Monday, December 7, 2009

Where Has All The Time Gone?

I can't believe that its December already! The last half of November just flew by. I've been crazy busy trying to finish several projects before the 12th of December. We're going away for Christmas and I decided to make too many things. What was I thinking? Self-inflicted stress is really crazy.
I started this table topper last November (2008) and all it needed to finish it off was some quilting and binding. I finally managed to do that a couple weekends ago. Its a Christmas gift for the teacher that I work with. I hope she likes it!
I also made three Christmas stockings for my brother and brothers in law. (Sorry, I forgot to take pictures of them before giving them away!) I've also made three small quilts (two still need the binding stitched down) for my niece and nephews. I will feature them in another post coming soon!
Here is a sneak peak of something that I can only reveal after Christmas.
And another sneak peak, also to be revealed later.

Between all that sewing I still need to pack and prepare for my holiday. I am really looking forward to relaxing and spending good time with my hubby over the break. We have a jam packed week and then a loooooooong trip, but it will all be worth it in the end.

xo Nicole

Monday, November 9, 2009

Quilting Bee

I have joined a quilting bee online which is so exciting! I will be making blocks for other people for a whole year, but they will be making blocks for me too. What a cool way to meet other quilters and improve my skills.

I am also trying to start a Canadian online bee. If you want to join me, let me know! I need 11 people if possible. It's also possible to have fewer people and do things a little differently. It would also be a smaller time commitment.

xo Nicole

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Thankful Thursday

I have had an idea that's been rolling around my brain for a couple of weeks and I decided that today I will put it into action. I need to be more aware of the blessings in my life and the good things that God gives me. I want to regularly remember them, so I decided to make Thankful Thursday. Every Thursday, I will write a blog post about things that I am thankful for. There may be repeats each week, but I will try to be more aware of things during the week that are something I am thankful for. If you want to join me in this endeavor, let me know, and I can create links to those who make Thankful Thursday posts. If nobody else joins me, that's ok too, I'm doing it for my own spiritual health.

So, today, some things I am thankful for:
  • having a job where people want to work together as a team and where I feel like a contributing member
  • my wonderful husband who helps wash dishes and is just sweet in general
  • being part of a home group that cares for and challenges each other
  • having enough money to order pizza once in awhile
  • being able to have a creative outlet in quilting
  • having enough money and time to be able to share both with others
  • my family - we all get along most of the time and can talk and do fun activities together
  • my friends - you are all unique and bring something special into my life
  • that God loves me and wants to have a relationship with me - really, everything else is just icing on the cake!
Thank you Lord for all the good things you have blessed me with. Apart from you, I have no good thing. My heart is glad and my tongue rejoices. (Psalm 16)

I hope you can think of lots of things to be thankful for today too!

xo Nicole

Friday, October 9, 2009

Polyphonic Purple

I made this quilt for my sister, Leanne, back in 2007. It was my second quilt that I've made. I really enjoyed shopping for the fabrics and making it have a scrappy look.
The binding is just leftover pieces joined together. Love it!
It was also my first attempt at free motion quilting. I stippled in the white sashing and made up a leafy design diagonally throughout the nine-patch blocks.
Oh the crinkly goodness of quilts! It was for her birthday, although I completed it a couple months late. At least she loves it!!!
And I called it Polyphonic Purple because she loves big words and music, and, of course, it's purple! I hope Leanne will enjoy it for many years to come. Its a lap quilt and it lives on her couch in her new home. Yay!

Hope you enjoyed my quilt showcased for the quilt blogger's festival. Check back to Amy's site to see lots of other wonderful quilts.

xo Nicole

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Floral Fusion

Here is the quilt that I made for my mom's birthday in September. I was only about a week late in finishing it, and then another week went by while I waited for a day to photograph it.
I gave you a sneak peak of it earlier, but here it is in all it's glory! I think it measures about 60" x 72". At least it did before quilting and washing.
I used a wide variety of pink, cream, blue and green florals. Mostly large roses, but other flowers too and a cupcake print. It was just too cute to resist. I bound it with a diagonal stripe that had pink, cream, blue and green in it. How perfect.
My inspiration was from a patchwork tablecloth in Kaffe Fasset's Glorious Color. I added a different border for a challenge. I try to learn something new for each quilt that I make. This time I made diagonal pieced squares and triangles.

My mom loves the quilt! I am so happy with the end results and am glad that she loves it too. She said the fabrics remind her of her granny and the quilts she used to make. What a fabulous compliment.

Now, on to current projects... I just finished a quilt last week (pictures to come soon), and I have to make 4 more before Christmas! Yikes, what have I gotten myself into? Its all self-imposed though. I just can't help it. I guess I better get off the computer and get sewing!!!!

xo Nicole

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Hot Summer Nights

Well, the nights aren't hot anymore, and summer is pretty much over, but I finished this in the summer. Its for those hot nights, when you don't want a duvet, but still want to be covered.
I made this for myself and finished it back in August. I just didn't get around to taking pictures of it until recently. I went to the park down the street one afternoon and had a lot of fun having a photo shoot with some quilts.
Unfortunately the colours didn't show up exactly the way the are, but the bright sunlight was too nice to resist. I tried hanging it on a fence, but it was too windy and the quilt kept blowing towards me.
I used the pattern from a Fons and Porter magazine that I picked up at a second hand book store a few years ago. I knew I wanted to make this quilt for myself since then! I love the colours and the batiks were fabulous to work with. They don't ravel as much as some other cottons.
I like how the back was pieced and the label is a miniature star from the front pattern. The free motion quilting was fun and pretty quick to do. I think it took me about 4 hours total. Its my new favourite way to quilt.

xo Nicole

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

WIP Wednesday

Well, I have a couple of works-in-progress (WIP).... I am working on a quilt that has a deadline coming up pretty quick. I've been working on it for a couple hours today. It has a border that I haven't tried before, and I am liking the way that it looks.
I am having some inner conflict about liking this quilt or not. Some days I like it and others I don't. I think it depends on the lighting. It is all floral and the colours are a little more toned down than I usually choose. It sometimes seems too busy. I really like the design though, so hopefully when all is said and done, I like it. It isn't for me to keep though, so it really only matters if the recipient likes it!
This is another project I started recently. I was procrastinating a bit from doing the floral quilt. I had bought some pre-cut scraps from a quilt shop and I decided to just start sewing them together without a plan!
Ahh! That's hard for me to do. I usually draw everything out in advance so that I get maximum usage of fabric. I've posted here three different layouts that I am trying. I'm sure that there are other options too. I can cut up the long rectangular blocks to rearrange as well.
Which of the three do you like the best? Or do you have another suggestion on what to do? I found a little bit of fabric at home that coordinates that I can use to fill in a few spaces if needed. Let me know what you think and I'll keep you updated with what I do.

xo Nicole

Friday, August 14, 2009

Apricot Jam

Yesterday I made some delicious apricot jam. My friend Lillie brought over some apricots that she picked from a neighbour's tree. She didn't have time to use them up, what with family reunions and packing to move.
They were so small and delicious! I had to quickly make them into jam before you-know-who ate them all up. He already had eaten 14 since the day before. It doesn't matter if you say that he will enjoy the end product even more...
I found a fantastic recipe online for this jam and it doesn't require pectin or boiling jars in hot water once they are filled. That's a great thing for me, since I don't really have any canning equipment. I just bought these jars at the grocery store. I didn't really have a big enough pot to cook the jam in either. As you can see, I had to use two pots at first, when the jam started boiling over!
Let me just warn you if you want to make jam too, it makes a really big, sticky mess in your kitchen. The jam was splatting all over the place when it was cooking, including my arms, clothes and feet. Ow! Its really burning hot! And the recommendation about getting a wide funnel to put the jam in the jars? Great advice. I think I'll follow it next time.
I ended up with five 500 ml jars full of delicious jam, and a little extra kept in a container in the fridge. And instead of adding the little kernel inside each jar, I added a smidgen of almond extract to the whole batch after boiling it. Almond and apricot pair really well. In the end I also had a few apricots left over so I made some muffins, but I found that recipe online and it wasn't very good. Too bad!

Well, what have you been making this summer? Anything delicious? Something beautiful? Feel free to write something in the comment section!

xo Nicole

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Tidbits in July

Don't you just love bicycles in photos? There is something so exciting about them. They have been somewhere and could go anywhere. And just who has left their bike behind while doing another activity? Will they come back for it? What if someone steals it? I love the old style bikes especially.
For some interesting surfing (of the web variety):
*A fun song and cartoon video
*A delish looking BBQ sauce recipe
*Dr. Zahi Hawass talks about recent discoveries in Egypt

Keep cool on these hot summer days!

xo Nicole

Monday, July 20, 2009


The question has been asked (on Calamity Kim's blog), What inspires you to create? I like this question because I have a lot to say about it!

First of all, I create many different kinds of things. I quilt, I paint, I craft, I photograph, I redo furniture... I pretty much do anything that catches my fancy!

As for where my inspiration comes from, it really comes from everywhere and anywhere. I might see a blog with fantastic photography, lovely paintings, or whimsical stories. I might see a pattern in a photograph I took. I love looking through coffee table books; you know, the kind that have glossy pages and interesting pictures, about subjects like traveling, home decorating or the life and works of an artist.
I also find lots of fun projects that I want to try from quilting magazines, like Quilting Arts or Quilts and More. Sometimes, when I look at fabric stores (online or in person), there is a wonderful fabric that jumps out at me and I know I just have to buy it and make something wonderful with it. I like looking at lots of photos to find new and interesting colour combinations. Traveling, or doing something new also inspires me because I am outside my normal routine and I find the creative juices tend to flow more freely during these times.

I really am a visual person and so many of the things I see contain beauty and interesting shapes or patterns. I love nature and organic forms. There are so many ideas that I have inside my head, all fighting to get out! One day, I hope to be able to express them all.

(Photos are of some small quilting projects that I have completed in the last month or so. Top: a cute little quilt with some wonderful fabrics. Middle: a table runner wedding gift made for my friends Ashley and Sean. Bottom: Two file and paper holders that I made for the two fantastic teachers I worked with last year.)

Happy inspiration to you all.

xo Nicole

Sunday, June 7, 2009

Nader's Choice

I promised, quite some time ago, that I would post pictures of the quilt that I made for Nader. I made it in secret in November/December 2008 while he was away for three weeks in Egypt.
I had promised to make him "the next quilt" last March, but somehow I made one or two before his. He even picked out the pattern he wanted and some of the fabrics he liked.
As it turned out, it was a huge surprise at Christmas when he opened his present from me! I had just opened a gift from him, quilting books, and we were making jokes that he gave them to me as a hint. He had thought I made another quilt for someone else (Eric) before I made his. HA! It was a fantastic moment.
It is the largest quilt I've made to date, approximately 60"x75". And it took many, many hours to complete. There were a lot of little piece to sew together!! I love the free motion quilting that I did on it too. I think I will do the same on the quilt I make for myself, which I am currently working on.

Oh, I have so many ideas for quilts and things to make. I don't have nearly enough time or energy! And then I keep getting more inspiration from photos and things that other people have made. Unfortunately, this weekend, my house still looks like a disaster area and I haven't done anything to clean up. I was too busy sewing.

Hope you have something that you are passionate about too!

xo Nicole

Wednesday, June 3, 2009


Here are some more tidbits of interesting places online. I hope you find something that you enjoy!

I am reading through the New Testament this year with my church. One of our pastors is writing a blog to guide us through the passages. Feel free to join in!

Want to take a colour personality test? It was more accurate than I anticipated.

Finally, check out this cool store on Etsy that makes clocks from old bicycle parts.

Hope you're enjoying all the sun and hot weather like me!

Love Nicole

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Handmade Signature Book

So here is some of the inside of the guestbook that I made for Bryan and Leanne's wedding.I also added questions throughout that guests were to answer and then sign their names.They loved it! I am so glad that I was able to contribute something very special for their wedding day.I love creating new things that are loved by the receivers. Sometimes I even create things just for myself that I love too! It makes me feel good to make beautiful things. There is something about creating that makes me feel alive. I think part of it is the tie to the Creator who made me and all the fabulous things on this earth. Thank you Lord!!

xo Nicole

Monday, May 18, 2009

New Favourite Breakfast

I think my new favourite breakfast is steel-cut oats with strawberries, mangoes and either a dollop of yogurt or some milk. I have also made it once with some leftover whipped cream. Now that was super rich! I kept trying to convince myself that it was still healthy from the oats and fruit....I have made this for myself the last few Saturdays as a treat. Not exactly what some may call a splurge, but I don't care. I made it for Nader today and he thought it was fantastic. "Delicious, sweet, fruity, and I wish that I could make it in Edmonton," were his exact words.

xo Nicole

Saturday, May 16, 2009

New blooms

What does the typical Canadian do on the long weekend in May? They get flowers and plant them in their gardens!! In my case, I had to get a few planters and then add dirt and then plant the flowers. I am so happy with the results! The long planter is on my balcony, along with its twin. It adds some colour and coziness to our small outdoor space.
These beauties grace our front entrance. It was hard to know what colour planter and flowers to pick to not clash with our lovely pink stucco exterior. I think I did a pretty great job of choosing the right ones!
I hope that our guests will feel more welcome now! It sure beats the bags of garbage I had left outside the door last time. Oops, forgot to get those to the dumpster....And my latest project that I'm continuing to work on...Leanne and Bryan's wedding guest book. I made the exterior cover with some fabulous greens and browns. And it has a sweet ribbon to tie it up. It was pretty quick to make. Now I am working on the interior. I'll post some of those photos another day. Maybe after the wedding. It sure will be original and a wonderful keepsake for them.

xo Nicole