Friday, 25 March 2016

Keeping it Together

A while back a few of us over at Maritime Modern decided to work together on a long coveted project: The Sew Together Bag, by Sew Demented. This bag has been all over Instagram and blogland for some time and we've all been wanting to tackle it. Together we felt we could overcome our fears, figure it out and have a bit of fun together while doing it...there's strength in numbers, right?

I picked out some scraps and fat quarters that were kicking around, some left over Essex linen, and that super cute yardage from the fall trip to Mrs. Pugsleys in Amherst that had those groovy pigs in sunglasses basking all over it. I diced up a bunch of wee squares and made the patchwork for the outside. I cut and fused all the interior bits, read the pattern thru a couple times just to be sure of the plan and put it all in a Jack Daniels tin, ready to go; the only thing that stood between me and the sew day with my peeps was a chunk of time and four zippers. It was when I went to get the zippers that my plan got derailed. That was the evening I got "the call". Things had gone to hell in a hand basket at home in Newfoundland and I left the next morning. The girls made their bags as planned and my Jack tin sat holding all those poor piggies captive, waiting for my return.

The day I came back I was absolutely numb and in need of a mindless, small sewing project...something to occupy my mind and keep me awake. Gander to Halifax has the worst flight schedule possible and a 5am flight translates to a 3am wake up call. Why I felt that this was the right day to tackle this bag is beyond me...clearly my mind was not functioning at all. But, despite my brains finest attempts to shut down entirely I managed to get the interior of the bag with all the zippered pockets sewn up that afternoon. 

Sometime later I tackled the final assembly with all the layers and binding. The sewing was not difficult, the pattern is well written, it's just that all those layers make a lot of bulk in the seams. Bulky seams as we all know are notoriously difficult to sew. Holy Mother of Skipped Stitches. Using a jig behind and in front of the needle to level the pressure foot helped immensely, and having the right needle on board was a given. I got the binding sewn on fairly well, but decided that hand stitching the bindings down would be just as quick in the long run, so that's what I did. That last binding that puts the long zipper in place was easy real bulk to contend with.

I think when I make the next one I will plan to reduce the bulk: not use Essex Linen, choose thinner batting for the exterior and I might cut the fusible interfacing a bit smaller so that it won't catch in the seam allowances. That will help those pesky side seams sew up more easily. I might even get really crazy and not interface the side panels at all...who knows?!?

During the difficult time in Newfoundland I managed to escape for a few hours with my sister, both of us desperate for a bit of wide open space and some salt air. We drove out to Greenspond, one of Newfoundlands oldest inhabited fishing outports. Our father loved this place! I have no real reason for telling you all this except that I wanted to share the pictures...such a beautiful place to be on this earth. 

Is this not the cutest Post Office ever? 

Every storm requires an anchor.

Monday, 21 March 2016

Saturdays With Daisy

Sunny Saturday...what better day to take to the open road for a little Jeep therapy. You know the sort of therapy I speak of, right? You put yourself in your vehicle with a big cuppa brown holy water to go, a mitt of cash for those yummy lil provisions found along the way, all your favourite tunes loaded on your ipod ready for the blasting sound you'll sing along with and you head out to wherever a full tank of gas might take plan, no real destination; just drive.

Just Drive.

I have been craving a day like this. A day with only myself. A day to free myself; to run away. To process. To see. To wander. To cry.

I had a great day with Daisy, that's my Jeep, and let me tell ya: she's one trusty girlfriend. We tucked in tightly behind a convoy of muddy Jeeps and tagged along as long as we could, wishing silently we could venture to trails unknown with them. But, a "city Jeep" like Daisy isn't ready for a day of mud just yet...she needs to be toughened up a we tooted, flipped the jeepers sign to the nation and flew on past when they pulled off. I'm pretty sure I heard her whisper "Let's find the ocean" on a break between Johnny Cash songs, so I set my sights on The Bay of Fundy.

Many years ago Mr. PurpleBoots took me to Halls Harbour. A magical little village where the 20 foot Fundy tides leave the boats sitting high and dry; the shoreline is stunning. It's a totally different shoreline than the granite one outside my door. A twisty road that seems to drop off into an abyss as you descend around that last sharp corner where you see "it": that spot that drops your jaw no matter how many times you've seen it before. That tiny little harbour. So. Freaking. Beautiful.

And the beach.

Tetley, my first springy thing, loved it here. A garden of rocks just for her delight. She adored rocks, and in fact, died at age 13 with hardly a tooth in her wee head from chewing and dragging them around for all her years.

The day was sunny and bright but the cold wind howled so my time on the beach was limited...stupid Reynauds Disease. My hands lost circulation in no time flat even in their heavy mitts. I did though drag up a few nice pieces of driftwood, found one piece of seaglass, fell without injuring myself too badly and heard the symphony of melting icicles echo in the wee cave. (um...MAGICAL!!...just sayin')

Daisy clearly had great plans for my therapy. A trip to my favourite bakery yielded the days provisions and treats for my boys at home, a quick pop in to my besties home near Kentville got me a refill of hot water in my Davids tea mug, a pee break and a much needed hug, and of course there was a not-so-quick stop guessed it...Avonport Discount Fabrics.

I know, I know. Try not to wet your pants. I'm still shocked too. I picked up the fabrics for that commissioned T-shirt quilt I've been avoiding and some much needed machine needles. Sensible choices, right?

Um...but then there were all those nice bolts of Kona and I needed some of those in staple shades so I grabbed 4 cuts. And somehow a stack of bolts wound up on my cart that mistakenly got placed on the cutting table and BAM! Before I knew it I had a stack of delicious lil fat quarters handed to me.

Oh well.
Therapy comes in all forms.

People, I have had one helluva month! I stood beside my father who was ravaged with cancer while he died and buried him. I came home "unable to breathe" and barely functioning yet jumped straight back into my work with 12 hour days in a desperate attempt to get caught up. I was absolutely blindsided when I had to unexpectedly bury my uncle/godfather who lived next door to me just one short week later. I have been fretting over Not-So-Little PurpleBoots and his rotting big toe (ugh). Sleep is difficult; concentration harder still. Grief comes like roque waves...out of nowhere and larger than life when it breaks.

So..."F*CK the Stashpocalypse!"

Lucky it was only fat quarters.
Could've been crack.

Saturday, 12 March 2016

Wanna Know A Secret?

Saw this magazine cover on the news stand the other day...

It piqued my interest, but more, it made me giggle...out loud! You see, I am finally allowed to share my secret with you guys...

Back in December of 2014, Christmas Day to be exact, I got an exciting email from Julie Sefton of Tennessee who blogs over at Me & My Quilts- Exploring The Possibilities. She invited me to be part of something BIG!

Julie had made an award winning quilt called SEE ROCK CITY, an original, free pieced quilt made up of several barns. Perhaps you've seen it? It's awesome! Anyway, she was in the middle of writing a book that would teach folks how to build their own free pieced barns and needed a group of people to test her process AND to build her some barns for the books gallery. I was honoured to learn that friend Lynne over at The Patchery Menagerie, who is great friends with Julie, had tossed my name into the ring of potential free piecers referred to as the SSOBB, or "The Secret Society of Barn Builders".

I know the SSOBB is not as famous as The Knights Templar or the Freemasons but when I got that email I jumped at the chance to join! I loves me a good challenge ya know!! I'm not certain if the bigger challenge though was in the creation of my barns or in keeping this a secret for so long!

Did you happen to notice the SSOBB badge over on the right side of my blog appear the other week?

The book is being printed by AQS as we speak and is set to launch mid April, so we're finally allowed to share the news! Go ahead, check us out and read more about what we've been working on. There are 15 charter members in all and most of us are bloggers. We'll be having a blog hop soon to spread the news and share our work. This has been such an exciting project for all of us.

I can't wait for my turn to come to show you what I contributed...but more, I can't wait to get my paws on a copy of this book!

Thursday, 3 March 2016

Just Breathe

If I were to tell you that the air I breathe has changed, would you believe me?

Would you understand?

It happened once before, more than 20 years ago when my Dad died suddenly as the result of a motor vehicle wreck. I remember the moment like it was yesterday, a switch flipped somewhere in the universe and suddenly I was suffocating; drowning on dry land.

It happened again last week when my Father gave up his long, brave fight against cancer. I could feel the shift coming; the air worsening with each hour, and then each minute. Eventually, as his hand started to cool in mine, I knew the transformation was complete: the airs chemistry had changed dramatically.

There is no denying the change, you'll recognize the very moment when suddenly you cannot breathe as you did just seconds before. This strange new air is foreign to your body, your lungs don't quite know how to receive it and therefore your whole being is troubled by its strange presence there. Sure, your body remembers how to breathe in a physical sense, but the air simply doesn't seem capable of doing for your soul what it needs to do. This new air hurts upon its entry to your lungs, it stings and shreds every fibre of your heart and soul; it is heavy and toxic.

Moving, thinking, feeling, sleeping...all your processes become inhibited by an air that envelopes you like a fog, making the most natural of tasks seem daunting and impossible. It takes time to learn how to breathe again... for your body and soul to learn how to function with this new air.