Our Lives and Loves

2013 Crafting in Review

January 2nd, 2014 Posted in art, Crafts, Paper Crafting, Quilting | No Comments »

It’s 2014 and a brand new year!

I have a crafting/making resolution to make one new project again per month for the year.
I hope you join me for the ride. Let me know what you’re creating. Let’s spur each other on.

Last year I turned 40 and I told myself that I would push myself to spend more time making because I absolutely love the process of creating a project from conception to completion. As a stay-at-home, home-educating mom of four I don’t always find the time to make time-consuming projects for myself. So I began posting these projects as a way of accountability to myself. Looking back over the year I am quite pleased with the results. Here’s to another year of making in 2014!

January 2013

Mini Ohio Star mini quilt by Diana Scholtens 2013 (12"x12")

Mini Ohio Star mini quilt by Diana Scholtens 2013 (12″x12″)

February 2013

Mini Square in a Square paper piecing

Mini Square in a Square paper piecing

March 2013

Half Triangle Table Runner

Half Triangle Table Runner

April 2013

Lorraine Roy workshop

Lorraine Roy workshop

May 2013

Tying up loose ends for the school year; house de-cluttering and reorganizing. Prep for the next school year, chose and ordered books for September.

June 2013

Quilted Toy Cubes

Quilted Toy Cubes

July 2013

T-shirt Remake

T-shirt Remake

August 2013

Safari Scrap Crib Quilt

Safari Scrap Crib Quilt

September 2013

Laundry Experiment

Laundry Experiment

October 2013

Hexagon Art Quilt Begun

Hexagon Art Quilt Begun

November 2013

Crocheted Infinity Wrap

Crocheted Infinity Wrap

December 2013

Original Print Christmas Card

Original Print Christmas Card

10/12 or a 83% success rate, not bad. There’s always room for improvement. :)

Cheers!
Diana

 

From Infinity and Beyond

January 2nd, 2014 Posted in Crafts | No Comments »

My kids love that expression. LOL

I am a super amateur crocheter but I made one infinity scarf for myself and one very long pinkalicious scarf for my 8 year-old daughter this past November (I’m just posting it a tad late). I used the same pattern for both projects. I love wearing my purple neck warmer around the house. It’s light in weight but bulky in texture.

The pattern is from my Maran Illustrated Knitting and Crocheting go-to book. It’s super simple.

Crocheted Infinity Wrap

Crocheted Infinity Wrap

This pink yarn was really finicky to work with but a very determined little girl kept up with the encouragement and compliments so row after row we went. It’s super light weight and fluffy and pink. Just what my daughter ordered.

Crocheted Pinkalicious Long Scarf

Crocheted Pinkalicious Long Scarf

Enjoy!
Diana

 

Hexagon Quilt: Under Construction

November 2nd, 2013 Posted in art, Crafts, Earthkeeping, Quilting | 3 Comments »

I’m making hexagons again (previous hexagon quilt). Actually I’m making a hexagonal quilt out of 91 hexagons. I can’t show you the finished piece until March 2014 but the hexagons are piling up and the quilt is coming together.

A sewing project almost always begins with some beautiful fabric.

A sewing project almost always begins with some beautiful fabric.

 

90 hexagons ready for their fitting into the final project (one more to go)

90 hexagons ready for their fitting into the final project (one more to go)

The project represents a property that A Rocha Hamilton  is stewarding along-side the current owners. It’s a beautiful 95 acre farm with gorgeous views and is worth saving.  (A Rocha is a not-for-profit conservation organization my husband and I have been a part of since 1998.)  One of the property’s valuable assets is that it contains a piece of the Beverly Swamp, one of the best and largest forested wetland representations in southcentral Ontario.

So to get the word out about both what A Rocha is doing here in Hamilton, as well as to celebrate the caring for land that has been entrusted to us I’ve put together an art exhibition focused on this property. Our proposal for the exhibition was accepted by the Carnegie Art Gallery in Dundas, ON  for March 2014. I’m so thrilled! I’m working with 9 other local artists whose work shows their love and concern for the preservation and conservation of southern Ontario’s land-use spaces and the ecosystems they develop and protect.

More about the exhibit in posts to come!

Here are the beginnings of my fabric art piece.

Thread painted lilies.

Thread painted lilies.

 

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Thread painted perched birds.

Enjoy!

Diana

 

Chosing Homeward Bound

November 1st, 2013 Posted in Family, Introspection | No Comments »

I had a ‘light bulb’ moment recently while reading a book called “Homeward Bound: Why Women Are Embracing the New Domesticity” by Emily Matchar. I realized that I appear to have taken up a lifestyle many women younger than I are embracing as the new feminist rebellion against the balancing battles women wage with work, home, children, marriage and those all lumped together at times. I believe the author describes this as the third phase of feminism.

The author goes through topics such as women and work, education, crafting, slow food ie) canning, and parenthood. Interestingly, although my day to day routine may look very similar to some of the women she interviews I began from a very different ideology.

My mother felt that it was her higher calling to care for husband, house, and children from home. She canned, cooked, gardened, composted, kept house, sewed, baked, and helped with school homework in a relentless cycle.  She recycled before it became a fad. Composting I believe was her hobby. She canned or froze the majority of our fruits and veggies annually. She sewed most of the girls’ dresses for church and graduations, and even a wedding dress. I was raised with this as an expectation for my life if God should bless me with husband, house, and children.

During my high school and college years I debated strongly within myself, and sometimes with peers, over the expectation that was to be my life. I had some other goals that I wanted to pursue. Some of those goals I reached despite moving directly into the role my mother foretold me about; other goals I will likely never achieve. I have to reconcile within myself whether or not those goals were ever achievable no matter the choices I made or goals I still care to achieve.

My choice to live the ‘New Domesticity’ was what I was supposed to do more than anything else. I wasn’t making an intentional, philosophical, political, or even religious argument. I really didn’t dream about being a stay-at-home mom with a husband and children to care for. I’m not even sure I was so thrilled to have children. I can’t look at hindsight over that one. Maybe I would have grown into the idea given the chance. I had career dreams so outside of the experience of my mom, my older relatives, and those who I was in community with growing up.

So, in a kind of fall-into-the-role way I am who I am. I married, had babies, and eventually we bought a house. Over the years I have grown into my work, my choices, and the role that I  play in the greater scheme of things. I followed my Mom in a number of ways. I can fruits and veggies (some), cook from scratch daily, garden (herbs, lettuce, rhubarb, and maybe tomatoes), compost (green bins at the curb is a lovely idea), sew (quilts, not clothing), bake (I love baking!), and home school our four students in a relentless cycle.  I am a keen reduce-reuse-recycler and shop secondhand foremost for the whole family.

Some of my choices are pure love though. I love baking, secondhand shopping, and quilting/crafting. I’m not always so keen on the idea to can everything that we may need for the year of meal preparation though. I am striving for Godly, healthy choices, with global awareness and creation care. I have a strong mission to raise the kind of family that is aware of what they eat, wear, buy, learn, and dispose of. To the best of my ability.

The criticism Emily Matchar, the author of “Homeward Bound” has against the ‘New Domesticity’ movement overall is not that these things are bad choices but so often they are done from an individualist motive. Meaning, I can safe-keep my family via food, clothing, education and the other areas of life better by myself than the alternatives.  The community benefits of working together for justice in all arenas of life needs to be addressed. Cheap food, clothing, and poor education are something that everyone needs to work together on for the good of everyone.  Something we can all be reminded of.

All the best as you make your choices.

Blessings!

Diana

 

 

Whitening Clothing without Bleach

September 24th, 2013 Posted in Crafts, creation, Earthkeeping, Family, Our House | No Comments »

My hubby and I had a dinner function to go to and his best white shirt had really bad ring-around-the-collar. We hoped no one would notice; fortunately the lights were dimmed during the dinner. But I wasn’t going to let it go at that. Once the sunny weather set in I searched out a solution to this embarrassing problem. But without bleach. I was so excited with the results that I’m sharing.

I wish I had a before picture but I was too embarrassed to record my procrastination. But the after pictures are WHITE!

What did I do: I poured pure lemon juice on all the yellowed areas–neck, wrist, armpits, and upper back. I left the stained tops sit out in the bright, hot sunshine all day long. The next day I washed a whole load of any pure bright whites in the house adding a 1/2 cup of Borax to the regular laundry detergent and voila! No more yellow or stains.

No more yellow!

No more yellow!

A whole load of whites.

A whole load of whites.

Hoping your whites are brighter too.

Enjoy!

Diana

 

 

Quilting Through the Stash: It’s a Zoo!

September 23rd, 2013 Posted in Crafts, Earthkeeping, Family, Quilting, Uncategorized | No Comments »

This yellow animal fabric has been in my stash for more than a decade. I finally cut it up into diamonds and put it together to make this sweet little quilt that will go to some special little boy. I hope he likes it!

Photo Tutorial Following the finished product.

A Sweet Baby Boy Quilt!

A Sweet Baby Boy Quilt! (~1mx1m)

The diamonds.

The diamonds.

Adding the short stashes.

Adding the short stashes.

Adding the long stashes.

Adding the long stashes.

Matching up the short and long stashings.

Matching up the short and long stashings.

All pieced together.

All pieced together.

Edges straightened.

Edges straightened.

Quilting Giraffe spots all over.

Quilting Giraffe spots all over.

Quilting Spots close-up.

Quilting Spots close-up.

Quilting spots back.

Quilting spots back.

Binding point.

Binding point.

Binding sleeve--blunt end.

Binding sleeve–blunt end.

Binding point and blunt end together.

Binding point and blunt end together.

Binding corner fold.

Binding corner fold.

Binding corners sewn

Binding corners sewn

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Binding completed front.

Binding completed front.

Binding completed back.

Binding completed back.

I hope you enjoyed this project as much as I did. I’m one fabric less in my stash and one quilt richer for gifting.

Diana

Eyes Wide Open: T-Shirt Remake

August 30th, 2013 Posted in Crafts, Earthkeeping, Family, Homeschooling, Our House, Uncategorized | 1 Comment »

My oldest daughter has always loved yellow. She’s never been into pink, not like her younger sister; no yellow is her go to colour. So when we were second-hand shopping for the summer I reminded her that she didn’t have to stick to the shirts her size if they didn’t appeal to her but any size larger could be remade to fit.

This is the shirt she found–a Woman’s Large t-shirt, obviously not a good look on her.

Not a good fit but the right colour with some lovely decor.

Not a good fit but the right colour with some lovely decor.

She wanted a tank top and this is what we came up with. We learned a lot through the process and I’m sure we’ll be shopping with our eyes a little wider from here on. She’s been wearing this tank all summer long!

A favourite tank this summer.

A favourite tank this summer.

If we can do a t-shirt remake so can you!

Enjoy!
Diana

Sewing: It’s a Trash Culture

August 29th, 2013 Posted in Crafts, Earthkeeping, Quilting | No Comments »

I recently finished reading “Over-Dressed” by Elizabeth Cline. Read it!

Her book takes us on a journey through the clothing industry from New York, LA, China, and Bangladesh to name a few stops. Cline writes about her and her friends’ trend to buy clothing as disposable items and finding herself getting sick of the trend. Cline researches the industry from fabric to store and shares her findings. Her take-home conclusions are not new or even that dated. Think back to the 1970s when moms sewed their girls’ dresses, mended rips in jeans, adding patches to knees and elbows.

For me that isn’t a foreign concept. I was born in the 70s. I wore the dresses my mom sewed for older sisters’ as hand me downs. I couldn’t wait to have them in my closet. Because sewing is time consuming we were able to watch the dresses come into being from choosing the pattern at the fabric store, choosing the fabric and embellishments, and then the numerous trying on, and final fittings. I had my high school and university grad dresses made at home by my Mom. I wore my sister’s hand made silk wedding dress when I got married.

I’ve never made my daughters any clothing. I do mend though. I’ve put buttons back on, mended favourite jeans, cut too short pants into shorts, hemmed my hubbies’ dress pants. But mostly, I shop second-hand clothing stores for 80-90% of our clothing needs. I’ve always loved the thrill of the find for second-hand clothing. Finding that item that is unique, well-made, and inexpensive.

But lately I haven’t found as many good finds. Cline says that the whole clothing industry has seen a decline in quality since the 1990s and second-hand shops are feeling the pinch. Not only here in the developed world but also in those countries that buy our ditched clothing. Developing countries used to buy bales of used clothing to sell in their streets but that may come to an end as they are finding the clothing unwearable due to split seams, broken zippers, and such cheap fabrics that they don’t hold up to washing and regular wear. It is disposable! When in the past only 5% of our used clothing went to the landfills more and more of it is less reusable for wearing, or recycling in the textile industry. Now more of it is going directly to landfills.

What conclusions does Cline make; learn to sew for one. At the very least sew the buttons back on and mend holes or frays before they get too large. For the more adventurous–learn to tailor the clothing you do buy. If it doesn’t quite fit tailor it, or send it out for tailoring. And for the really daring–sew your own clothing from scratch.  I think the most important nugget Cline raises is for all of us to shop more carefully, be more selective, care more about your choices, and wear it well.

I have a mending basket on my desk. In it is a bag with a broken handle, a torn blouse with a hanging button, a fabric grocery bag with a hole big enough to let an apple escape, shorts with a tear down the front, and a few t-shirts that don’t get worn because they don’t quite fit. I’m hoping to get to these items soon and move on to sewing from scratch t-shirts because I just can’t find what I’m looking for in the stores.

So far in my local research: At Nova on Ottawa St. I found ball point needles for sewing knit fabric and elastic thread, which only seems to be in black, grey, and white. At European Textiles I found Canadian made bamboo and 100% cotton knit fabric but mostly in neutrals and pastels (gorgeous fabric, but I’ll need to learn to dye it). The other shops nearby didn’t have any knit fabrics that interested me–they were the same stuff as clothing in the stores are made of–thin, cheap, and lacking vibrant colours.

I think I will begin with buying an over-sized t-shirt to alter to learn from and go from there. I’m not ready to go the dye-route.

Enjoy!

Diana

 

Quilted Cubes: Baby Toys

July 8th, 2013 Posted in art, Crafts, Family, Quilting | No Comments »

I can’t remember the exact date but it had to be around the time I had my first child (14 years ago) that I saw a quilted cube and it changed my crafting life. I figured it was small enough to keep my attention and simple enough (or so I thought) that I could figure it out. How little did I know back then. Well, it got me sewing and quilting and that has changed the way I do life. My Mom sewed a fair bit but didn’t quilt. I had no idea what I was doing but set out to figure it out on my $40 garage sale sewing machine. My first cube is incredibly humiliating but very funny. I keep it as as reminder of my humble beginnings.

I don’t know how many quilted cubes I’ve made but lots and lots of them. They are such a quick and easy baby gift that is handmade and one-of-a-kind. I just completed my last hoard of foam cubes and have given the last quilted cube out. Do I buy more foam or move on to other gifts? That is the question. The last time I went to a foam shop and asked it they would cut me some foam cubes the owner wanted to see what it was that I was doing with these cubes. I gave him one for his grandchild.

I began my first cubes with complimentary colour triangles and familiar shapes for my cubes. I also used up scrap fabric. But as the years went on I used up quilt border extras, matching to crib or twin quilts, cheater panels, and hearts with special stitching.

My original cubes were very similar to the cubes in the first photo in relation to the triangles but very different with colour choices. These particular ones were made to match quilts I had made already for the recipient.

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The striped cubes were made using up leftover borders from a quilt I made with piano key borders. Such an easy way to make these up. I just adjusted the dimensions with a little extra fabric.

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The puppy and kitten cubes were cheater quilt fabric that someone gave to me for my baby gifts so I set about to use it up. I stitched over some of the lines with fun stitches for some texture.

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The cubes with hearts were my way of playing with my sewing machines fun stitches. I want to use them in a quilt but haven’t figured out quite how that will play out. The heart pattern is one I’ve used for quite a few crib and twin quilts, as well as my daughters’ bedroom curtains. Love it!

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Enjoy!
Diana

 

 

Playing with Fabric

May 16th, 2013 Posted in art, Crafts, Quilting | No Comments »

I’m very excited to share with you the latest fabric project I’ve been working on. Last fall I heard about a textile artist named Lorraine Roy. I attended an art show of hers and was super excited about her work. Then, for my birthday this year my husband arranged a half-day with Lorraine herself. What a surprise! I was so thrilled if not a little intimated by the idea.

In April, Lorraine and I spent an afternoon together in her studio to discuss the arts, textiles, nature, and the like. We also played around with an image I created using her technique of working with fabric. The result isn’t a finished work but I was able to work through the various steps that Lorraine uses to create her works of art (in a very truncated time span).  Lorraine hosts weekend classes as well as speaks publicly about her work throughout the year. Check out her website  www.Lorraineroy.com for more details.

Here is my drawing and the resulting textile piece.

The drawing we worked off of:

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The fabric version of the image using Lorraine Roy’s fabric sliced and netting technique:

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Close-up top (you can see the thread painting on these next two photos):

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Close-up Bottom:

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Enjoy!

Diana