Under the Maple Canopy

Singing Union Songs Since 2009

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WIP Wednesday – Plugging Along

The last week or so has been rather busy, but I’ve still managed to continue plugging along on my many projects.  To help keep things straight I’ve decided to tackle this post (and probably future ones) in list form.  Here’s how things stand this week:

Quick Finishes (or the “finish it already!!” group):


  • Shattered – needs quilting and binding
  • fleece quilt (pictured here) – need to finish sewing nine patch blocks, need to finish sewing together rows and then needs some sort of binding to help keep it square-ish – but mostly waiting on inspiration.

In Progress:

IMG_1270Pleated Beauty Bag from “Bend the Rules Sewing” by Amy Karol

This is where the linen went that was supposed to be used to make my own bread bag.  The grey and yellow print is one that I picked up the Saturday after Thanksgiving when it was only $1.99 a yard.  I picked up quite a bit of fabric that day, some of which became skirts for my daughters and some of which is sitting in my stash waiting for me to be inspired.  I’m struggling a bit with the embroidery – mostly because my abilities don’t quite match my desires.  I wanted to try and echo the pattern in the highlight fabric, but my french knots need more practice before that would be a reality.  After muddling around for awhile I finally landed on the scattered stitches on the left which I’m loving to pieces.

IMG_1278embroidery piece for my linen bread bag

Remember the linen bread bag I made my mom?  This was supposed to be the decoration for a matching bag of my very own, but then, of course, purse and here we are – cute little double-decker bus and no linen for the bread bag.

Finished this week:

IMG_1257Indygo Junction Composition Covers pattern x2

I actually complete two of these this week (check out last week’s post to see both sets of fabrics), but I was so focused on getting my mom‘s to her that I didn’t even stop to take a picture.  I am so glad I left the decorative band off the cover for mine.  I didn’t want anything to distract from the fabric.


My favorite part of the cover?  The cotton twill ribbon made to look like a tape measure, of course!  I got mine from BrownBirdMarket over on Etsy.  Now that it’s finished I’m thinking a new pen is in order.  I’m not letting that hold me up, though, as I’ve already begun to fill the first few pages with my project list and a few of my own ideas.  LOVE it!

Time Sensitive/Need to Get Started ASAP:

  • red/gold bunting for Imbloc/Chinese New year (need to purchase fabric)

The Great Big Wish/To Do List:


From “Sewing in No Time” by Emma Hardy:

  • fireplace screen
  • drawstring toy bags
  • fabric covered storage box
  • floor pillows
  • floral pillow with ties

From “Quilt Revival” by Nancy Mahoney:

  • 30’s Shadow Star

From “Oliver+S Little Things to Sew by Liesl Gibson:

  • tutu (x2)
  • reversible bucket hat (x3)
  • travel quilt (?)

From “Handmade Home” by Amanda Blake Soule:

  • beach blanket

From Oliver+S:

From “Little Stitches” by Aneela Hoey:

  • Empire State Building Needle Case
  • Rain, Rain Go Away Hanging Hoop

From “Liberty Book of Home Sewing” by Liberty of London:

  • Sugar Bag Doorstop
  • Toiletry Bag
  • Bean Bag
  • Keepsake Board
  • Lampshade

Seeing Squares (small) from Empty Bobbin

Batik Squares quilt (my own design)


Little Bird

I’m in the middle of a…secret project.  As in I’ll tell you later.  In the meantime, would you like a little glimpse of a little bird inspired by Aneela Hoey’s “Little Stitches?”  Her doodle, my colors and stitch variations.

IMG_1179Welcome to my new addiction hobby.

Oh, and how about some music for today?  This is what’s playing in our house right now:


WIP Wednesday – Practical Projects

I haven’t quilted in the longest time.  I had been trying to get the Sunbonnet Sue wall hanging completed, but then ran out of time before the holiday so she sits waiting for her binding.  Poor girl, I think it’s going to be awhile.  I did complete the snowmen wall hanging this week which had an embarrassingly small amount of binding left to stitch on.  There was a point when the need to finish things hit me that netted that one plus a few partial finishes before it petered out.  What can I say?  Inspiration is a fickle bitch partner.

Lately, instead of quilting, I’ve been working on practical projects that I can not only use every other day, but that I can finish relatively quickly.  Plus, I’ve been stocking up on fabric while things were on sale (and that one place in Fort Atkinson that was going out of business) so that I could make better use of my limited fabric fund.  Emphasis on the limited.  It’s been a great deal easier to sew knowing that I already have fabric to draw on without needing to leave home.

First is a design notebook.  I love my spiral bound quad ruled notebook, but it’s not very pretty.  A quick Google search revealed that you can get quad ruled composition notebooks which meant that this Indygo Junction Composition Covers pattern (on sale at JoAnns) would work perfectly.


I’m adjusting the pattern ever so slightly by eliminating the decorative band across the front.  I really (really, really) love this Michael Miller Eiffel Tower fabric and didn’t want to cover it up with anything.  So, no decorative band on the outside, but there’s still plenty of room for flair on the inside.  What’s not to love about fabric that looks like handwriting paper (Moda’s Bungle Jungle)?  Reader, have I mentioned my love for handwriting paper before?  No?  Let’s just say it’s a borderline obsession in all of its newsprint-y goodness.

When I showed my design notebook and my plans to make a pretty cover to my mom she indicated that she like the idea as well.  I figured if I was making one for myself, a second for someone else was easy peasy.  My mom’s main fabric is some Joel Dewberry Modern Meadow that I picked up from Jeni Baker’s destash.  I love this fabric almost equally as much as I love the Eiffel Tower fabric so you know that I love my mom because I wouldn’t share this with just anyone.  Nope.


I’m using a green print that I picked up at JoAnns (on sale, of course) to use on the inside for the lining and business card/pen pockets.  The bigger question, though is if I should put the decorative band on the outside in the same fabric bordered by some maxi piping or leave it plain.


I have no idea.  On the one hand it’s nice.  On the other hand it does cover up some of the pretty fabric.  Hmmmm…


I finished up the doll dress for Lou’s American Girl doll (a re-gift from my grandmother and purchased at the annual sale locally, I think it might actually be a Pleasant Company doll from before Mattel bought them).  It’s a couple of fabrics from the Lucy’s Crab Shack line and a pattern out of  “Oliver+S Little Things to Sew.”  All this one needs is a couple of snaps to complete it.


And, of course, if I’m going to make one doll dress for Lou, then I need to make another one for Boo.  Boo has two dolls, a My Generation doll from her Nana & Buppa and an American Girl doll from my grandmother (also purchased at the local sale) that she got to match Lou’s. This dress should fit either of her dolls and is also made from some fat quarters of Lucy’s Crab Shack that I picked up at Life’s A Stitch (on sale, of course).  My motto when sewing curves is that you can never use enough pins.


I bought the pattern for this one at a quilt shop in Fort Atkinson that was going out of business.  The pattern plus two Atkinson zippers costs me less than $5.  How’s that for a bargain?  The fabric looks familiar, yes?  I still have some left, if you can believe it, which means I’ve made it stretch quite a bit.  The pattern is mama’s stuff sewing organizer from Sweetwater.  The pattern is easy enough, though not as well documented as I would have liked.  There were plenty of…deficiencies in my construction.  You know, those tiny little mistakes that most folks wouldn’t notice, but that I will always see forever more?   I’m happy to report that post-binding they are barely noticeable.  I may even make a second one for my mom.


The inside with two zipper pockets with vinyl so that you can easily find what you’re looking for.  I thought it would be perfect for those times that I take a project with me to the quilt guild meeting and far more preferable than just putting the thread, needles, and scissors into a bag and hoping for the best.  Notice the button there?  That’s one of those deficiencies.  I’m sort of wishing that I had put it on earlier than the pattern dictates.

IMG_1076This is my (partial) to-do list (well, aside from the one I already have on Pinterest).  So many practical (and not so practical) projects are on the horizon!

From “Sewing in No Time” by Emma Hardy:

  • fireplace screen
  • drawstring toy bags
  • fabric covered storage box
  • floor pillows
  • floral pillow with ties

From “Quilt Revival” by Nancy Mahoney:

  • 30’s Shadow Star

From “Oliver+S Little Things to Sew by Liesl Gibson:

  • tutu (x2)
  • reversible bucket hat (x3)
  • tea party doll dress (x2)
  • travel quilt (?)

From “Handmade Home” by Amanda Blake Soule:

  • beach blanket

From “Bend the Rules Sewing” by Amy Karol:

  • pleated beauty bag

Seeing Squares (small) from Empty Bobbin

Bailey Island Hobo from Aunties Two Patterns (needs handles – drapery grommets?)

From Oliver+S:

This is going to be a fun winter!!


WiP Wednesday – After Thanksgiving Edition

This week will be a short one because I feel kind of…flaky.

The fleece nine-patch is still  on the design wall and still a work in progress, there’s a winter wall hanging that I need to put hanging corners on, and I have my quilts set aside for the modern quilt guild meeting tonight.

Oh, and I also started a mini tree skirt because our tiny tree needs one.  I’m working loosely off a tutorial posted on The Magic Bean.  The main fabric is called Merry Main Street from Alexander Henry Fabrics.  The solids are a mix of things from JoAnn.  I think there’s a Kona in there, but there are also two sparkly solids.

I was trying not to be too matchy, matchy, plan-y, plan-y when I was putting this together which means I went without the design wall because mine was already full.  It wasn’t until I got it most of the way put together that I realized my oops.  Oops!  At this point, I don’t care.  I’m still a little short in the front to back width so I need another two rows of nine patch – one for each end.  I’ve got my fingers crossed for an end of the week finish.

My other project for the week is a birthday gift for my Mom.  Don’t worry, she already knows what she’s getting.  The Boo is incredibly excited that her Nana is going to have a hat just like hers.  She has reminded me of this fact several times a day…just in case I forgot.  The bigger (and slightly more exciting news, at least from my perspective), is that I no longer have to chase balls of yarn around a purple plastic bag.  Dearest Pirouette, why didn’t I buy you sooner?

I may have become a flake this week, but I doubt the others have.  Why not stop by Freshly Pieced and see what the others were up to?


Crafty Wearables

Once the “darf” was finished, Miss M informed me that she needed a “bidder hat” to go with it.  For once I actually purchased more yarn than I needed for a project which just meant that I needed to find a pattern.  When I’ve made hats in the past I’ve always used a Skater Beanie pattern I found for free on Ravelry.  The pattern is simple, but the math behind it means you get the perfect size every single time.  It’s a bit plain, though, and a Miss M’s scarf needed something girly to go with it.

This “Vintage Inspired Scallop Hat” (also from Ravelry) seemed like the perfect fit.  The pattern is really very simple (although you need to be mindful of the final repeat just before the join).  I actually made two hats because I thought the first one was too big.  I finished up the second hat on Thursday last week.  When we were done, Miss M and I made a second trip to the yarn store to pick out the grey for the flower.  For the record, purple and grey is my new favorite color combination.   I think this hat is perfect.  Miss M is adorable wearing it, and were it not for the fact that I really want a pair of fingerless gloves, I think I’d make myself a hat with the opposite color combination (grey with purple).

Two pairs of fingerless gloves of my own design – albeit a very, very simple one.  They’re a bit…square, but warm and that seems to me to be the most important thing.  I could have aimed for a fashion accessory and I did for a brief moment while searching Ravelry.  In the end, functionality and warmth win out.  These were super fast to work up in half-double crochet which ultimately is my favorite stitch for winter wear.  Nowhere near as cute as Miss M’s stuff, though.

Today also marks the 25th day of NaBloWriMo and it seems like the month has passed us by in the blink of an eye.  Can you believe it?  The kids are all off school tomorrow which will be the first time in a long time that we’ve all been off at the same time.  We’re going to be heading off to the apple orchard tomorrow – how about you?


Washing Woolies

When I was at the yarn store the other day, I picked up a bottle of Eucalan woolwash.  I have washed many a wool diaper cover in my day (crocheted by moi, of course), but I have yet to wash any of the kids’ wool outerwear.  Given how prone my children are to getting dirty (read here: very or maybe better stated like magnets), this is not a good thing.  I picked up the grapefruit scented one, but in reading through their website I probably should have gone with either lavender or eucalyptus as both are moth inhibitors.

While washing a couple of sinks of hats and scarves I couldn’t help but hear Mary Thienes-Schunemann’s voice in the back of my head singing “Washin’ Woolies.”  Her soprano voice grates on my nerves like nobody’s business.  I sometimes wonder what I was thinking when I bought “This is the Way We Wash-a-Day” back in my Waldorf-curious phase.  No, really, what was I thinking?

Undershirts and leggings,
Scarves and mittens too,
We’re washin’ all our woolies ’til they look like new.

Aside from a few hats my Mom has made the kids, the only knitted item I’ve made is a scarf for Mr. J from last year (the blue one on the bottom of the above picture).  It was fun to knit, but in looking over both scarves when washing them, I actually prefer the crocheted ones because they seem a great deal sturdier.  I did find a small hole in the knit scarf that was super quick to repair thanks to the tiniest crochet hook I have ever seen.  I have no idea what one uses such a small hook for as it was one of the many things I got from my Grandma’s house recently, but fixing a scarf seems like a perfectly acceptable use.

We’re washin’ woolies,
Wooly woolies.

The purple hat is one of two berry hats my Mom made Miss L not too long ago.  There’s an adorable red one that’s missing in this batch of woolens.  It’s gone missing right along with Miss M’s brand new “darf.”  I don’t know how she lost it so quickly.  In spite of her knack for loosing things, I had sort of figured even she wouldn’t be able to lose something so quickly.  It may not surprise you, but Miss M was also the last person to have the red berry hat in her possession.  I’ve looked for them, but have come up empty.  Who knows where the little booger had them last.

What we really need is the husband.  The man can find anything.  This is a damn good thing seeing as I’d probably lose my head if it wasn’t attached to my body.  Unfortunately, my finder is also working buku hours at the moment.  Hopefully when he’s “off” work he’ll get a chance to call up a search party and go on the hunt for our missing items.

Speaking of lost things…I should start a list…


Done This Week

When we last left my grey and yellow quilt, I was contemplating what to do with it.  Cut it up?  Move forward?  Because, really, what do you do when you spend all that time making something and end up hating it?  I went the cut it up route.  I have made some progress, but have let it sit over the last couple of weeks.  Being an inch deep, mile wide sort of person, this is typical for me.

In the meantime, I had a much more urgent project to get done.  The other week, when we were getting read to go to our Family Dharma class, my youngest, Miss Boo, realized for the first time that she was the only one of the three who did not have a scarf of her own to wear.  In my defense, up until this point she didn’t really need one.  She wasn’t old enough just yet to require such a cold weather accessory.

I promised her that I would make her a “darf” of her very own.  I took her to my favorite yarn store, The Dragonfly Yarn Shop, and let her pick out her own Malabrigo Merino Worsted.  She went with the Kettle Dyed #148, Hollyhock.  Just slightly over one evening later, she was the proud owner of her very own “Gentle Waves” scarf.

I haven’t crocheted since last year around this time, so it felt good to work with a hook and yummy yarn!


Pondering Today

I’ve made each of my children a scarf, except the youngest. Last weekend she became aware of this fact for the very first time. Why hadn’t I made her a “darf” (she’s not quite 3)? Yesterday, we made a trip to the yarn store together, just like I had with my other two, so that she could pick out her yarn.

The lady who owns the yarn store had these really great cat eye glasses, black frames with jewels on the corners which now has me thinking – glasses or contacts?


Monday Mosaic

I’m working my way through a multi-part paper pieced maple leaf, which has required lots of measuring and math on my part.  My printer, though I love it dearly, does not always print lighter colors.  The seam allowances on this pattern are so light I can’t see them which makes for more frustration than I anticipated.  This particular pattern does not include the 1/4″ seam allowance lines which required I put them in.  I got two of the pieces done, but when I first attached A and B together the resulting strip was much too small.  The biggest lesson I’ve learned over the last couple of weeks is that above all I must have enough extra on each side in order to square the block up in the end.  Measuring and figuring multiple times has been key.  Unfortunately, I really do need to get the family fed.

So much for going to the YMCA today.

It’s all working toward a much more complicated set of paper piece projects.  These Sesame Street blocks for a certain tiny blond girl and these Harry Potter blocks for a growing-older-every-day boy.  If I’m successful with any of those (and I’d like to think optimistically) then I’ll also need to figure out something for the brown-eyed girl.  I’m thinking wall quilt for each of them.  Mostly, I’m just hoping they’ll all like any of this by the time next year Christmas rolls around because, let’s face it, I needed to have started all this months ago.

The rest of the day will be filled up with a Harry Potter movie-marathon with the husband while we pretend he doesn’t have to go back to work tomorrow.  It’s the going back to work part that’s always the hardest so shhhhhh…we’re going to pretend that’s not less than a smidge over twelve hours away.


Not Reading

Lately we’ve been spending time not reading, which probably sounds pretty normal for most folks.  A few other folks might think I’m doing my children a disservice by not reading to them for X number of minutes every day.  However, given that the kids and I have read something like 754 pages together (just counting Harry Potter, not all the other reading we have done or that my son has done on his own) since October 28th for roughly 125 pages a week, I think we’re fairly well covered.

That’s not even including the roughly 9000 pages that I’ve read in the last month (not a typo, I read through the entire Harry Potter series twice).  We have, as a family, what I would consider marathon reading sessions.  It is not unusual for the kids to have me read them four or five chapters in one sitting which makes this short break rather nice.

Last night doing something else ended in a small stack of handkerchiefs for the Birthday Boo.  This is one of those super quick and easy projects.  Aside from the brief moment of concentration while I line up the ruler to cut the fabric, it requires zero thought.  Once I get the presser foot on the machine changed and the thread loaded, my mind can wander as I listen to music or get lost in the drone of the machine.  I don’t think you can get much easier than two layers of flannel (especially since I don’t even pre-wash the fabric!).

I also knocked out a few invitations for our Winter Solstice Eve party after a brief flash of inspiration over dinner.  It’s supposed to look like a sun rising over the hills – use your imagination.

No sewing done on this one, but I did iron this small piece of what will one day be the altar cloth for our mantle.  Looking at my fabric choices now, I’m not as thrilled with it as I was when I picked the fabric out a few weeks ago.  I’m hoping to get it made before Spring.

My husband has not been left out in the creativity department.  Thanks to Ana White the kids will have some pretty nifty bedroom furniture complete with much-needed storage space.  These are the pieces to what will soon be my youngest daughter’s bed which will one day soon be joined by the second bed and the corner hutch pictured at the link.  From there he’ll be working on a loft bed for our son followed by a riff on the craft table at Ana White, but with a much larger top and a bracket to hang a roll of paper on to become a much-needed art table for all of us.

I love all of the projects and look forward to their completion, but I think I’m looking forward to the new art table the most.