Tag Archives: canada

Getting Outside

 

As I mentioned earlier, we’ve had a cazy beautiful spring here in Calgary and that means we’ve been outside. A lot.  A couple of weekends ago Travis’ sister came up for a few days and we spent every day outside.  One of those days included a trip to Banff Alberta and a hike up Johnston’s Canyon.

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Some of the falls at Johnston’s Canyon.

IMG_0811Johnston’s Canyon is one of my favorite places.  Both because it’s so beautiful and also because it’s where Travis proposed to me 11 years ago now.  We’ve been back several times but this time was extra great because the kids are all at a great age for hiking now. The older three had no problems keeping up and the youngest one hung out in the backpack carrier.

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Her stamina never ceases to surprise me. She hiked a solid couple of hours with nothing but a grin the whole time.

IMG_0798 I grew up in the mountains of northern British Columbia so I get a bit nostalgic whenever we head to the mountains for a while.

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Squirrel friend.

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Garden – Spring 2015

We have had an incredible spring so far in Calgary.  Warm days, lots of sun, and a fair amount of green already. I have no complaints.  Our fruit trees are budding early, some are even flowering!  The rhubarb is up, raspberries are leafing out, and our cold frames are full of various leafy greens.  There’s a mighty big chance we’ll get another bought of cold weather but I’m crossing my fingers for a steadily warmer spring.

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Nanking Cherry Flowering.

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Plum Tree budding out.

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Haskap’s flowering.

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Rhubarb, I can almost taste the crisp I’ll make in a couple of weeks!

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Raspberry canes beside the house our leafing out thanks to the warmer soil.

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More Haskap flowers. The various bees have been loving these early flowering bushes.

Doodle Stitching

I was recently given a book called Doodle Stitching by Aimee Ray.  It’s a book full of embroidery patterns from easy to elaborate, with basic stitching instructions included.  All the patterns are on transfer paper which makes it really easy.

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The second I pulled the book out of the box, Kaed, my eight year old asked if he could embroider one of the designs.  He ended up doing two which he later turned into a lavender sachet and a small heat bag filled with flax seed.

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My favorite part about this book is how easy it is.  If my eight year old can do it with very little help, I’m happy.  We have plans to get a few new patterns prepped and into hoops for him for our next road trip.  I also love that it’s got designs that are a mixture of easy and hard.  I’ve already picked out which design I’m going to do if I ever finish the cross-stitch I started well over a year ago!

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Sourcing Fabric

IMG_9248The question I get asked the most when I’m selling at craft sales, and when people hear I sew is “Where do you buy your fabric?”.  You’d think, living in a large city would mean lots of really great, affordable fabric stores but unfortunately that’s not case.  I’ve heard good things about a couple of smaller quilt shops in Calgary but non of them are near the area of the city I live in and lets be honest, I don’t really want to take kids to the fabric store regardless of how near, or far it is.

This means that I buy about 90% of my fabrics online.  The only big exception to that are the solid fleece fabrics I use on my Baby Booties which I buy at Fabricland.  So far they seem to carry the best quality of solid fleece fabrics that I’ve found anywhere.

So where do I buy my fabric?

Fabric.com:

I would guess that around 70% of the fabrics I buy are from fabric.com  I kind of have a love hate relationship with fabric.com but it’s the most convenient place for me to source supplies.  It’s a give and take.  The pros fall in the line of most affordable, largest selection, and fairly quick delivery time.  Note that I said delivery time, not shipping time.  Fabric.com is horrendous for shipping your order quickly.  It used to be better, but in the last year I’ve found that it’s a solid week to ten days from when I order to when it’s shipped.  Thankfully once it has shipped it’s usually at my door by late afternoon.

Another pro to fabric.com is that they tend to carry a fabric print for a lot longer than most places.  That means that when I make a bag, dress, or pair of booties that sell really well I can be fairly confident that I’ll be able to keep that item stocked for a long time.  I also love that they carry a wide selection of notions and patterns so I can get the majority of my supplies delivered to my door.  Another bonus is their large selection of organic cotton, which can be next to impossible to find at our local big fabric chain, Fabricland.

Customer service at fabric.com can be either really good, or really bad.  I’ve had excellent service when I received a wrong item, and I’ve had terrible service more than once in regards to items being out of stock that I had ordered.  All in all I’d say they do not have reliably good customer services, but they do have their moments.

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A.L. Francis Designs

All my waxed canvas comes from A.L. Francis Designs on Etsy.  The quality is fantastic, prices are really good, and I’ve been more than happy with shipping times and customer service.

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Etsy.com

When I’m looking for something a little more unique I browse Etsy for fabric shops.  There’s a great mix of small fabric shops, and gorgeous hand printed fabrics available so it’s usually where I go to splurge on something really nice.

Spoonflower:

I haven’t ordered through Spoonflower very often, but when I have I’ve been very happy.  My favorite part is that when I’m ordereing fabric I’m also supporting an independent fabric designer and that always makes me happy.  I very recently purchased some fabric from a Calgary local designer, Tara Put and I look forward to turning her gorgeous designs into a bag.

Thrift Stores:

Thrift stores are a fabulous place to buy fabric.  Sometimes you’re not successful in finding usable, great fabrics, but when you do it’s so worth it.  The prices can’t be beat, and you can feel good about using fabric that might otherwise have been thrown out.

 

Of course with finding great fabric shops, you also sometimes don’t have the best experiences either.  Here’s are some thoughts on places I most likely won’t buy from again.

Girl Charlee Fabrics:

I’ve been continually disappointed with the quality of the knits I’ve ordered from Girl Charlee.  Often the fabric fades and pills quite quickly.  Aside from that, I have ordered from them a lot in the past.  I was a big fan of their bargain lot sales as the prices were unbeatable, and the slightly flawed bundles were great for using to sew either a new pattern or clothes for the kids.  A few months ago however, they stopped shipping the bargain lots outside of the USA.  That kind of rubbed me the wrong way so I really can’t see myself purchasing from them again.

Where do you purchase your fabrics?  Do you have any amazing shops to add to my compiled list?

 

 

 

Saskatchewan Duck and Goose Hunt 2014

IMG_8856This year we had yet another great hunting trip in Saskatchewan.  We had fantastic weather, good company, and good hunting.  This year was especially great because I actually managed to get a few hunts in.  There are definitely some perks to not having any more babies breastfeeding or on the way!

IMG_8849I even managed to bag a few birds!  This was my second goose and first snow so I was pretty stoked.

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I’ve always thoroughly enjoyed the bush aspect of big game hunting but I can’t say I complained about sitting in one place, watching the sun rise or set, with my coffee mug and camera.  Watching the massive flocks of geese fly overhead was just as amazing as actually putting a few of them in the freezer.

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We also did a bunch of duck hunting.  Duck hunting was a lot of fun with the kids.  They loved to run and get the ducks once it was safe.

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Since we’ve been home we’ve had several requests to skip school and go duck hunting instead.  I think one of these days we’ll just have to do it.

IMG_8619 IMG_8713 IMG_8754IMG_8755We turned nearly all those ducks and geese into sausage.  It’s fantastic.

 

Calgary’s Made in Canada Day Vendor List!

Ready to find out who all the Vendors will be at the Calgary Made in Canada Day?  The full list is below with links to each Vendors shop on Etsy so you can check them out in advance!  Additionally you can click on each photo to get to the coordinating Etsy shop.

 MIC beckywarren  bubblegumsass chikaando cosmikgoo craftedbylindy creationzbycatherine  follyatet glimpseglass gregoireprint harmonygrace hekkalandhyde  jenneafriskecuriouscatvintage jewelnotes joyoflittle kiwitini knitatude logeephotography lovespurelight magpiequilts mammothbeard medicineriversoap natureofcraftythings oldwolfs pictorialromance quadrophoic quirefy RainyGator handmadetherapykidssidonieyang sleepyhollowleather thebleacedtee tickledcherub tinged tribessoceity twistedlinks urbanglassglowart  weethingmee handmadetherapy

Logee Photography https://www.etsy.com/shop/LogeePhotography
Handmade Therapy http://www.etsy.com/shop/handmadetherapy , https://www.etsy.com/shop/handmadetherapykids
Tinged https://www.etsy.com/shop/tinged
Maple and Oak Designs https://www.etsy.com/shop/MapleAndOakDesigns
Crafted by Lindy https://www.etsy.com/shop/craftedbylindy
Quirefly quirefly.etsy.com
Jennea Frischke Jewelry https://www.etsy.com/uk/shop/JenneaFrischke
Twisted Links Jewelry https://www.etsy.com/ca/shop/twistedlinksjewelry
Salt Water Tea www.saltwatertea.etsy.com
Bubblegum Sass https://www.etsy.com/shop/BubblegumSass
Harmony Grace Designs https://www.etsy.com/ca/shop/HarmonyGraceDesigns
Sleepy Holow Leather http://www.etsy.com/shop/SleepyHolowLeather
Sidonie Yang https://sidonieyang.etsy.com/shop/
Folly a Tet https://www.etsy.com/ca/shop/FollyaTet
Hekkal and Hyde hekkalandhyde.etsy.com
Magpie Quilts https://www.etsy.com/shop/MagpieQuilts
Glimpse Glass glimpseglass.etsy.com
Urban Glow Art Glass https://www.etsy.com/ca/shop/UrbanGlowArtGlass
Gregoire Photography https://www.etsy.com/ca/shop/gregoireprint
Quadrophonic Image https://www.etsy.com/shop/QuadroImage
Knitatude https://www.etsy.com/shop/Knitatude
Wee Thing Mee https://www.etsy.com/ca/shop/WeeThingMee
Bashful Belles https://www.etsy.com/shop/BashfulBelles
Cosmikgoo https://www.etsy.com/shop/Cosmikgoo
Chika Ando https://www.etsy.com/ca/shop/ChikaAndo
Kiwi Tini Creations https://www.etsy.com/ca/shop/KiwiTiniCreations
Pictorial Romance etsy.com/shop/pictorialromance
Becky Warren Design www.etsy.com/shop/BeckyWarrenDesign
Curious Cat Vintage www.etsy.com/shop/curiouscatvintage
Joy of Little Creations www.JoyofLittleCreations.etsy.com
The Tickled Cherub https://www.etsy.com/shop/TheTickledCherub
Medicine River Soap Co. https://www.etsy.com/shop/MedicineRiverSoapCo
Loves Pure Light https://www.etsy.com/shop/LOVESPURELIGHT
The Bleached Tee www.etsy.com/ca/shop/TheBleachedTee
Mammoth Beard Co. https://www.etsy.com/ca/shop/MammothBeardCo?ref=si_shop
Old Wolfs Wood Shop https://www.etsy.com/shop/OldWolfsWoodShop
Creationz by Catherine www.CreationzbyCatherine.etsy.comhttp://www.Creationzmini.etsy.com
Nature of Crafty Things https://www.etsy.com/ca/shop/natureofcraftythings
Rainy Gator www.rainygator.etsy.com
Jewel Notes https://www.etsy.com/ca/shop/jewelnotes
Tribes Society www.tribessociety.etsy.com

As you can see it’s a pretty amazing Vendor Lineup!  We can’t wait to see you there!  Don’t forget that the first 50 shoppers through the Made In Canada doors at Symons Valley Ranch receive a Swag Bag full of amazing swag from all the Vendors!  Doors open at 10am!

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Princess Dress

IMG_8451A couple of weeks ago I was browsing sewing patterns online when my daughter saw one for a princess dress.  You have to know my daughter to realize that she’s not a big girly girl and has never been into big fancy dresses but something about this one caught her eye.  She immediately asked if I could sew her a Princess Sofia the First dress.

IMG_8443So we ordered the pattern and then went online some more to pick out fabric.  She chose all the fabrics, trim, lace, and buttons herself and then patiently waited the week it took for it all to arrive.

IMG_8459 IMG_8454The pattern is the Candy Castle Princess Dress by Candy Castle Patterns.  I was a little bit leery of sewing such an involved dress but the pattern was so well done I had nothing to worry about.  There wasn’t a single step I was confused on and despite the detail the dress actually came together fairly quickly.

IMG_8436Both the white and the purple fabric are from the Michael Miller Fairy Frost Collection.  I’ve never been a fan of sewing with anything but knits or pure cotton when it comes to dresses so this fabric was perfect for me.  It’s got a pretty princess sparkle but it’s still cotton.  Win win.

IMG_8439I had to wait several days before she’d let me photograph her in it but I’m not complaining because that just proved to me it was worth all the work.  She wore it non stop for the first four days she had it!

I’m not in any hurry to sew another princess dress anytime soon but if I do, I can certainly see myself coming back to this pattern and fabric.

 

The Satchel Bag

Satchel Bag

This Spring’s Sew Fab Sale includes my own pattern, The Satchel Bag!  The Satchel Bag is one of my best selling patterns.  It’s an easy pattern, no zippers, no fancy stitching, and it has a nice simple look that can be changed up easily with different fabrics.

Satchel Bag

I love a good canvas bag, which is pretty obvious by my choices in fabrics.  A nice organic cotton canvas is actually pretty easy to find, which makes me love using it even more.

Satchel Bag

Satchel Bag
HT 008 Satchel Bag

I get most of my organic cotton canvas from Fabric.com and all my purse hardware from a great shop called Tantalizing Stitches.

Today is your last chance to purchase The Satchel Bag through the Sew Fab Bundle!  The sale ends tonight!

Read more about the Sew Fab Bundle below!

For one week only, you can have nineteen patterns (plus a fun bonus pattern), chosen specifically for this sale, for only $29.95!  That’s over 80% off the retail value of the bundle!  Plus you can enter to win one of two amazing sewing themed giveaways!

For less than $30 you get a library of sewing resources that you can use over and over again.

Buy It Now

If you’ve never sewn with a PDF pattern before, let me tell you how great it is!  After downloading your pattern, you will print out the pattern itself, creating pattern tiles, if you will.  Simply tape the tiles together to create the full pattern!  At that point you can cut out the size that you need and pin the paper pattern directly to your fabric, or you can trace the pattern size that you need onto sewing paper or tracing paper and cut it out, saving the paper pattern for later when you need to sew another size.  PDF patterns are so convenient because you can print them out as many times as you need!

Now for the part you’ve been waiting for… the patterns!

A collection of 19 PDF Patterns from 19 well-known and up and coming designers are instantly accessible to you by PDF download upon purchase of the Sew Fab Pattern Bundle.  Imagine all of the combinations that you can put together with this bundle of patterns, with many transitioning to fall and winter as well!  Here are the patterns that you will receive (click on the links below the collage for more  information about each pattern.):

Sew Fab Spring 2014 collage

The Laurel Dress or Tunic by Greenstyle Creations, The Satchel Bag by Handmade Therapy, The Lexi Knit Dress and Top by MODKID, The Piko Top by EYMM, The Bowling Shirt from Scientific Seamstress (unisex), The Seraphic Pant by Figgy’s (unisex), The Tulip Pinafore by Too Sweets Patterns, The Big Tote Bag by Things for Boys, The Doll and Carrier by Patchwork Posse, Poppy and Pip Penguins by Betz White, Leather Accent Foldover Pouch by LBG Studio, The Norah Dress and Tunic by Mouse House Creations, Crayon Art Folio by Gingercake, The Tennis Skort (12M-12Y) by Heidi & Finn, The Ruffled Bustle Top by Sumo’s Sweet Stuff, Long Beach Board Shorts (unisex) by Terra’s Treasures, The Cupcake Top (unisex) by Sewing Mama RaeAnna, The Saffron Twirl Dress from Paisley Roots Designs, The Sweet Tea Shorties by Molly Blossom Designs.

New this year is the Sew Fab Pattern Tour!  Some of our favorite sewing bloggers will be sharing their versions of the Sew Fab patterns on their blogs this week, so be sure to check in with them throughout the week of the sale to see how versatile these patterns are!  Here are the stops on the pattern tour…

Sew Fab Pattern Tour Graphic

This Sew Fab Pattern Bundle is only available for one week and will never be available again!  You can purchase the bundle from May 5th at 8 a.m. EST through May 13th at 11:59 p.m. EST and there will be no late sales offered.  Due to the nature of the sale there are no refunds. The pattern bundle expires six months from the end of the sale, so please download and save your patterns upon receiving them.

You don’t want to miss this unique opportunity to purchase a ready made collection of 20 PDF sewing patterns from 19 of the best designers out there!

Buy It Now

This post contains affiliate links.  When you purchase the Sew Fab Bundle through those links I earn a percentage of the sale.  Thank you so much for supporting the Sew Fab Sale!  We all appreciate your business!

 

Upcycling: Sewing a Child’s Shirt from an Adult’s Shirt

Cupcake TopA while back I grabbed some t-shirts from Michaels at a steal of a deal of $1.50 a piece.  I bought them for my husband but when I took them home he didn’t like the color so I put them aside to use in another project.

Cupcake TopToday I cut up two of them and stitched them back into some shirts for two of my boys.  I used the Cupcake Top Pattern from Sewing Mama Raeanna and altered it a bit.  I shortened the sleeves and lengthened the whole shirt.  My kids are all tall and skinny so as a general rule I have to lengthen every shirt I make.

Cupcake TopI was really impressed with this sewing pattern.  I found it one of the easiest pdf patterns to cut out and tape together, and the sew was really quick.  There are a ton of variations on this shirt, pockets, ruffles, you name it.  I have sewn a lot of different knit shirt patterns and this might just be my favorite.  It was so easy to follow and so clear!

I used the finished edges of the shirts I cut up so I didn’t have to hem anything.  I think each shirt took me maybe 20 minutes to sew.

IMG_6599 IMG_6594 cupcake topThe Cupcake Top Pattern is part of the Sew Fab Sale and is available for just a few more days.  You can read more about all the patterns included here.

Long Beach Shorts

Long Beach ShortsA couple of weeks ago I pulled out my older boys’ summer clothes only to realize that ninety percent of their shorts are now too small.  Thankfully shorts are a really quick and easy sew and the Long Beach Shorts from Terra’s Treasures are no exception.

Long Beach Shorts Long Beach ShortsI love the flat front of these and the piping on the back is a really great detail.  Brayer loves them and Kaed is patiently waiting for a pair for himself.

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I used some fabric I picked up years ago, literally.  I had always planned to make shorts out of it but never got around to it.  When I saw the Long Beach Shorts pattern I knew it was time to cut into it.IMG_6360 IMG_6356 Long Beach ShortsThe Long Beach Shorts are a part of the Sew Fab Pattern Bundle. You can purchase yours here!

This post contains affiliate links.  When you purchase the Sew Fab Bundle through those links I earn a percentage of the sale.  Thank you so much for supporting the Sew Fab Sale!  We all appreciate your business!