Thursday, 27 December 2012

One of my favourite traditions...

Christmas, 1996 was my first Christmas living in my own apartment.  My boyfriend at the time, now husband bought me a beautiful floral bouquet.  I looooooved it!  Over time, I began to arrange my own Christmas flowers.  In the apartment we had one arrangment each Christmas.  In our house I usually get 4 - 6.  I love this tradition; it is my tradition.

It also signals to me that Christmas is getting close!  This year I made four arrangements, and had enough greens left for a vase full to spruce up the powder room.

I hope you all had a wonderful Christmas.  Our Christmas was peaceful and relaxing filled with loved ones.


Tuesday, 18 December 2012

Done, Done, Done, Done, Done, Done, DONE!!!

As you may have suspected I have completed my one and only hand-made Christmas gift, the prayer shawl I mentioned in my last post.  I'm happy with how the project turned out and I think my mother-in-law will like it as well.

Gramma's Shawl, Christmas 2012

Friday, 7 December 2012


I am not a prolific knitter, in fact beginner might be a bit of a stretch.  I have completed 4 scarves.  The first one was a sampler scarf where I experimented with purl and knit stitches.  It was knit with low end black yarn and can't be worn because of the awful synthetic feel of the yarn and the waaaaay too big tassells I used to finish off the scarf.  That was at least 5 years ago.

The second and third scarves were totally composed of plain knit stitches, using variegated and bulky yarn.  Both were completely wearable.  The second of the two, third one total, I actually gave to my sister-in-law as a hostess gift after a family vacation.  Wish I would have known that besides were being a near-professional seamstress, quilter, and folk art painter that she is also exceptionally advanced at knitting.  I consoled myself that while simple, the scarf was presentable and not too riddled with flaws.

The third project.  I loved the idea of this project.  I came across beautiful Christmas yarn (2009, Lion Brand, I think it was from Vanna's collection).  I bought a ball of white and a ball of red.  These were bulkier yarns both with a little gold thread in the yarn for added, festive interest.  What to make? What to make? A scarf of course!  This was mid-November, I started knitting the scarf in early December after being laid up with foot surgery.  My design was knit two rows of read, knit two rows of white repeat.  Easy-peasy.  Turns out I had no idea how to change colours.  I improvised - rather than looking on-line or asking a more experienced knitter.  I knit two rows of red, snipped the yarn, tied on the white, knit two rows.  I repeated the process for about 30 inches of scarf.  Then my mother-in-law saw the 3/4 completed scarf and took pity on me and showed me how to correctly change colours!  What sense, what style!  So the long and the short of it is that I have a pretty Christmas scarf that I wear with pride, especially the last six inches of it!

This brings me to my fourth and current project.  A beautiful prayer shawl for my mother-in-law.  As for shawl read as "really wide scarf".  This is another one of those situations where I saw the yarn and was inspired to do a project, rather than, as I understand, the traditional chain of events where you have a project in mind and find the materials to make it.  I was browsing at the local craft store when I came across a beautiful mauve yarn, again of the bulky variety.  I thought "perfect for Gramma".  What can I make her? She doesn't care for overly bulky scarves with her winter coat....hmmm this project may stretch the bounds of my scarves only repertoire.  The photo on the yarn was of a lovely woman wearing a prayer shawl.  Perfect!  Knit only stitches, (wider) large rectangle.  It was again November when I found this project.  November, 2010.  Now November, 2012!  I have three more inches of knitting and tassells and I will be done!  Finally the hand-made Christmas gift I've been wanting to give.

Wish me luck!  I really hope to posting a photo of the completed shawl/scarf soon!

Saturday, 27 October 2012

Keeping Inspired

I have to admit it takes a lot of energy to keep on studying - sometimes the light at the end of the tunnel is very dim and very small.  To inspire myself to perservere, to get school over and done with so I can go back to my life I have several techniques.  The one I engage in the most is following blogs.  My two favourite quilting blogs are: OCD - obsessive crafting disorder and Tamarack Shack.  I visit these everyday as part of my morning routine when I arrive to school.  Coffee, check e-mail, check blogs, get to work! 

My second strategy is reading magazines.  I have been a faithful subscriber to Quilters Newsletter since 2004, and have recently subscribed to Quilters Connection, for some Canadian content. 

I'm also a bit of a Christmas "nut" or "Holiday Enthusiast" as it were.  Christmas quilting magazines....ahhhhhhh

Another passion of mine is baking, specifically Christmas baking with an emphasis on Christmas cookies.  I've purchased THREE Christmas cookie magazines so far this fall!

You can see the magazine on the left had a "sticky note" tab...I'm making the "Peanut Butter and Jelly Cookies" just as soon as I finish a paper I've been working on FOREVER!

Stategy number four, or number three if you count both types of magazine reading as one, is visiting my stash - and sometimes adding to it. 
I have a cupboard in the basement that is half filled with various backing materials and the other half of the cupboard is dedicated to my knitting yarn. 

The yarn is double stacked, sometimes its good to remove the front stack and remind myself what's back there!

My second cupboard is ALL quilting material!  I love to go and visit the stacks of neatly folded fabric.  I have them sorted by colour.  Last week I broke down and went to my local Fabricland and added a few meters to my stash.  I went under the pretense of buying fabric for my son's Halloween costume.
Not sure if this would truly be considered a "stash" in the quilting world - but it's a start.

I also made a quick stop at a "new to Winnipeg" fabric store: Mook's Fabrics.  I enjoy exploring a new store and I found that Mook's had a decent selection of quilt fabrics, nothing jumped out at me that day but I did get a couple of baby blanket panels with coordinating backs.  My intention is to teach myself to machine quilt using panels.  Conveniently, one of my fellow student's wife is having a baby soon; this makes for a great excuse to log some sewing time.

 That's me for now.  Thanks Kristie at OCD and Kathy at Tamarack for your continued inspiration!

My next post: knitting.

Tuesday, 25 September 2012

Finally, post number 2!

It's now late September, which makes me not a prolific blogger, but I hope to get going!  September is a crazy month!  School starting for me and the kids, activities gearing up and summer ending.  This month we have started school, Brownies (I am now a leader and district treasurer), and piano lessons.  We will be starting swimming next week and indoor soccer a couple weeks after that!  I love the structure and predictability of the school year but could have used a break in between fall routines and summer fun for transition.  The pool is down in the back yard, the cabin season is coming to a close.

Now let's talk about my academic progress - slow is a generous description.  I'm planning to be completely done my degree, thesis submitted and printed by the end of June.  To do that I'm going to need to start putting in some serious hours.  Being productive during the hours would also greatly help! 

To gear up for the new school year I tackled my home office.  This is the before photo.


This is after.

Ahhhh - before school started!

and this is today - the command centre.  Processing data on one computer and using the laptop for writing a paper.  Every geeky engineer's dream!

Getting down to work.  Next blog: Keeping my creative side alive!

Sunday, 26 August 2012

The First Post

As I mention in my profile, I am currently in school.  After some years as a consulting engineer, and many years as a manager of outreach and recruitment, I decided to go back to school.  I have been a creative, craft-sy person for as long as I can remember.  Engineering school slowed that down - just no time for hobbies.  I did quite a bit of sewing, decorating and some scrap booking, and then we had our kids.  We have two wonderful children: A (our eight year old girl) and J (our six year old boy).  I am married to a wonderful man, W who is also an engineer.  As we were starting to settle into a routine with the kids, their school and activities, them sleeping through the night, I thought I'd be able to become more active in some of my hobbies and pursue some hobbies I've been interested in for years.  New hobbies I am interested in pursuing are: quilting, knitting and photography.  While quilting is going to me my main focus of this blog, I am also going to talk about other pursuits like knitting, school and family.

That brings us to my current pursuit - keeping me from any hobby time - school.  For several years I've been bored and unsatisfied with my career.  I loved what I was doing, but I had done the same type of work for many years and was ready for a change.  The problem was that I had a technical background and managerial experience, but the technical work was in the far past.  While pursing various avenues, I had a chance to speak with a former engineering classmate of mine/current transportation engineering professor.  She offered me a chance to pursue a Master's degree in transportation engineering - my first engineering love.  After much consideration and a lot of support from W I decided to head back to school.  This is the second time I've returned to school since I graduated from engineering in 1995.  From 2000 to 2005 I did a management certificate while I worked and we started our family.  Turns out management was a whole lot easier than a Master's in engineering!  I have to say this Master's degree has kicked my butt!!!  I've really struggled with the time management, the boundless content and the "new age" research tool: the Internet.  I have been in school since one year, full time since January 2012 and will likely be done in June 2013.  Eighteen months full-time for a 24 month program is very respectable, but definitely threatens my sanity.

What has been keeping me going is thoughts, dreams and plans of future time with hobbies, travel and most importantly my family.

That's it for the first post.  Welcome, I hope you enjoy following my journey.