrived on the first day of spring, so the need to drink this rhubarb iced tea is no coincidence. No, it is a matter of survival. A snack, a book, and a very refreshing cup on caffeine.

Rhubarb Syrup
Makes 2 cups

4 cups chopped rhubarb
1 cup water 
1 cup sugar

Combine and bring to a simmer in a medium pot over medium heat. Let simmer for 10 minutes. Remove from heat, strain through a fine mesh sieve, and cool before using.

*Add a knob of ginger or a third of a vanilla bean to ramp up the flavour.

Rhubarb Iced Tea
Makes 4-5 cups

2 cups rhubarb syrup
2-3 cups brewed, cooled iced tea

Combine the syrup and the tea. Add more or less tea depending on how sweet you like your iced tea. Fill a glass with ice and serve. 

For some cocktail ideas and more check out these recipes. I'm saving these for when N is asleep on summer evenings.

20 April, 2012

Friday Favourites - Japanese Tailors Scissors

There is a guy here in town, the Knife Nerd. He has an unnatural love for Japanese steel, so he opened a knife shop called Knifewear. It's a drool worthy place for anyone who even marginally enjoys cooking. Indeed, Hubby treated me to a great knife for Christmas this past year. One of the perks of the Knife Nerd's job is research and buying trips to Japan.

One of the perks of knowing the Knife Nerd is asking him to buy something for you specifically on one of those trips.

Enter my new favourite scissors. I'm not a collector or anything. For years I've very happily used the Gingher's that technically belong to my husband. But when I started using these Japanese Tailors' Scissors a new level of fabric peace was achieved. So smooth, so sharp, so comfortable.

Perfect for trimming scraps.

17 April, 2012

100 Days

She went through my snippets jar, picking out 100 unique pieces of fabric.
She trimmed them into relative squares and rectangles.
She sat on my lap in front of the machine.
She learned how to line up the edges of the fabric, place them, and drop the needle.
She guided them through the machine while I worked the pedal. Or we switched jobs and played Red Light. Green Light.
She placed the rows and sewed some more.

She celebrated 100 Days of school.

She celebrates her craft. Here it covers her, but more often she covers her baby brother in this special quilt.
She fights with her sister over it.

11 April, 2012

To a T quilt

To a T Quilt
72'' by 72''

Block designed for 99 Modern Blocks.

Repeating the T design for the back. With some very, very girly floral fabric and a shot cotton.

Pink binding. Just for fun.

My sunshiny quilting design. Shows up great on the back. Really happy using the Aurifil 50 wt thread for quilting. First time of many to come.

This quilt is in heavy rotation already. Keeping me cozy as I steal the girls' bed for a quick nap just days before baby boy arrived. Keeping me warm as I ward off the chills of a fever from a bad cold. Keeping the Evil Genius snuggled as she works through the stress of having of a new brother.

Now that's a successful quilt.

06 April, 2012


On a snowy day ten years ago we danced to "Let's Stay Together." A private memory whispered in my ear as he quietly sang along and held me close. Friends and family from across the country with us, champagne pyramids, men with ties as headbands dancing to Rage Against the Machine, heckling during our vows, a geisha delivering sake, mountains of cupcakes, and lots of polka. Now wasn't that a party?!

Today we mark our Tenth Anniversary. Much to my surprise my Hubby is quite keen to celebrate and has been telling the girls all about it all week. For the first time he seems keen to share that marriage is about more than having kids that will grab him a beer when he asks. No matter what he says to the kids, I'm still standing beside him with a laugh.

Today we also mark the birthday of a special girl. She joined us on the day of our wedding. One of my dear friends, a bridesmaid even, ended up having her baby that night. It was terribly early for baby and very, very scary for mom, who was quite sick. After some stressful and frightening months both Mom and Baby emerged healthy. So we wish sweet Rachel a very happy 10th birthday!

This is the quilt I made Rachel for her christening, not quite 10 years ago. We've all come a long way! Her nickname was Bug, so it was all about the ladybugs on this one.

This weekend we are quietly celebrating. It isn't often that our anniversary meshes with Easter, but those two days combining create a confluence of bad luck. Between our anniversary and Easter something always happens. It started with Rachel's untimely arrival at our wedding. Then this happened:

2003 - All quiet...
2004 - Someone lit Hubby's TR-6 parked behind our garage on fire. Destroyed.
2005 - Another quiet year....
2006 - I went into pre-term labour and nearly had The Monster at 29 weeks, the same gestation as Rachel.
2007 - The Monster ended up in the hospital with pneumonia.
2008 - The Monster was back in the ER with a respiratory infection.
2009 - I broke my nose by walking into a door.
2010 - A shockingly quiet year, at least on those weekends.
2011 - My Dad died.

So this year, we can't find a babysitter to go out for dinner. Oh well. With a new baby and an already sick Evil Genius maybe that's a good thing. The days of ties becoming headbands and champagne pyramids are behind us. Taking it easy and relishing all the good things that have happened in 10 years might be a better plan. Especially because there have been a lot of good things in those 10 years. A lot of good things.

PS I decided to wrap up the quilt top, back, batting, and thread and present it to Hubby that way. Thanks for all the advice.

03 April, 2012


Has it been 2 weeks already?

We're still trying to figure out a new rhythm with Nikolai in the house. He's a pretty good baby, most of the time. His sisters are, of course, bursting with excitement. The realization that he sleeps a heck of a lot is finally sinking in though. As is the fact that they get nothing to do with feeding him until he is older. But they are very helpful and mostly entertaining.

The other morning I unexpectedly had only the little man home with me. He was sleeping and I was feeling rested. Mama decided to pull out the machine and quilt. It was only for an hour, but it felt great. And it was awesome that he was happily sleeping beside me on the dining room table. The Empire has truly expanded.

Now, about that book/baby poll. No one had both days correct. A few got the right baby or the right book date. (I even had the right baby date - I was hoping for the first day of spring and that's when he came!) But one person was awfully close.

Amy had the 5th for the book and the 19th for the baby. We got emails on the 5th saying that some folks had the book in their hands. And Nikolai was born only 4 hours into the 20th. I'd say Amy is the winner! I'll be sending out a book to you Amy.

Thanks to everyone for playing along and supporting me as I navigate this crazy time.