Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Eek, it's been a while...

So it has pretty much been well over a year since I have sewed anything. I guess life happens sometimes...

I just began a little volunteer gig teaching sewing to kids, so I guess that rekindled my flame for sewing. I also discovered a new (to me) fabric shop called Sew Memphis. The two women who own it are charming and the whole shop is beautifully decorated. Nothing like an well styled shop to show off some beautiful fabric.  I bought a few fat quarters and random yardage. 

I had promised the boyfriend that I would make him a computer sleeve a few months ago, so that seemed like the perfect first project back. 

Front, with a button/elastic closure

I realized my style really didn't change after this sewing hiatus...still love the simple modern fabrics, paired with some sort of natural cotton or linen. 

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Gobble Gobble

 I am heading down to the States tomorrow for American Thanksgiving.

I made this tea towel for my boyfriend's Mom as she always seems to have a themed tea towel hanging on their stove. I embroidered the turkey onto a linen-cotton blend and then machine sewed the linen piece to a tea towel.  

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Coming to an end...

Some of you have already seen these photos but I didn't get a chance to post them until now. These were taken in Sandema with the most amazing boys in the world. 

Quick update on what I have been up to...I was in Sandema for a while and then I came down to Accra for a night. The next day, I left for Princess Town where I was meeting the group for Disorientation. We stayed in a castle on the beach in Princess Town, pretty crazy eh? It was gorgeous and an amazing place to finish up the trip. We walked on the beach, swam in the waves, canoed in a lagoon, saw monkies and ate the most delicious food that Joseph prepared for us. I am now in Accra until I fly home on Tuesday. I am really sad to leave Ghana but I know that I can and will come back, which makes me very happy. It seems crazy that I will be home so soon. The rest of the group has already left so I have a few days more or less to myself in this busy busy city. See you soon!!



Richard, Nathaniel, Francis and Nathaniel 

Richard and Francis!

Michael and Richard!

The greatest boys in the world! Plus Evelyn and Michelle! 

Monday, July 30, 2012

Can I just stay here?

Meet Wally! He is our pet goat. He does not like people very much. I tried taking him for a walk and he was not very good at it. When we are done in Sandema, we will give Wally to HCC so they can have a yummy dinner.

My new African tattoo/Moto burn! I was getting a ride on a friends moto and he had just driven 5 hours so theyexhaust pipe was very hot. I know you should get off the moto on the left side but I was in a rush and was wearing a skirt so I hopped off the ride side and broiled my leg. This pic isn't even at it's worst. It popped yesterday morning and now looks like a gray/purple wrinkly brain. It is just smaller than a egg, in case you were wondering. (not sure what the line is, sorry)

Richard! Richard is one of the HCC boys. He was hanging out in our room listening to our iPods so I snapped a quick photo of him. I love the HCC boys so much. They are all so adorable and I absolutely love every minute I get to spend with them.

Science @ HCC! Daniel, one of the HCC boys, is teaching us about global warming. Jeremy, one of our group leaders, helps with a science program for the boys. Jacob, another HCC boy, gave us a presentation on ecosystems just before this. These boys are so inspiring! Both Daniel and Jacob want to be doctors.

Sandema! aka where I could live forever. It is such a beautiful place. The people are wonderful and the scenery is stunning. I am going to miss it so much. I have had such an incredible time here.

Sandema Boys soccer tournament. This photo was taken yesterday at the final match of the soccer tournament that OG runs each year. The early summer program ran the first girls soccer tournament. It was very fun to watch and very exciting as it went into shootouts. Most of the boys play in bare feet which is pretty cool.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Life in Sandema

I love Sandema. We have been here for almost a week now. The town is wonderful; the people are wonderful; everything is wonderful! Our whole group of 12 is living in one house. We have a pet goat named Wally :) We have a cooking schedule so we all cook breakfast and dinner for each other. We are usually out and about for lunch so we just get street food or bread and groundnut paste.
This is me on the road in Sandema. The trees line the red dirt road on either side and make a beautiful canopy.

I have fallen in love with HCC, a boys home in Sandema that OG has a strong partnership with. The boys are all incredible; I cannot even describe it. The HCC coordinator, Joe, and HCC founder, Heather, are two of the most amazing and kind people I have met.  Joe has become a father to the boys, and has done an incredible job creating a true family. Heather's story of how HCC came to be was incredible. It really illustrates how the generosity and desire to help others in what may have started out in a small way, can grow and develop to a point where the lives of so many boys are changed forever. There is a strong emphasis on the social and emotional development of all the boys, which I think is wonderful because those are two areas of development that I think are often neglected at home. The way the boys take care of one another is so inspiring to watch.  They all look out for one another and are all such great sharers. I got to spend some time with Jacob, a 15 year old boy from HCC. We went to the resource and worked on Microsoft word. Jacob has learned how to use word at school, and has been trying to teach the other boys back at the center. However, they have not had very much experience with computers, so it was apparently very difficult for him to teach them how you take the mouse and click and it opens a window etc. I taught Jacob some skills and he took incredible notes. Heather had asked me to do this so that Jacob can bring some of the younger  tboys back to the resource center and teach them his new skills. I gave Jacob a quiz at the end to see if he could do everything I had taught him, and he didn't even have to check his notes once. He is extremely intelligent and a very quick learner. He wants to go to medical school and become a doctor. Listening to the boys talk about their likes, goals and dreams for the future is so amazing.

I am so glad that OG gets us to do the fundraising. The partnerships we have developed in Ghana are amazing and the funds that we all raised will really assist them in reaching their goals. As a group, our money will go a long way, but I can't help but want to do more. I would really love to come back here next summer. I am not sure if that will happen but I know this I want Sandema to continue to be part of my life. I am trying to come up with some ideas to continue to fundraise once I am home because seeing the projects and meeting the people who we will be assisting has been a very inspiring experience for me.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

I want to live on a mountain

Hiiii! So since my last post, I think I have had the most incredible four days of my life. We went to the Volta region and hiked up a mountain to a village called Wli-Todzi. We were told the hike would be about 3 hours but one of the group leaders, Jeremy, and I kept up with two of the locals and made it to the top in just over 1.5 hours. It was stunning; we were way above the clouds and you could look out onto the other villages in the area. The community members of Wli-Todzi were the nicest people in the world. They welcomed us into their village and into their homes. Their lifestyle is incredible, full of so many tasks that must be completed each day, but also full of a strong appreciation for life, family and nature. They are a farming village and basically grow all of their own food. We got to eat Ghanian food the whole time, which I loved. I tried both cocoa yam and casava fufu and really liked the strange and sticky texture. It is made by pounding boiled casava or cocoa yam in somewhat of a giant mortar and pestle. You have to use two arms to pound it and it is quite strenuous if you're not used to it. I have no idea how to actually describe how amazing it was up there so I will leave it here and tell you all about it in person when I get back. Speaking of getting back, I would be quite content staying here for much much longer. I am trying to forget that I have to come back to real life and school.

We had 2 full days of hot, squishy tro-tro rides. After Wli-Todzi, we stayed in Kumasi overnight and then left  early the next morning for Tamale. In Tamale, we visited an orphanage and a school. The kids are wonderful. Right away, I noticed how the older kids take care of the younger kids in a way that is very rare to see at home. I think the kids really love having us visit as they completely swarm us. They also really love having their photo taken so I have been able to get some really great shots. We have been in Tamale for two nights now and are leaving for Sandema in the morning.

I am having a more amazing time than I ever imagined. So for any of you family members that are worrying about me, please don't! I love it here.

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Accra and Cape Coast

Hellloooo. I arrived in Ghana on Friday night, after a nice airport stopover in Amsterdam where I thoroughly enjoyed a breakfast of delicious profiteroles  (sp?). I met up with another girl on my trip in the airport and we waited to board the plane to Accra. For people who were wondering, I successfully completed both flights without puking!! Michelle and Jeremy (two of our three wonderful trip leaders) met up at the airport and we waited for three other girls to arrive. I got to have a delicious mango/orange juice as soon as i met up with the leaders, what an akwaaba (welcome in Twi).

Then we squished in taxis and sped through Accra to Mama Tina's house, where we are staying. We dropped our stuff of and then went to meet the rest of the group at Tawala, a bar on the beach. It was really pretty.Then we went back to Mama Tinas and went to bed. We had the ceiling fans on turbo mode so it sounded and felt like a warzone haha.

The next day, we got up and walked to get a popular Ghanian breakfast of egg and bread. It is basically an omelet on two pieces of bread that are then cooked in a pan like a grilled cheese minus the butter. Then we went to The Blues, a bar on the beach and did some team building stuff and learned the very popular OG game of Wa. We came back to the house and a professor who is from Ghana but studied in the west came to talk to us about Ghana. He invited us to a comedy play that he produced so we decided to head there. I had salt and vinegar pringles for dinner that night :)

The next day we got a tro tro and headed to Cape Coast. We went to the cape coast slave castle which was really sad, but a very significant part of  West African history. You should read up on it if you can!

Yesterday we went to Kakum park, where we got to do a canopy walk on narrow wobbly bridges that were 18-40m above the rainforest floor. It was soooo fun! It was really beautiful and reminded me of when Mom and I went ziplining in Mexico, but with bridges instead of ziplines and rainforest instead of desert haha. Then we went to the slave castle in Elmina. I found that tour even more sad, the guide was really great and went into a lot of details which I had not considered in the first tour. We had a really great debriefing as a group about what we learned too.

Today we headed back to Accra, had some egg and bread as well as a giant juicy delicious mango.  We are going to visit an illegal settlement in Accra tomorrow and then head to the volta region thursday for a hike up to a mountain village where we will stay with host families for 3 nights.

I am really enjoying Ghana so far. Will try to update again but internet will likely be sketchy for the next little while!!

Friday, April 20, 2012

Happy Healing Quilt

I hope this quilt can provide comfort, warmth and cheerfulness to its owner. An old neighbourhood friend of mine had a cerebral arteriovenous malformation which resulted in him having a stroke about a month ago.  He is only 23 years old. It is difficult to know what to say or how to help in a situation like this but I knew right away I wanted to sew him something. 


He is currently at rehab and I know he has a long journey ahead of him. I also know that most healthcare facilities are not the most comforting and welcoming environments. I hope that this quilt will make his stay at rehab more comfortable and homey. I am also thinking of the day that he will get to bring it home  as a memory of how much strength, resiliency and perseverance he demonstrated during the healing process.


Monday, March 26, 2012

Mod Mosaic Quilted Pillow

You might remember this block from a previous post. I used Elizabeth Hartman's mod mosaic concept to make my blocks for the back of Eric's quilt. I made an extra block and decided to make it into a quilted pillow. I did straight line quilting in the Medium Gray sections of the block. Then I surrounded the block with  the same green (Kona Solid in Cactus, I think) as I used to surround the blocks for the quilt back. I used a light bluey-gray for the outer boarder and did some straight light quilting to finish it off.
I love the look of pebbled quilting... maybe it reminds me of the beach in my neighbourhood.  This is the first project I have made with pebbling and I think it turned out pretty great. In the top right corner of the pebbled section, I quilted in a heart instead of a circle. How dorky :)

Close up of pebble quilting
I used a blue on blue polka dot fabric and Tula Pink's Prince Charming for the back as this is one of my favourite fabrics. The dreamlike images and hidden treasures made Prince Charming an ideal choice for the back of the quilt I made for my parents.

Monday, March 12, 2012

Fundraising Update

I made a new page on my blog to show the products I am selling to fundraise for my Operation Groundswell trip to Ghana this summer.

Check it out and feel free to email me if you have any questions or requests!

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Operation Groundswell West Africa Trip

Hey there!

For those of you who don't know, I am going on a 7 week trip with Operation Groundswell to Ghana this summer.

Each participant has to fundraise $1000 that we will then allocate to the variety of programs and projects that we will be working with.

Here is a link to my fundraising page that also has some more info on what I will be doing.

Check it out!

On a crafty note, Ghanaian culture includes an abundance of textiles and crafts. They are most famous for their kente cloth, which is native to the Akan people of Ghana. I am really looking forward to exploring the markets and just taking in all the vibrant, rich colours that are so poplar in Ghanian fabric and crafts.

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Modern Quilt Guild Habitat Challenge

I'm finally done the Jay McCarroll Habitat Challenge Quilt for the Modern Quilt Guild. The Toronto Modern Quilt Guild had our challenge quilts due in November, but I had been so busy with school I didn't have time to finish the quilt or even attend them meeting. There was no meeting in December and I was sick in January so I am looking forward to brining the quilt with me tomorrow.

At first, I was nervous to work with this fabric because it was very different from the fabrics I tended to pick. It wasn't that I didn't like it, but I just wasn't thrilled...however, the fabric definitely grew on me and I am very happy with the end result! I think that the vibrant spectrum of colours with the crisp white worked really well. 

Quilt Front

At first, I was nervous to work with this fabric because it was very different from the fabrics I tended to pick. It wasn't that I didn't like it, but I just wasn't thrilled...however, the fabric definitely grew on me and I am very happy with the end result! I think that the vibrant spectrum of colours with the crisp white worked really well. 

Detail on Front

I was originally planning in quilting straight lines all the way down the quilt but then I decided last minute to try something more exciting and new to me. I decided to follow the outlines of each of the shapes and down three sets of outlines for each. In retrospect, I should have done this type of quilting on a smaller quilt (this was a double bed size approx). The large quilt was very difficult to rotate in the machine and I got it stuck under the arm a few times. I loved how the quilting turned out and am hoping it try out a similar style on a baby quilt. Also, there were a few areas that has large unquilted areas because there were no colours shapes there so I just freehanded some interesting shapes, which I think gives a neat effect.

Quilt Back

The back is one-third like the front and two-thirds a printed fabric with birds (I forget the name right now...).

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Bum Warmers!

I made these bum warmers for my boyfriend's Step-Mom and her niece. They are essentially a tube that you wear over pants and leggings to keep your bum warm if your shirt isn't long enough. They were very fun and simple to make. I hope they keep their bums nice and toasty this winter!


Saturday, January 28, 2012

Fold over clutch

Oy it has been a while since I've made anything crafty. I had an idea this morning to make a fold over clutch type bag and I decided I needed to make it today or else I probably would put it off for a while.

I used some great home decor weight yellow patterned fabric and a light brown for the lining. It was really simple to make as it is just a giant rectangular zipper pouch that folds. I might try using a magnetic button next time to hold the flap down but I wanted to see how it would work without one first. Seems to be okay!

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Quilted Camera Strap!

I have always wanted to learn photography but never gotten the chance. I am taking a Photography 101 Boot Camp this weekend at GTA Photography Classes and cannot wait! I decided to make a quilted sleeve to fit over my camera strap. I had seen other straps on other blogs but they all seemed to require that you take apart your strap. I decided to make a sleeve that (tightly) fits around the preexisting Canon strap.

I am really excited to learn about photography this weekend. I think it will be a great introduction to a new hobby. It is also something that I know basically nothing about. I tried to learn from library books in the summer but it wasn't very interesting to just read about. I think the interactive classroom setting is much better for me.

Plus, I can learn to take better photos of my crafts to put on my blog. It's funny that my post about photography is featuring such a bad photo but I had to take the picture with my phone as my camera was busy posing :)

Friday, November 11, 2011

Baby boy quilt

My Dad asked me to make a quilt for his clients' baby boy. I got to use the same fabrics that I used for Eric's quilt but then decided to add Kona Dusty Blue instead of the Medium Gray because the baby blue looked more well, babyish.

Front on the left, back on the right.

I have been quilting for about a year now and FINALLY figured out how to use my walking foot. I didn't realize that the arm had to actually attach to the needle tensioner bar. When I got the walking foot from my aunt, I looked online how to install it and many walking foots just rest on top of the bar so that is what I did. It didn't work so I always used my regular foot for quilting. I was determined to make it work for this quilt so I did some more googleing and saw a picture of how to install this kind of walking foot correctly. It worked!

This is the first quilt I made for someone I don't know and therefore won't get to see it again. I hope they like it!

Monday, November 7, 2011

Wonky Mosaic Blocks

Ah! I didn't like making these. Good thing they turned out pretty, or else I wouldn't have been a happy quilter! And yes, the are supposed to be wonky and angled...that's what makes them tricky.

I am finally getting around to finishing piecing Eric's quilt. I finished the top on the weekend and now I made these wonky mosaic blocks for the back.

 I haven't been able to sew very much since school started, but we finally have a little break in our assignments so I am trying to make the most of it. I finished  Eric's quilt top and my TMQG Habitat challenge quilt top on the weekend. Woo hoo! Tonight, I finished the wonky mosaic blocks for Eric's quilt and started to work on my first commissioned quilt for my Dad's clients.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Baby bib


I made this bib for a baby girl who I babysit. I thought bibs would be a fun and fairly quick thing to make. I got a bit impatient and cut too close to the edge and caught some of the fabric so I did a little zig-zag stitch to cover it up. Looks okay to me :)    ...I really should be writing my papers for school instead of sewing. Whoops!

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Owl Pumpkin!

I have been soo busy with school lately that I have had no time to do fun creative things. So when I realized I needed to carve a pumpkin tonight, I was thrilled. Keeping up with my owl/bird obsessed phase, I carved an owl. I was going to use a template that I found online but I was having difficult tracing it so I just decided to go at it free hand with the knife. I think it turned out really well!

Monday, September 26, 2011


At the September meeting of the Toronto Modern Quilt Guild, we learned how to make hexagons and diamonds using a technique called "English Paper Piecing". I have admired hexagons on other blogs for quite some time now but was intimidated by what I thought would be too finicky of a technique for me. However, they are actually quite simple to make.

I made this wall piece for my parents room. It is very simple but cute. Plus, it matches their quilt :) 

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Quilt for Mom and Dad

Side 1 (Totally a reversible quilt)

I finished this quilt last week but didn't get around to taking pictures til today. I am so happy with it. We had a party for my Dad's 50th birthday on the weekend and I gave a few 'quilt tours' around my house to show people some of the quilts I made. I got to talk about what "modern quilting" means to me and show off some of my work.

Side 2 (originally the back but I just love it too much to make it only the back, haha) 

I really love the back and I think that it is a very good representation of what I picture when I think about modern quilting. The colour scheme is definitely not traditional. I also think that the many different elements that make up the back lead  it to be full of movement. Although I have not made very many quilts (this is my 4th) I have many ideas in my head about quilts I want to make. I am very drawn to the simple blocks with sashing in between.

The fabric along the top of the back (from Tula Pink's "Prince Charming" line) has become one of my all time favourite fabrics. I love showing it to people and asking them to tell me what they see. They can always get the smaller details (boy reading, bike, chasing butterflies) and they ALWAYS miss the giant turtle. I chose to put it at the top by where my parents' heads will be because it seemed so dreamlike to me.

See the quilting?!? I think it is the perfect quilting design for the quilt. I love how the quilt is so square-like with lots of 90* angles but the quilting is very flow-y and dynamic. Good contrast...

I am going to take it to the Toronto Modern Quilt Guild meeting this weekend. I am looking forward to seeing what other people in the quilting community think of it. I am so new to quilting that I feel like I can learn so much from people who are more experienced. 

Yes, I know the pictures I giant but I just thought big quilt=big pictures :)

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Quilted macbook case

Front (the coloured bit at the top is the front of the velcro flap)

I made myself this quilted case for my computer. It has a few of the fabrics I am currently obsessed with (hence why my last few projects have all looked very similar). 

Close up of back   (echino <3  )
Back of case 

I am definitely starting to get the hang of these cases, now that I have made three. I really enjoy making them as they are both pretty and functional.

Inside lining of case and back of velcro flap. 

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Bon voyage, Lake!

Modern wall quilt
My little brother moved to Paris, France last week to attend Sciences Po for a school exchange. I made him a couple going away presents. I made him a quilted wall hanging as wall decor is probably not going to be high on his 'to buy' list for his new place. I didn't take a pic of the back but it is a funky coloured wine bottle print, which I thought was appropriate given he is going to France.

One side of the eye mask 
 I also made him a sleep mask. I thought this was a very necessary gift after he told me he sometimes puts a pillow over his face to keep the light out in the morning. I think that an eye mask is a much safer alternative to a has a much lower risk of smothering. I have been obsessed with bird fabric lately so both side of the mask used bird fabric.

Other side of the eye mask

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Best quilting day EVER!!!

Side view

I quilted my first quilt on a longarm machine today. It was the most incredible quilting experience I have  ever had. I went to Red Red Bobbin, located just outside Brantford, Ontario.  Louise and Jim, the lovely and super kind couple that own Red Red Bobbin were the greatest teachers. As most of you know, I am a totally self-taught quilter (and even sewer, I guess) so I have a lot to learn about the technical aspects of the art. They taught me everything I needed to know to be able to work the longarm on my own...however, it was a lot of information so they helped me every step along the way. 

Robin the Longarm and I (Jim took this photo and emailed it to me minutes later without me even knowing!) 
I was pretty set on just doing some sort of free hand design, maybe some loops and swirls. When I got to the studio though, I soon realized that I might as well try a pantograph. Louise and Jim were able to find one that was exactly how I wanted my design to look and that was going to be okay for a beginner. I am so so so happy with how it turned out. It wasn't easy but I am sure I will improve with practice. Now all that's left is the binding! 

 I highly highly recommend Jim and Louise at Red Red Bobbin. The offer long arm lessons as well as their own quilting services where you can send them the top/back and they will quilt it for you.