Dancing, Knitting, Quilting, Gardening: a perfect Sunday!

I had such a lovely morning giving Jade her first bellydance lesson today! We did knee shimmies, twist shimmies, played with some veils and learned to walk like a princess/dancer (pointing the toes before each step and walking lightly on the balls of the feet). Here she is:
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That beautiful posture and dancer’s arms come natural to her, as does the great big ear-to-ear grin! We can’t wait for our next lesson next weekend. 🙂

I so enjoyed my hour with these two bright and talented girls. Both got to take home a hipscarf, and Jade is keeping the purple veil (though her mom will have to cut off a good 18″ from the bottom).

And here is Halia showing us a little summer top that I knit for her (notice that she chose to dress appropriately for accompanying her big sister to a dance class!)

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Such a cutie-pie, and looks an awful lot like her beautiful mom.

So that takes care of Dancing and Knitting! Now how about a little quilting? I finally finished the last of the three because-you-matter little boy boy quilts!

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And here they are all together:

 

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Tested and approved by Samuel J. Collins

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I even got out into the garden and cleaned out my flower beds. The sun is out, the leaves are out, green things are starting to peek out of the ground.

I hope your Sunday was as lovely as mine was!

Blogger’s Quilt Festival: Quilt Photography

This is my entry for the Quilt Photography category of the Bloggers Quilt Festival! Head on over and cast a vote for your favourite!

This is Kelly’s College Quilt and the post about it is here. This quilt took me 16 years to finish and it is entirely hand quilted. However, I’m not entering it into the hand quilted category, I’m entering it into the quilt photography category because I had so much fun taking pictures of it and and I think they turned out really well!

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summer 2011 008

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Blogger’s Quilt Festival: Hand Quilted

Today I am going to enter a couple of quilts in the blogger’s quilt festival! Each entry has to be a separate blog post, so you might get more than one today 🙂

This post is for the Hand-Quilted category.

I am entering Stars in Her Eyes, which I made for my lovely Nora last year. The original post about making the quilt along with more photos can be found here.

Here she is: isn’t she beautiful (I mean Nora, of course! but the quilt is beautiful, too).

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The quilting is a simple pumpkin seed pattern with variegated thread by King Tut. I wanted the quilting to to be fresh and summery, so I didn’t want it densely quilted. This pattern suited it perfectly and gives motion to the stars.

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Play!

Melissa at 100 Billion Stars writes wonderful, inspiring blog posts. Her last one was about giving ourselves permission to play.

This is something near and dear to my heart. There are so many ways to be creative and let your playful side out.  You can dance, sing, twirl and move all by yourself in your living room. You can surround yourself with fabric and start cutting and sewing without any rules or idea of where you might end up. You can play tag with your dog or bounce a piece of yarn with your cat. You can write a letter or a poem or a crazy song. Whatever you do, just let your imagination be in charge for once. Just for once! let go of  rules and expectations and create something simply for the sake of playing.

I find myself missing the creativity and playfulness of teaching dance. I feel like my brain and my body are a bit mushy from the lack of it, and I am starting to think about teaching again in some fashion. And so I am taking Melissa’s advice and I am going to play with dance this coming weekend. I have asked my little friend Jade if she would like to learn to dance with veils. (well, actually I asked Jade’s mother and she said yes, lol!) Jade is 7 years old.

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Here is a picture of me at age 7:

 

 

I am going to pick Jade and her 4-year-old sister up on Saturday and we are going to have a play date.  I don’t have any child-sized veils for them…I might need to cut one of mine in half. I will have to dig them out and have a look-see. We are going to have so much fun! Silly, goofy fun and Jade will learn some dance at the same time.

I will leave you with a video of my old dance troupe Saba Middle Eastern Dance Ensemble (who I miss playing with very much) performing a piece that I choreographed for them for Rockin’ the Casbah a couple of years ago. This is women’s Gulf dance and it is all about play. I had so much fun choreographing this piece and I hope you have fun watching it! In fact, if it inspires you to get up and dance along with us, go for it!

How are you going to play today?

The Eagles are Hatching!

The Yukon Electrical Company has a webcam trained on the eagle nest in Whitehorse, Yukon, down at the Milenium Trail. This is so cool…check it out! The baby eagles are hatching!

Live long and prosper, baby eagles!

 

A new creative space

I made a new friend last fall when I attended a workshop at The Haven on Gabriola Island in BC. Her name is Patricia. I was drawn to her, not just because she is a generous, kind and funny woman who is a lot of fun, but also because of the fact that she retired early, as I will be doing soon.  We had a conversation about how, when she recently married and moved into her new husbands home, she felt displaced and as though she didn’t quite belong. She lived there in body but not in soul. Her solution was to take over the guest bedroom and re-make it into her own personal creative space. She didn’t take anyone else’s aesthetics but hers into consideration. It is totally and completely, 100% Patricia’s room.  I absolutely love this idea. It has consumed me for months.

I have a sewing room. Like Patricia, I live there in body but not in soul. In the back of my mind it has remained Michael’s bedroom. It was a cobbled-together room, a place where I practiced my “make do” philosophy as hard as I could. I used the sideboard that was my mother-in-law’s as my sewing table because my husband, bless his heart, couldn’t bear to part with it. There was, quite literally, no place for it to go in the house except into the sewing room.  In order to use it, I have to put the foot pedal inside one of the cupboards and sit with my foot stuck inside to run the machine. I actually grew to like the old thing, but it was only a stop-gap for a real sewing table: it is too low and my back gets sore when I sew for any length of time. But frugal is as frugal does, and I made do.

And then I bought a treadmill.  I’ve always wanted a treadmill, but there was never any place for it to go, so guess what…yup! I put it in my sewing room. It was a terrific solution, but as far as a creative spaces go, the room fell kind of short.

And now that we are moving to a new house with none of our history in it,  I have been consumed with the thought of creating my own personalized space with no restrictions other than size. My creative space in the new house is a tiny 9′ x 10′ and faces east.

I  don’t want to “make do” any more.  I want to outfit the room with the proper equipment that I need to be creative in it: a good sound system.  A good sewing machine and a serger. A place for my laptop. Room to twirl a cane, a veil, or myself. I want it to be bright and airy. I want a bit of floor space in the middle of the room to set up my yoga mat or do my bellydance practice.

There is a window on the east wall which I am going to have opened up to install sliding glass doors. I love that these doors will take up most of the wall! Kelly will build a small deck  so that I can step outside, and it will also be our “shade” deck for hot summer days.  On the second wall, I am going to remove the closet doors and turn the closet space into a writing/office space…my computer desk will fit in there perfectly, and I can install lighting and put up funky wallpaper and shelving. I want to devote the third wall to a bi-level counter space – the tall portion for a cutting/crafting surface and the short portion for the sewing machine(s). I will put shelving above and below the counters for storage and a peg board where I can hang my tools.  The fourth wall will hold a large mirror and a ballet barre, and somewhere in this room I want to put the perfect chair for reading.

Maybe I’m asking a lot from such a tiny space, but I believe it can be done and I can’t wait to start creating my creative space!

 

Happy Mother’s Day Weekend!

My goodness…I opened up the website to write a mother’s day post and saw that this will be post number 201! Now how did that upcoming milestone get past me, I wonder? I think I better start planning ahead a bit better because surely a prize would have been appropriate. Well, never say never, and I will put some thought into that!

Meanwhile, Happy Mother’s Day to everyone, whether you are a mother or not! I have had a wonderful Mother’s Day. Look what I was served for breakfast!

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I adore French toast. And didn’t he set a beautiful table, oh my! I must have raised him very well, if I don’t say so myself!

 

 

 

 

Chef Michael:

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And on the sewing front, I picked up Heidi’s quilt for the first time in too long and did some hand quilting whilst we watched a movie on TV last night.

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Yesterday I worked on my 3×6 bee blocks. I decided to make disappearing 9-patches this time around. Sometimes I feel badly that I make such simple blocks for this group, but everyone makes the best of their ability, and you are placed in a group by first-come, first-served. So there are very experienced quilters making some very advanced blocks in the group, and then there are the beginner “me’s” who make simple blocks. So anyway, I felt that the disappearing 9-patch was going to be a challenge – and it was, but in a different way than I had expected. The challenge wasn’t in the sewing, it was in the fabric selection. A couple of the blocks I made over because while the colours looked like they would be perfect, when the block was actually sewn, they just didn’t cut it.

So what is a disappearing 9-patch, all my non-quilting friends are wondering? Well, you start off by sewing a straight-ahead 9-patch block that looks like this:

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Then you cut it into quarters, like this:

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And then you twist and turn the quarters around until you like the pattern!

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Pretty cool, eh?

What I learned is that strong colours work best, especially a contrasting colour in the center of the original 9-patch. All of these squares are the same pattern, and the colours I used are according to the chosen palette of each person in the bee. See what you think:

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Happy Mother’s Day to you all, and especially to my own mother!

I hope you all had a great weekend, and if you’re hungry, I’ll share my French toast with you.

Bonn Appétite!

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Because You Matter: Boy Quilt #2

I’m really moving right along with these sibling quilts! Here is quilt number two:

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It measures 43″ x 30″ – a nice size for a preschooler. I was digging around in the bottom of my stash and I came up with six 6″ squares of bright cartoon jungle print that my friend Karyne had given me years and years ago and that I had totally forgotten about.

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I dug out some jellyroll strips in bright primary colours, cut up a dark blue cotton pillowcase donated by Pam for the background and sewed up six wonky courthouse square blocks.

 

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I hand tied it with red yarn and ran around the outside border with the machine. I’m pretty sure that the machine lines are a lot straighter in person than they look in the picture. And if they aren’t, well, I guess they’re just a lot like me, lol!

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Don’t ya just love pictures of quilts all rolled up? I do! Something about the colours against the binding just makes me smile.

I’m linking in with Cat Patches for her New Fabric Object linky party. We’re supposed to show what we started in April. I started the project of making three quilts for three little boys. Two down, one to go!

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Ciao for now!