A sweet little bookmark

A tiny little embroidery project to finish the day šŸ™‚

001From the Little Stitches book of embroidery designs by Aneela Hoey

002So sweet!

….and now you also know what I am reading! What are you reading this week and what do you use for a book mark?

In the Spirit of Play (or how I spent my April allowance)

Last January I posted my about word for the year: PLAY!

So, in the spirit of that resolution, I spent almost my entire April allowance on playful inspiration: books!

013I want to knit something bigger than a sock or a hat, but I know myself…I will make the front of something, or a sleeve, and then put the project away. Why? Because I just hate sewing the seams. I actually have an entire knitted sweater – front, back and two sleeves sitting in my basket. It’s been sitting in my basket since…um…gah! I am embarrassed to say it: about 1998. Needless to say, it no longer fits. But the yarn is good! It was expensive! So I’m in the process of unraveling the entire thing so that I can make something lovely with it. Knitted tops with no side seams! Yay!

012Prairie Children and their Quilts because I love anything to do with history and story-telling, and I’ve also become fascinated with miniature quilts. AND Mastering Quilt Marking because I want to expand my hand quilting beyond using purchased templates. I’d love to quilt some of the beautiful, intricate feathers & fans etc. I have the skill to do the hand quilting, but lack the technique of how to get the markings onto the quilt top. Maybe I can practice on a miniature quilt! Boo yah!

014Bread from Sourdough to Rye because I’ve been given the wonderful gift of heritage Yukon sourdough starter (read all about it here – it’s a cool story!) and I’ve been experimenting with baking bread. This book also has breads from all over the world, from challah to chapatti! And The Steamy Kitchen Cookbook by Jaden Hair because I follow her blog, which is all about yummy Asian-style cooking. (And Jaden is also a quilter, so duh….)

015And then BONUS! Look what my extraordinarily fabulous son of mine sent me for Mother’s Day!

All the indoor rainy-day bases are covered! Over the next couple of months I’ll be saving my allowance for outside play…new hiking boots and a day pack.

A spending allowance is built into our retirement budget.. I’ll post about it soon!

How did you spend your allowance last month?

What I’m Reading: Juliet Marillier

I put a call out to my Facebook peeps for book recommendations, and the author Juliet Marillier was recommended. The library only had one book on the shelf, Heart’s Blood. Once I started reading, I couldn’t stop.

Juliet Marillier writes Historical Fantasy. This is a new genre for me. I have never been a big fan of “traditional” fantasy…you know, castles and dragons and magical swords (outside of Tolkien, that is). But historical fantasy? Wow…I’m hooked!

Marillier’s books take place in ancient 8th and 9th century Ireland, when Christianity was fairly new to the island. Many people still followed the old ways and worshiped the ancient gods & goddesses.

Marillier herself is a member of the druid order OBOD (The Order of Bards, Ovates and Druids), so she writes with authority on druidic spirituality and belief.

…her spiritual values are often reflected in her storytelling ā€“ the human charactersā€™ relationship with the natural world plays a significant part. Julietā€™s novels combine historical fiction, folkloric fantasy, romance and family drama. The strong elements of history and folklore in her work reflect her lifelong interest in both fields. However, her stories focus strongly on human relationships and the personal journeys of the characters.

After I finished Heart’s Blood , I found the first book of the Sevenwaters Series, Daughter of the Forest.Ā  Like Marillier, I also am fascinated with folktales, and I was delighted to discover that Daughter of the Forest is a loose re-telling of the German folk story the Six Swans.

Now here is an odd thing: The Okanagan Regional Library System only owns the first, fourth and fifth books in the series, which I find very odd! However, I am an intrepid library patron, and pursued books two and three through the inter-library loan program. Son of the Shadows and Child of the Prophecy both arrived a couple of days ago and are due back in less than three weeks. Both of them. No renewals allowed on inter-library loans. Guess I better get reading!

I was completely enthralled and eagerly let myself be led back through the mists of time to a place where Gaelic mythology comes alive. If you are looking for something to read while waiting for the snow to melt and the crocuses to bloom, I highly recommend Juliet Marillier.

What are you reading this weekend?

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Freebie!

I like to read. A lot.

I stumbled on this FREE e-book on Amazon today. I think I’ll download it for a little Sunday R&R this weekend.

Combines three things I love: books, quilts and FREE!Ā Hard to beat that, eh?

The Fortune Quilt by Lani Diane Rich
“When Tucson Today segment producer Carly McKay visits the quirky artistā€™s community of Bilby, Arizona, to do a story on a psychic quiltmaker, she receives an odd reading… and her life falls apart in eerie harmony with what the quilt foretold. Her best friend professes his undying love; her show gets canceled; and the mother who disappeared seventeen years ago appears on their doorstep, getting instant forgiveness from the entire family… except Carly.

Carly rushes off to Bilby to return the cursed quilt, and then surprises herself; she stays. She rents a cabin, gets a job, and meets an artist who shows her new ways to look at life, and love. Can she run away and start a new life, or should she go back and stitch her old one back together?”

Sunday Morning daydreaming

One of my favourite Sunday morning things is to sit and daydream on the couch for an hour or so before I start my day. I’ve always done it, but now that I think about it,Ā I realize that it has becomeĀ a ritual that I’mĀ nearly religious about!Ā Two cups of coffee or tea, house coat, hair uncombed, teeth unbrushed…I sit and let my mind wander freely. Sometimes I browseĀ creative websites and let my mind roamĀ among theĀ images and words of others as though I were in a museum…admiring, enjoying and then moving on to the next.Ā  IĀ walk throughĀ dream gardens, dance dream dances, build dream housesĀ and decorateĀ dream rooms.

This morning I’ve taken down a handful of quilting books to browse through. Creating beautiful quilts in my mind. Daydreaming ofĀ beautiful fabrics, colours, and patterns.

 

What do you daydream about on Sunday mornings?

My Favourite Quilt: Michael’s “Sky at Night”

I have just discovered something very cool… The Blogger’s Quilt Festival! This is a huge linky party and there are prizes and everything – I am in heaven! I am going to join! It runs from May 18th to June 1st. Check it out!

Amy's Creative Side
The rules say that I have to tell the story of my favourite quilt, and you know me – that won’t beĀ difficult at all!
My favourite quilt is not my best quilt by a long shot. In fact, my favourite quiltĀ happens to beĀ the firstĀ quilt I ever made.
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It has crooked seams and theĀ corners don’t match very well, and that’s just the way I like it. It’s perfect to me because of the story it tells.
045In 1995 when my son was 10 years old, he had a friend whose mother owned a quilt shop. In fact, the quilt shop was attached to her house, and when I would drop Michael off to play at Seb’s house I would go in and browse through the beautiful bolts of fabrics and quilting books. Seb’s mother, Dawn, urged me to sign up for a class and so I signed up to make my very first quilt ever: a fence rail quilt for Michael’s bed.
017I couldn’t believe how involved he got in the making of it. He insisted on going with me to choose the fabric. While I was busy looking for blues and greys and other “boy” fabrics, he was busy picking out his own colours.
007He chose dark navy blue with gold stars, red with black line-drawn jungle animals, gold with black jungle-like veins, a green leaf print, and a stripy black-on-black for the background. The other ladies in the shop that day were very amused and tried to persuade him that the colours would not work together. But he insisted, and so that’s what we purchased.
024When I got into the class with my fabric, I sureĀ got a lot of ribbing from the ladies. However, as the quilt started coming together, everyone admitted that the colours actually DID work very well together. Michael’s quilt ended up being the class favourite with it’s striking and bold colours. Looking back, I don’t think the era of modern quilts had really gotten started the way it is now. I think Michael was ahead of his time. Pretty good for a 10-year-old!
037I remember also being ribbed about my sewing machine. While all the other machines were purring quietly away, my old workhorse sounded like a train clattering over the tracks! Actually, that’s still my sewing machine, and while it would be lovely to have a new one that hums instead of clanks, it has taken me a long way and I feel kind of faithful to it.
When the top was finished, I decided to hand quilt it. I bought a template and hand quilted every single night for months! I have also never wavered from that, either. All of my quilts since then have been either hand quilted or hand tied.
Michael was so impatient for me to finish! I remember him keeping tabs on my progress. I remember how excited he was when it was done.
I remember that he used to come out of his room in the mornings in his PJs with the quilt wrapped around his shoulders.
I remember him eating his cereal with the quilt over his shoulders.
I remember him laying on the quilt and thenĀ rolling himself up in it on the living room floor.
I remember him snuggling in it with a book.
I remember us snuggling up in it together.
It was on his bed every night. Sometimes top-side up and sometimes backing-side up.
Here’s an oldĀ picture I found of it and scanned. My, how bright it was when it was new!
And here is a pictureĀ I found of him in bed with it.Ā It’s topside-down in this picture, so you can see the backing:
When the quilt was finished, Michael named it “Sky at Night” and I embroiderd it onto the corner.Ā Ā That quilt hasĀ had a hard life. After many washings, the navy hasĀ faded to a pale denim colour and the stars are completely gone. I pulled it out of the closet and took some photos this morning.
When he grew up and moved away from home, I tried to send the quilt with him, but he asked me to keep it here for him instead. He was afraid it would get lost or ruined. But he’s grown now, so someday soon I’ll be packing it up and handing it over where it belongs. Meanwhile, it’sĀ  here…holding our memories safe.