Saturday, August 23, 2014

Have You Met....Mireio?

It's been the usual insanity around here but more on that later.  Right now, I need a mental respite and a touch of something pretty.  Maybe you can, too.

I've been meaning to share one of my favourite online spots for ages. I head there often for eye candy and finding a little treat...

Mireio is one of my happy places. It's the creation of my lovely friend, Wende (with whom I would probably have coffee near weekly if we weren't separated by a border crossing and many kilometres and depending on the season, 1 or 2 time zones.)

 I'm a sucker for buttons. And eye pillows. 

Her photography is soft and bright. I keep telling her she needs to do a calendar.  You should see the shots she uses on her blog.  They have such a warmth to them - if there were a brick and mortar version of the shop, you have a perfect image in your mind of what that shop would be like, and know exactly why you'd want to spend time pouring over every item.

And she has such beautiful things...

...that smell so nice.  I have her sachets in all my drawers, especially with the frillies.  Every day is better with lightly-scented frillies.  Have I mentioned my love of lavender?

I asked her if I could tell people about her shop and she graciously allowed me to not only use her gorgeous photos but even came up with a coupon!  At checkout, enter CITRICSUGAR for 20% off all the pretty things until the end of September.

If you want to get a jump on holiday shopping while supporting independent & handmade, the timing is perfect!  (And yes, I've started. I am one of those people.  If it makes you feel better, I don't tend to finish until mid-December but I usually start early.)

Anyway, while you're waiting for me to get a blogpost together, I hope you swing by Mireio and check it all the goodies Wende's got waiting for you!

Please note:  This is NOT a sponsored post. I don't do sponsored posts.  I will only ever promote businesses and products that I personally use or for which I am a customer, because that's what friends do.  We share the word about good stuff!

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Modern Borders = Placemats

First - thanks for all the support with the bag story!  Yes, the stains mostly came out. It was pointed out to me that I kinda skipped that part. Oops!  Also, I've had quite a few no-reply commenters lately so if you didn't get a response from me directly, that is why.  I WANTED to reply to you....  Why won't all these blogging platforms play nicely together? Sheesh.

In the busy-ness of my life, I am finding time to keep up with challenges. It's become a point of pride with me to not have missed a single challenge at SaskatoonMQG.  The one due at the end of July?  Make a modern border.

How do you do that?  And who came up with this cockamamie challenge anyway? (Me. It was me.)

Fine.  I'm making a piece that is ALL borders.  That's right just one border after another.  And then I'm going to cut it up so the borders don't even go all the way around. Yeah.  Take that, challenge-comer-upper-with! (Again, me.)

I started with some shots and chambray.  Feels so luxurious in the hand. If only the shimmer of both showed up in photos...Threw in some Tsuru for good measure.

Once I had it pieced, I used the leftover shots on the back, and then grid quilted the thing to death.  That took some time.  I echoed the borders a bit with the thread colours.

Then I got out the rotary cutter. At this point, my great idea seemed a little nuts. I held my breath,  began my meditation (It's only fabric, only fabric, only fabric....ohmmmmm...) and cut away.

Now onto the binding!  It was important to me that the borders not be broken even though I'd mercilessly cut them to shreds moments before.  So, I pieced together the bindings from the leftover border pieces.  I made a separate strip for each side of each piece (what???)  I'm not so good at calculating the exact amount of fabric taken up in a binding corner so I sewed the long strips and used Linda's binding method with the mitred corners.  It's probably the best way to do a matched binding. Linda rocks.

How did I keep it matched all the way down? Good question! Three things.
1) I moved my needle one more notch to the right to account for "quilt shrinkage" - think exact 1/4" instead of scant.  On a larger piece, you'd have to measure the finished width of each chunk but this was small enough I could fudge it with my non-scant seam allowance.

2) After piecing and pressing my bindings, I ran a basting stitch 1/8"(ish) from the edge down each to secure the top and bottom together.

3) Glue. Lots and lots of glue. Wonderclips. Hot iron to set.

Once the corners were mitred, I knew there was no way I was going to be able to hand-finish these bindings with the uber-dense quilting.  Machine-binding and I have not gotten along in the past; I've always thought it turned out messy and ugly, and way less satisfying.

Solution?  More glue!  I burned through about half a Sew-line glue pen on this project but it was so worth it.  Altogether, the bindings took less time than the quilting, even if you allow for re-reading the mitre tutorial twice to remember what I did the last time. They look like more work than they were.

And there you go - placemats!  Challenge conquered.  Next challenge?  Trying to photograph the clothing-making rampage I've gone on this summer... :-)