Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Montessori child's apron

I used Meg McElwee's Montessori child's apron pattern to make two aprons this fall and I love how they turned out! The pattern is available free at Sew Liberated and it's perfect for the 3-6 year old in your life. This ingenious apron is designed so the child can independently put it on, so handy! The neckband is elasticized and the waist strap has a velcro attachment on one side. What an improvement from the apron we had been using where I had to tie the neck strap and waist strap for my daughter!

Sophie in her apron, making porridge with Grandpa

I made both aprons using Alexander Henry's apples and pears print. Sophie has the brown one (with Kona red on the back) and the blue one (with Kona chartreuse on the back) was a gift to a friend who was turning four. Funnily enough, after I had decided to use that fabric, I noticed that Meg had used the same brown apples and pears print for the pattern photo!

My cooperative model in the blue apron

The pattern was easy to understand and went together smoothly for me. My only problem came with the velcro - I didn't realize there were both adhesive-backed velcro strips and sew-on strips available! You want to use the sew-on velcro for this project. Sewing machines and adhesive-backed velcro are not friends.

Thank you, Meg, for making a great pattern available for free! I hope to make many more in future!

Fresh Poppy Design

Monday, November 29, 2010

Vancouver neighbourhoods

You can now get your own awesome poster of Vancouver's neighbourhoods, courtesy of Ork Posters. Thanks to Inside Vancouver for letting me know that our fair city is now part of a group that includes NYC, San Francisco, Portland, Seattle, Chicago and Toronto. Think this would be a great Christmas gift? Buy it online here:

Friday, November 5, 2010

This view makes me happy

Tulip trees (aka Yellow Poplars) lining West 10th Ave in Kitsilano

We were lucky enough to have several days of sunshine here in Vancouver during early November. It looks like the rain and clouds have set in for a while now, so I'll just have to remember the glorious yellow leaves shining in the sun. I love the trees of Kitsilano!

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Car-free no more!

After nearly nine years of living car-free (with the help of our Co-operative Auto Network membership), we finally bit the bullet and bought a car! We are now the proud owners of a 2008 Honda Civic Hybrid!

The obligatory cheesy shot as Dean accepts his first ever set of car keys

A brief history of my car ownership:
1995: I bought my first car, a 1991 Toyota Tercel that served me well through university.
2001: I became a member of CAN, Vancouver's car sharing network
2002: We said goodbye to the Tercel in favour of living car-free
2007: Sophie was born and we kept on living car-free
October 26, 2010: Hello Honda Civic!

Our car! (sorry, we picked it up at night, so the photos aren't great)

By daylight (photo credit: Pacific Honda)

I have to admit, as an environmentalist, I've been quite proud to go almost a decade car-free. I've expanded my walking radius, gotten to know the bus system extremely well, commuted by bike, and I've been a loyal CAN member. I even wrote about our car-free lifestyle for Blog Action Day 2009. So, it's a little humbling to have to say, "I'm a car owner." However, I'm proud to say I stood by my 2001 pledge to Honda written during the heady, idealistic days of my early twenties: 
"I have pledged to never buy another solely gas powered car."

Why the need for a car, you ask? Let's see if you can figure it out...

Yes! We're expecting our second child in the spring! We're thrilled that Sophie is going to be a big sister. We have decided that the transition to a family of four necessitates the transition to a car-owning family. We'll still keep our CAN membership for those cases when we could use a van or a truck. Dean will still commute to work on his bike and we'll never give up transit, walking and cycling. But, frankly, this environmentalist stay-at-home-mom is pretty darn excited about the freedom that our new car promises! Any suggestions for our first road trip?

Friday, October 22, 2010

October VMQG recap - membership cards, pumpkins & selfless photographers

As of October 21, 2010, I am now a card-carrying member of the Vancouver Modern Quilt Guild! We had our October meeting last night and welcomed our first official members. Thirty members paid their dues - hooray! Another reason this meeting was a momentous occasion was that it was the first VMQG meeting I didn't chair. I sat back, relaxed, and let our new president Kalin take the reins. She was organized and kept us on track and efficiently got through the important guild business so we could have lots of show and tell time. Thank you, Kalin!

Kalin at work

We started by sharing our Halloween blocks. I liked this little paper-pieced pumpkin that I whipped up yesterday afternoon (yes, I'm a terrible procrastinator!). To the person who won my pumpkin, I'm sorry that it's six inches rather than six and a half! I hope you can add a little extra sashing!

 Show and tell, as usual, was the highlight of the evening. This was Arita's wonky Halloween houses quilt. I took a few quick photos, but many more will be available soon on our Flickr group

 Paul's monkey quilt created from our very first challenge blocks.

 Paul always has creative ideas for the back of his quilts! Thanks to Anna and Terry for being our quilt holders last night!

 Sonja, our amazing photographer, is also a talented pattern designer. Here she is showing off her Chuck Wolfman block.

And here she is, showing her dedication to "getting the shot" and her complete disregard for her physical comfort. What a pro!

I'm already looking forward to our next meeting!

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

October Vancouver Modern Quilt Guild Meeting

It's nearly time for the next meeting of the Vancouver Modern Quilt Guild! Looking forward to seeing you at Spool of Thread Sewing Lounge from 7-9pm on Thursday, October 21st!

I'm excited to officially become a member of the VMQG (don't forget your dues!), see all the Halloween challenge blocks, and, of course, admire the many beautiful quilts at show and tell!

p.s. Check out our brand new VMQG logo, designed by the amazing Cynthia Frenette of Thank you, Cynthia!

Sunday, September 5, 2010

I love my bike!

Isn't this the perfect button? My sister surprised me with it this week and I love it! If you, too, love your bike, you can pick up your own button, plus oodles of fresh local produce at one of the Vancouver Farmer's Markets like the Kitsilano Market (today at the Kits Community Centre parking lot from 10am-2pm). I love riding my bike to the market and taking advantage of the bike valet!

Art by Jane Koo

The "I Love My Bike" button was designed by the very talented Jane Koo, who created this year's amazing poster for the Farmer's Markets.

Friday, September 3, 2010

My proposal story

Minutes before our fateful dive (Dean had no idea what he was in for!)
September 3, 2001

Nine years ago today, I asked Dean to marry me while SCUBA diving in the Pacific Ocean. I haven't told this story on my nearly-two-year-old blog, so I thought today would be an appropriate day to share. 

In 2001, Dean and I had been dating for eight years, I had graduated from SFU with my degree in Biology and I was working as a naturalist at the Vancouver Aquarium. I was ready to take the next step, so I took matters into my own hands. We went for a dive off of Ogden Point in Victoria and after seeing a variety of amazing marine life, I wrote "Will you marry me?" on my dive slate. I can still remember how Dean's blue eyes widened in surprise as I showed him the slate and then popped open a box with a dive watch inside. All he could do was signal, "OK!"

We came back to the surface and shared our news with our parents, who happened to be there to "watch us dive". We assured them that the wedding would be held on dry land, and everyone was happy!

The happy couple with dive watch and proposal slate

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Announcing the Fraser Valley Modern Quilt Guild

There's a new Canadian Modern Quilt Guild! I'm excited to announce that the Fraser Valley Modern Quilt Guild is getting started! They have a brand new website and are looking for members! 

The FVMQG is being organized by the amazing duo of Cynthia Frenette and Lysa Mair. I'll let Cynthia introduce the group in her own words:

I had joined the Vancouver Modern Quilt Group and met my new pal Lysa thanks to the thoughtful Van group's organizer and hitched a ride with her in to one of the meetings one night. We soon discovered that the drive to the city in total being longer than the actual meeting itself, while it was fabulous in every way and we loved being part of it, was not really that easy for us to get to each month. So after a few chats, we decided to start a Fraser Valley group to make it more accessible for those like-minded quilters out this way.

We hope you'll join and share the love of modern quilting with us and fellow Valley modern quilters! We hope to make this group accessible and fun for everyone at all levels of modern quilting, whether you're a beginner, a master, a teacher, or anything in between, and will look forward to being part of a great Valley group! We also plan to stay in affiliation with the Vancouver Group, perhaps with intergroup challenges or meetings, the sky's the limit! Won't you join us? And please feel free to share suggestions, ideas, links, activities, anything to help get our new group growing and sharing.

As of yet, this group is just getting going, so they don't have their first meeting posted yet. I believe they're planning to hold meetings in Abbotsford. If you're a modern quilter in the valley, please check out the Fraser Valley Modern Quilt Guild

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Ringle and Kerr have a new book coming this fall

Have you heard about "Quilts Made Modern"? Weeks Ringle and Bill Kerr, who wrote the popular book "The Modern Quilt Workshop" and others about colour theory, have written a new book that's coming out in December 2010. I read a sneak peek post on Week's blog and was happily surprised. I hadn't heard about this book on any of my other quilting blogs, so I thought it might be news to some of my readers. In Week's words:

It’s a big book. It’s 160 pages of quilting A to Z. There are 10 never-before-seen patterns using a wide variety of techniques. In addition to pieced quilts, we show you how to tackle hand applique as well as machine applique. There are designs for solids as well as those for large-scale prints.

I am drawn to the skinny coin quilt on the cover and I look forward to seeing more new quilt patterns from this talented team!

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Coming soon - the 2nd Vancouver Modern Quilt Guild meeting

It's almost time for the second meeting of the Vancouver Modern Quilt Guild! I'm excited to go back to Spool of Thread and see my new quilting friends again! The first meeting was a great success with 45 quilters present and I'm curious to see how many people come out tomorrow night.

If you're coming, it would be a great help if you could bring along a folding chair or blanket/cushion to sit on and a mug! Of course, we would love to see any modern quilts you'd like to share as well as a tool of the trade for our tool talk section of the evening.

Event details:
Vancouver Modern Quilt Guild Meeting
7-9pm, Thursday, July 15, 2010
Spool of Thread Sewing Lounge
101-649 E. 15th Ave.
Vancouver, BC

Get more info and RSVP here:

Monday, July 12, 2010

1. Make a quilt for Mia's baby by May 2009.

It's been awhile since I've updated my 101 Things To Do in 1001 Days List. I've just taken a look and realized I've accomplished at least 15 goals without logging them. Shame on me!

I'm going to try to catch up and I'll start at the very beginning, a very good place to start. Goal #1 was to make a quilt for Mia's baby. I made my first really modern quilt for little Gabriel and gave it to him in July, 2009. He was already three months old, but he was still small enough to enjoy it, so I'm counting this as a win.

I wrote all about this quilt in my Blogger's Quilt Festival post so you can look there for lots of process photos.

I actually have this quilt in my possession right now, as I borrowed it from Gabriel to share at the first meeting of the Vancouver Modern Quilt Guild!

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Atticus, Jem & Scout

Atticus, Jem & Scout. I don't even have to mention Boo Radley and I'm sure you already know what I'm talking about. The characters from Harper Lee's literary masterpiece are etched into our collective consciousness and seem as real to me as my friends and family. Today is the 50th anniversary of the publication of "To Kill a Mockingbird".
This is the version we have in our home library and I re-read it this spring. Have you read it lately? Have you watched the movie? It's one of those rare cases where the movie is as good as the book, thanks to Gregory Peck and the way he became Atticus Finch.

Thank you to Katie who blogs at The Dundee Writer for tipping me off about this event!

Friday, July 9, 2010

The bike of my dreams

This Patchwork cruiser bike by Felt Bicycles has stolen my heart. Two of my favourite activities are quilting and cycling so this is clearly the perfect bike for me! I spotted it on the Sisters Outdoor Quilt Show blog and saw that they are raffling one of these beauties off tomorrow at their big show in Oregon.

I did a little research and it looks like you can't get this bike in Canada. I may just have to go on a road trip to Bellingham, WA and then ride my shiny new patchwork bike home across the border!

What of my red bike you ask? My red Norco Monterey will always be my first love and I still need and want it! I think there's room for two bikes in my life. I have no complaints with my red, 15-speed, hybrid bike with rim brakes and it has served me faithfully for nine years. I'll still need a bike with gears to get me up and down the hills of my neighbourhood, but I can certainly see going for a ride along a seaside path on a quilting-themed cruiser. Oh, yes, that would be sweet!

What do you think of this bike? Have you ever ridden a one-speed cruiser with coaster brakes?

Thursday, July 8, 2010

My Kona color card

When my birthday came around this May, I thought I'd treat myself and finally get a Kona colour card. Here it is in all its glory - 221 fabulous colours! Each 1'x1' swatch represents a colour from Robert Kaufman's Kona cottons line of solid fabrics. I've been using it to find the perfect solids to coordinate with various prints. I got my card in early May and it still gives me a thrill of delight when I open it up. I'm geeky like that.

Happy Birthday to me!
Inside the mystery gift. What are the elastic loops for?

I got my card from the lovely Kathy Mack of Pink Chalk Fabrics just down across the border in Washington state. She packaged up my order so carefully and thoughtfully included a little birthday present for me! I'm still a little puzzled about what it actually is (a needle wallet? a regular wallet?), but the thought was definitely appreciated.

Update (July 17/10): I just heard from Kathy, "Yes, the Sweetwater wallet is a needle case. The elastic loops are for holding thread spools. An on-the-go carrier for thread and needle." Mystery solved!

Of course, I had to make sure the envelope was full (I was just being efficient!), so I ordered some great Kona colours, a little of Denyse Schmidt's Hope Valley, a Single Girl quilt pattern, and a charm pack of Kona brights for Sophie to play with. Kathy's service, packaging and attention to detail was impeccable and I know I'll be shopping Pink Chalk Fabrics again! (she just got in Robert Kaufman's Pure Organic collection of 15 organic cotton solids!) Are you a fan of Kona cottons? Do you have your own colour card?

Monday, July 5, 2010

Ice Cream Social SewAlong

Amy (of badskirt) and Kate (of One Flew Over) are hosting an Oliver + S Ice Cream Dress SewAlong from July 18th-31st and I can't wait for it to start! I've been wanting to dust of my garment sewing skills (hmm... I think the last thing I made from a pattern was a pair of boxer shorts back in Grade 8) and this is the perfect chance. Amy and Kate will answer questions, blog about each step you take to make this cute dress, and they've already started a Flickr group where you can share your photos.

I've wanted to make this dress for Sophie ever since I saw it on the Oliver + S blog and when I saw the pattern at Spool of Thread, I just had to buy it! It's my duty to support a new local business, isn't it? I'm going to make View B, which is a colour-blocked dress. I'm going to be my literal self and use solid fabric in the colours of Neapolitan ice cream (strawberry, vanilla, and chocolate, yum!).
I wanted to get started cutting the fabric, so I bought my first ever roll of freezer paper at Safeway and used it to trace the pattern pieces. I've purchased the pattern for size 5-12 and I hope to use it again in a larger size, so I didn't want to cut it up. To preserve the original, I traced the pattern pieces I'd need onto the paper side of the freezer paper. The cool thing was ironing the freezer paper straight onto the fabric before cutting. Using a hot but dry iron allowed the freezer paper to stick to the fabric temporarily so I could easily cut the fabric with my rotary cutter. After I was done, I easily peeled off the paper and ironed it to the next piece of fabric!

There's plenty of time to buy your pattern and fabric and join in! Check out the fabric and pattern giveaway going on in the Flickr group until July 8th!

Sunday, July 4, 2010

What I learned in June 2010

I was inspired to write monthly reviews by Amber Strocel of See her June review and learn what she's been harvesting from her garden here.

Here's what I learned in June:
1. I'm going to be spending a lot of time at Spool of Thread Sewing Lounge. I went to their highly-anticipated grand opening in early June and brought the whole family with me. Here I am buying fabric for a quilt Dean is going to design for me.

2. My family is so supportive that they'll listen to me talk about quilting for hours on end. My father-in-law can now distinguish modern quilts from art quilts and traditional quilts!

3. Sophie can run/walk a 1K with ease! She was a star at the Child Run and had fun high-fiving all the cheerleaders.

4. I have a junior quilter on my hands. Here she is carefully arranging her Kona cotton charm pack. I bought it for her so she could have her own fabric to play with while I quilt.

5. There is an enthusiastic group of modern quilters in Vancouver who are excited to make the Vancouver Modern Quilt Guild a success!

6. Dean's still a kid a heart. Of course, I knew this, but here's some visual proof.

7. Sophie's not about to win an Olympic medal in the sack race, but she sure had fun jumping up and down in one place!

Saturday, July 3, 2010

Rainbow Girl

Back in Grade 1, in Kingston, Ontario, Mrs. Smith gave me the nickname "Rainbow Girl". I painted her a rainbow that hung on her classroom door for years after I'd moved to BC. She was the sweetest teacher and we still keep in touch. I'll always remember how she made us rainbow jello on the last day of school! I loved rainbows then and I love rainbows to this day!

I've been having fun this week, cutting out a rainbow of fabrics for my colour wheel quilt. Instead of keeping all the rainbow-y goodness to myself, I'm sharing it with you, thanks to a little prompting by Kate Conklin. Kate is an Australian quilter and designer who has just made a gorgeous quilt with Cloud9's Beyond the Sea organic fabrics. You should go check it out! Kate, this post's for you!

I'm using the colour wheel quilt pattern from Joelle Hoverson's Last-Minute Patchwork + Quilted Gifts and it calls for 52 different monochromatic prints. So far, I've cut out just over half that. I've been so happy watching the rainbow come together. Most of the fabrics are from my stash, but I've bought a few extra pinks and purples with this project in mind. It hardly takes any fabric at all (just 4'x12') for each wedge, so you need less than a fat eighth of each colour.

Have any of you made this quilt?

Monday, June 28, 2010

Featured on The Modern Quilt Guild's blog

Happy Monday! Today is special because my post about the 1st meeting of the Vancouver Modern Quilt Guild is up on The Modern Quilt Guild's blog. The Modern Quilt Guild is the umbrella organization that connects and inspires all 65+ local modern quilt guild chapters. Check out their site if you're looking for a local guild. The first modern quilt guild was founded less than a year ago and now it is an international movement. So far, there are over 50 modern quilt guilds in the US, three in Canada (Vancouver, Toronto and Calgary), and several in Europe and Australia. It's been an amazing year for modern quilting and I look forward to seeing what comes next!

Sunday, June 20, 2010

The Vancouver Modern Quilt Guild

"I love the idea of a Modern Quilt Guild and would definitely join one if it existed in Vancouver, BC, Canada!"

When I wrote this comment on Alissa Carlton's blog in November, 2009, I had no idea that I would be the one organizing the Vancouver Modern Quilt Guild! When Alissa, co-founder of The Modern Quilt Guild, wrote a post entitled "How to start a guild branch in your area" in January 2010, she encouraged me to start an online group to see if there was enough interest. Sure enough, there was (as of today, we have 95 members in the online group!), and five months later, we had our first meeting.

The Group!

We had 45 enthusiastic quilters at the meeting! 45! In the planning stages, I had told Lili and Henry, owners of Spool of Thread Sewing Lounge and hosts of our first meeting, that we would likely have 10-20 people at the meeting. Boy, was I wrong! We quickly used up all of Spool of Thread's chairs and the kind restauranteur next door loaned us a dozen. We still had people sitting on the floor!

The atmosphere was welcoming and inspiring and people seemed to be bubbling over with excitement to meet other young quilters. Some had never made a quilt but wanted to learn, others had been quilting for several years, and a few people had 25 years experience. A quick survey determined that 100% of the attendees would rather buy fabric than watch a World Cup soccer game. We had found our people!

A happy Holly sharing Gabriel's baby quilt, photo by Sonja Callaghan

 After our intros and a discussion on the definition of modern quilting, we shared our quilts. We had an amazing show and tell session and got to hear the story behind dozens of modern quilts. Tons more photos are posted in our Flickr group.

I want to thank everyone who made this event a success; Lili and Henry from Spool of Thread for hosting us (and moving their industrial sized cutting table so we'd have more room!), Sonja for taking 150 amazing photos to document the evening, Arita for taking minutes, Paul and Lawanda for bringing refreshments, Krista, Louise and Lili for donating door prizes, and my husband, Dean, for talking modern quilting with me on many morning runs! Thanks as well to those who talked up the meeting on their blogs. And, of course, thanks to Alissa Carlton for giving me the kick in the butt to get this guild started!

The next meeting is 7pm, Thursday, July 15th, 2010 at Spool of Thread. I've gotta go find some chairs!


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