30 de nov de 2010

Birthing a quilt

I had never heard of this technique until recently but it seems a great idea for people who see the binding stage as the scary monster (such as myself). It's really simple and I'm frustrated for not having thought about it on my own sooner... Check it out here.

29 de nov de 2010

I'm in love...

I saw at Cluck Cluck Sew a mini quilt inspired by this one. It's hard to say which is prettier! And because the original post includes a tutorial now I know that I will have no excuse not to make one too. Just when I decided Helena's crib quilt would be a disappearing nine patch design...

28 de nov de 2010


I miss my grandmother. She died 15 years ago today and is still such a big influence on my mother and me. Now that a new female member of the family is on the way and we are busy knitting and sewing, she is constantly on our minds because if she was here my baby would have even lovelier things, because she would teach us and push us beyond our limited abilities... or she would make things herself :)
That's how gifted she was. A strong stubborn woman, a busy bee and home fairy, an obsessive cleaner who always smelled of bleech and the most perfect chubby grandmother one could ask for, so full of patience and joy (up until my grandfather died and the grief ultimately led to her death too).
She taught me how to read and write using recipes, she hanged all my drawings in the kitchen wall and made me fresh orange juice everyday for lunch. I still have a sweet tooth after meals and an utter dislike of cheese because of her. I still always thinks of her first when I say "grandmother", even though my father's mother was also a great woman and I had ten more years beside her.
But my grandmother Aurora was the real deal. If I had to choose just one person to see again in the after life it would be her. I wished so very bad that she had lived enough to meet my husband, see me in my wedding day and meet Helena in a few months...

* A female name with Latin origin, meaning the break of dawn, not used nowadays. Except for my sewing machine and Sleeping Beauty...

18 de nov de 2010

A knitted quilt

This isn't the first time I have to stay in bed for a long time. I celebrated my 20th birthday eating from a tray in my lap after a knee surgery gone bad that left me temporarily paraplegic. A second surgery and many months of intense physical therapy later I started walking again, but during a dark time in my life I needed help with everything, I couldn't go to the toilet on my own or have a quiet simple shower. My parents (specially my mother) and my husband (then boyfriend) were by my side the whole time and I'm very thankful for that. I also met some amazing people and learnt lots of lessons in the process. So now that I'm in bed again I've caught myself looking back on those months and how I'm a better, stronger person for it. I KNOW that now that i'm older and expecting a child this bed rest thing is a piece of cake compared to that.

Anyway, this isn't meant to be a self-pity post, I just wanted to show you the patchwork blanket my mother and I knitted during those months. I was always so tired and in pain that knitting was pretty much all I felt like doing (can you believe that i didn't read a single book that whole time???) and she spent so many hours in the waiting room while I did my treatments that all the blue squares came to life pretty quickly.

Blue has always been my favourite colour and I have always loved patchwork, but at the time I didn't know a thing about sewing and quilting, so this was the closest thing I could come up with. When I got married we decided to add more squares to make it a king size "knitted quilt". It's hard for me to go back to this project, so my mother has been doing the recent squares.

We added a border, which is like a giant scarf, in nvy blue to match all the different blues of the "quilt top". In the back there is a lavander fabric that has some foam stiched to it (I'm sory but Ii don't have pictures and it's the best way I find to describe it) which gives the idea of batting and quilting.

I love this blanket despite everything. I know that one day when my mother is no longer by my side this blanket will always remind me of her. The way the smell of bleech reminds me of my grandmother Aurora (my mother's mother).

14 de nov de 2010

Progress on the baby front

My mother and I have been busy. I finished the bibs she started and knitted the yellow and the pink boots, she knitted the white and pink boots. The yellow boots will have matching scarf and hat. The cutest!!! But wait until you see the blanket she's knitting! A-M-A-Z-I-N-G!

12 de nov de 2010

Anyone interested in a swap???

I don't have many readers, so I'm not sure if this will even be possible to accomplish. But we have a saying about how if you never try you never succeed, so...
A good friend of mine (to whom I've made this and this and this) has a nearly 2 year old - oh the terrible twos - who is currently obsessed with pandas. I promised to make something with pandas in it, something simple like a bib or a pillow I don't know yet, but the thing is... I have fabric with mouses, cats, dogs, owls, rabbits, frogs, octopus, turtles, sheeps, bears, penguins, girafes, elephants, tigers, lions, zebras, monkeys, rinos, hippos, alligators and... guess what? NO PANDAS!!!
If anyone has a fat-quarter with pandas, please swap with me! I would prefer to give away some cats, just because I have more of it and it's a fat-quarter (some of the other animals are mixed together in the same fabric and I have only 20 or 30 cm "slices" instead of a nice and square fat-quarter). But I'm open to other options, as long as I get me some panda love :)

8 de nov de 2010

Open for debate

So I'm planning the whole decoration of the nursery, right?

I'm in bed all day, searching the internet, buying stuff online...

And I'm thinking about the curtains and the crib quilt, etc etc etc. Now that I know it's a girl, I've got the right fabrics and... I'm missing a quilt pattern. I'm all for squares, always have been and always will be, but besides squares, there are other patterns I like. I just don't know if Ii like them enough for such a high stakes thing. I mean, it's my first (and probably only, by the look of things) baby and I want it to be perfect. Am I being foolish to put such pressure in this? I know that I'll be making her other crib quilts eventually, maybe not curtains - those I plan to use for a long time - but why oh why is it so hard for me to decide which pattern to go with? Should I just do a sampler quilt? I like squares, bento-box, circles, disappearing 9 patch, bricks, I like a lot of things... I don't particularly like stars and pinwheels but... there're OK too.

Because of my limitations (both physical and experience-wise) I was just thinking of keeping it simple, but then my mom and my husband bullied me a bit into something more out of my comfort zone and then my sister in law said something that also got me thinking... I mean, I'm so confused and I haven't even started anything.

So... since everyone around me is already throwing their ideas at me even if I don't ask for them, at least YOU could give me your ideas. Yes... I'm asking...

What should I do???

3 de nov de 2010

A very special stroller quilt

(If you are here because of the Blogger's Quilt Festival, welcome! Please stop by more often and leave a comment. Here is my entry.)

Finally, I present you with the most special stroller quilt ever! My baby's obviously!!!

One thing you don't know about me is that I love naming everything, from dolls, to pets, to new recipes. I've decided to call this quilt "The Good News Quilt". I started it soon after knowing I was pregnant and because I didn't know if I was expecting a boy or a girl I wanted it to be colourful and gender-free. I meant to finish it before knowing the sex of the baby, so that then I would be free to start a crib quilt in blue or pink, depending. (That crib quilt is still just in my head, because I've unable to sit down at the sewing machine in these last weeks due to my pregancy complications.) Also, I wanted a bullet-proof quilt, that will be used outside, will get dirty, will be washed lots, and survives, hence the colours. And also, who can resist the simplicity of squares? No matter what i do, it's always my favourite design!

Cutting and piecing 300 squares of just 5 cm was quite time consuming but we have a portuguese saying that is: running because you like it doesn't make you tired. It's so true! I had lots of fun with this quilt.

I've talked about this quilt previously as a sort of the "making of" (at the time I didn't want to disclose who it was for), but here goes a detail of the flannel in the back and how I chose to quilt it, which was also opened for debate, but then I decided on straight lines every 3 squares, forming a 9 patch grid.
I know I said I wanted a quilt that could be either for boy or girl, but I used some squares in pink and actually the pale pink polka dot square you can see in this picture was what started the whole thing. I went through my scraps and this was one of the tiniest bits I found so I cut the rest of it in the same size. So I'm proud to say that this quilt is entirely made out of scraps I saved since I started quilting something like one year ago.

This was all done in a week I think, but then, as always, here came the binding... or the scary monster I should say. Well, this time around I knew I didn't need to hurry, so i really took my time and I've just finished this weekend, because this was something I could do from bed. I chose a solid yellow to match the quilting and because it popped out some of the quilt top colours.

As all pet owners already know, our dear furry friends always want to be in the picture so while taking these pictures my dog Sushi decided to appear (actually, it's my fault because that corner is his favourite place to be sunbathing and I was the one who went to take pictures there while he was gone, then he came back).
He is usually pretty shy but I have to show you these "backstage pictures" because it's just too cute to be true. Remember we are talking about a really small baby quilt, righ? And Sushi is quite big, he weighs 45 kg and measures 120 cm from head to butt (not counting the tail). But out of the blue he decided to lie down on the quilt. Yes, LIE DOWN really curled up like a ball. First he looked to both sides checking if anyone was watching and then slowly he did his thing. I was trying to guess what he would do, but he surprised even me! I laughed so much!!!

2 de nov de 2010

July 31st

(If you are here because of the Blogger's Quilt Festival, welcome! Please stop by more often and leave a comment. Here is my entry.)

I know that righ now it feels like a gazillion days away, but I'm already counting. On July 31 st, I'll be one year older, I'll be a mom... and I'll be singing at the top of my lungs at a Bon Jovi concert! Yep, can't even believe that after more than 10 years waiting since the last time they came to Portugal suddenly I got to see them last year and now again next year. I sent my dad out for tickets today and he was joking on the phone saying there weren't any tickets left (now, isn't that a mean thing to do to a pregnant woman???) but the truth is I was probably the first one to get a ticket hehehe He all but camped out at the store, he got there before all the employees. eheheh

I'm happy happy happy! I've been a fan (like a HUGE fan) for twenty years now and when JBJ will be 60 years old I will still think his voice is amazing! I'm happy happy happy happy happy!!!

1 de nov de 2010

Cultural (or generation) gap

(If you are here because of the Blogger's Quilt Festival, welcome! Please stop by more often and leave a comment. Here is my entry.)

I remember when I met my husband, ten years ago, his mother teased me about my habit of celebrating Halloween with my high school friends. I had been doing so since I was 13 and one of my friends hosted the most amazing Halloween party ever, turning her parents' house into a haunted mansion (it was an old house full of strange noises) and naming food with the strangest names (bolognese was monkey's brain and such). Every year the party was at a different house, one year I was the proud hostess, decorating everything and thinking of every detail trying to live up to that first and amazing party.

Next year, my mother in law bought underwear with ghosts and pumpkins to all of her offspring and I sensed things were starting to change. Still she insisted Halloween was just an american tradition that we were absorbing like everything else (Coca Cola, Walt Disney, Eminem). She said our tradition was Carnival and that reminded me of all those years of bad disguises because my mother had no imagination or patience for more. But if Carnival was still 100% portuguese, why do we see fat and lousy samba dancers shivering in next to no clothes in the middle of February pretending they are in Rio de Janeiro?

Anyway, with highschool long gone, my friends went their separate ways, which in some cases included Germany, England, Sweden... and my Halloween years ended. Every year I get a little bit sad when the day comes and I'm reminded that I have nowhere to go to (and noone to go with), but I suppose that now that I'm a grown-up, that's just life.

But yesterday... something happened that really showed me times have changed. A bunch of witches and pirates and vampires showed up at my door trick or treating. That was a first! I was so excited I got out of bed just to see their costumes. Alas, in our house the only treats we have are for our dogs... and we had nothing more than healthy fiber cookies to give them (remember I'm pregnant and addicted to chocolate so one more reason not to have sweets around). I felt so embarassed... I mean, here they are, knocking on someone's door, someone who actually enjoys Halloween, someone who would gladly give them treats more than anyone else, and all they get is healthy cookies??? With fiber and zero addiction of sugar? C'mon!!!

You'll see. Next year I'll be ready. And in some years, I'll be making my daughter the best Halloween costume ever and taking her treat or tricking too. Just you wait and see! hehehe
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