Sunday, February 5, 2017

San Francisco suggestions?

On Thursday, I am off to visit my sister in California. YAY! I haven't seen her since September 2012! Thank goodness for Skype!

My sister lives in Napa, but we're going down to San Francisco one day, maybe two, who knows. I was wondering if any of you who are reading this might have some suggestions for places to go in SF.

I'm interested in folk art and/or quirky museums or galleries. Craft/fabric shops of course. And also vegan food. So...any suggestions? :-)

Also, vegan food in Napa/Sonoma area and Sacramento.

Thank you!! xo Carina

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Wednesday, February 1, 2017

Fabric Shop Tip :: Stoff & Stil

Fabric from Stof & Stil
Have you heard of the Danish fabric shop Stoff & Stil? It's pretty great. I go there every time I visit my parents. It's only a ten minute drive from their house, which is great. Not so great for my bank balance, perhaps! ;-)

Anyway, a bunch of sewing bloggers were invited to visit Stoff & Stil in Denmark. Not me, obvs, I'm not a 'proper' sewing blogger. :-) But I thought I'd alert you to the fact that The Fold Line has a post about it and there's a 15% off discount in the post. Check it out here. And I'd give you my opinion on the shop (actually, it's a chain of shops), since I've spent considerable amounts of time there fondling the fabrics over the years. ;-)

Stoff & Stil have a really great selection, both for apparel (not that this haven't-really-begun-yet clothes sewist has much experience with that side of things!), home dec fabrics, patchwork fabric and yarn plus all your haberdashery desires.

They have a lot of cotton fabrics which are not in the patchwork category that can absolutely be used to make quilt tops. And quilt backs! A lot of the fabrics have graphic designs, think triangles, circles, lines etc. And florals are pretty big too.

Fabric from Stof & Stil
One thing I particularly buy from Stoff & Stil is their solid colour 'Cotton canvas'. Despite the name, it is actually quite lightweight, almost similar to some quilting cottons. In fact, when I make quilts, I use the cotton canvas just as well as Kona cotton for example. I probably wouldn't use it for piecing really small blocks or where you have lots of seams meeting, but other than that, I really like it for quilt tops. It comes in loads of colours, more than 60 and at £4.15 per metre it is really affordable. Especially considering that it's 140cm wide!

Oh and check out the 'Design pieces' category! It is mainly panels printed with various cool and contemporary designs that you can use for cushions or totes or whatever. At a quick glance: a monstera leaf, owls, bears and a flamingo.

The 'Kids fabrics' category is also worth a look, lots of animal prints and geometrics, fruits, plants and happy colours.

Shipping from Denmark may at first glance seem kinda pricey, £7 or £9 depending on the option you select. However, the fabrics are cheaper than in the UK. For example, the dedicated patchwork fabrics are £7.75 per metre. And a lot of the fabrics are wider than one metre, usually 130-140 cm wide so you're getting great value for the money!

Below are a few fabrics I've bought in the past couple of years, the two on the right I bought in April last year. The photo at the top of the post shows fabrics from a few years ago.
Fabric from Stof & Stil

I'm not affiliated with them in any way and this is not a sponsored post or anything - but if anyone at Stoff & Stil fancy sending me some fabric, I won't say no. ;-)

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Friday, January 27, 2017

Five Friday Favourites :: January 27

Five Friday Favourites
I have to admit that the past couple of weeks I haven't felt like there were that many things, big or small, to celebrate enough to make up a post of five favourites. But it's important to keep looking out for those things. Even if they are small and fleeting. So here goes.

To my surprise, I have found that going to the gym isn't completely awful, as I found it when I've tried it previously. I'd always find excuses not to go. Not this time. I want to go. Atleast on Sunday mornings when it's fairly quiet. When we go on a week day evening it is packed. Especially now, after New Year's when everyone has a resolution. They'll go away soon enough. I hope so, anyway, so week days won't feel so claustrophobic.

A nice new pen. I've been looking for a pen that has a good line. It is relatively thick, but depending on the pressure and the angle you apply, the thickness changes. I like that. It gives the writing/drawing more personality. This new pen is the Uni-Ball Air Rollerball pen in case you're curious. (I bought it from Cultpens - at the time of writing, they have it on offer, 3 for 2, just FYI. This is *not* sponsored, I just happen to like the pen AND Cultpens.)

Frosty morning
On Monday morning we woke up to a frost covered winter wonderland. Blake and I went for a long morning walk to admire the fairy dustings on trees and leaves. We came home with rosy cheeks (me) and chilly paws (not me).

I found out that there's a new vegan shop in London, a supermarket even, it's called Green Bay and it's in North End Road. I have to go there! And there's a pizza place nearby that sells vegan pizza, most go there too!

Blake has an Instagram account, of course he does. You can't be a cute dog and not have an IG account, right? ;-) It's not just us posting pictures of Blake, though, we follow other dogs too and you know what? Pictures of cute dogs = happiness boost. I recommend following IG accounts for dogs, it makes me happier. :-)

I hope you have a good weekend. xo

Frosty morning

Frosty morning
Bonus favourite: I love these sempervivums in our front garden. We didn't plant them, a couple of them just appeared one day. I am letting them spread as much as they like. I may even plant some different types. Don't they look beautiful covered in frost? :-)

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Tuesday, January 17, 2017

WIP :: Australia Quilt

Australia quilt
Remember the Texas quilts I made for my niece and nephew?

As soon as I finished them, I knew I wanted to make another one. For no particular reason, I decided to do Australia. It has an interesting, and recognizable, shape so it's a good one to simplify in this way.

Australia quilt
I wanted to only use fabrics from my stash, that was the original plan. But then I decided that this project would be perfect for the beautiful Blueberry Park fabrics I've been hoarding saving for a special project. And I didn't quite have enough of the background colour, so I had to order a bit extra. Still, it's mostly from my stash, so mission accomplished, I think. :-)

The centre of the design is Uluru (Ayer's Rock). Because these quilts have a centre that the design radiates from, it didn't make sense to use Sydney as the centre. It's on the coast, so the whole design would be lop sided.

And I quite like the idea that the centre is a place that was important way before Europeans arrived in Australia.

I'm pondering how to quilt this. Maybe I'll just do straight lines, longitudes and latitudes...

Australia quilt
Allow me to get a bit quilt-geeky for a moment. Just look how neatly those points meet in the centre. That's far from always the case for me! ;-)

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Friday, January 13, 2017

Five Friday Favourites :: January 13

Five Friday Favourites
This week... at first I couldn't really think of any favourites, because I felt like I've not done anything or listened to or watched anything interesting. But of course, the whole point of this exercise is to look at bit closer and appreciate things AND notice when you appreciate things. If that distinction makes sense?

So first up is the London Modern Quilt Guild, LMQG for short. We have a monthly meeting, usually on the first Sunday of the month, which I went to on Sunday. On the way home on the train, I got to thinking how happy I am that I joined the group. And how much I look forward to the meetings.

Their talents are many and varied, and I am really quite in awe of their skills. But the best thing is the wonderful accepting attitude towards any quilt that you want to show (or bag or knitting). LMQG is part of the larger organisation called the Modern Quilt Guild, but and I don't know what other groups are like, but I feel like there isn't a dogmatic attitude towards what people bring to show and tell at the meetings. Yes, it's 'modern' but everyone appreciate the work that goes into any quilt. And I love that. Plus, it's a lovely gang of ladies. If you're interested in (modern) quilting and you're near London, do join us! :-)

Do you know about Bandcamp? It's a site where people can indie publish their music, of all types. You can listen to the music for free and if you want you can buy a song or album. Often, you can set your own price and sometimes there's a minimum price. It's also kinda like a social network for music, you can follow people (me) and discover music through them and I think you can even buy music for them from their wishlist.

I have been listening to the Sketches album by Sergey Akhunov as played by Polina Osetinskaya and Ilya Hoffman. It is beautiful and dreamy and moody piano and viola.

Blake in the snow
Last night it snowed! It's probably 6-7 years since we last had proper snow - meaning, snow that actually settles and stays overnight. It's all gone now, sadly. We walked Blake in the snow last night and he LOVED it! Unfortunately, it was too dark to video it but it was hilarious! He was running around, rolling in the snow, chasing snowballs. He was so excite. He may never have seen snow before, there certainly hasn't been any while he's been with us. We reckon he's around 7ish years old, so it could be that this was his first experience of it.

We walked over to the field this morning, I thought he'd have another happy run around, but it was bitterly cold so we had to come back without further snow-frolicking. Fingers crossed we'll have more snow this winter. :-)

Speaking of Blake, he tried another new thing last weekend: doggy daycare! We weren't sure how he'd react to that, being left on his own in a strange place. But he enjoyed it as far as we could tell, he was certainly filthy from playing outside! And the staff said he was good as gold, so that's promising.

It's good to know that we can take him there so we can go out for the day without worrying about getting back home within a few hours so he can be let outside.

At the weekend, I finally bought veggies from the market that rolls into Grays on Friday and Saturday. I've been meaning to do that for ages, but we don't always go 'down town' and I kept forgetting etc etc. I got four beautiful red peppers and almost a kilo of tomatoes on the vine for just £2. Definitely going to do that again! I don't know where those veggies came from but I'd assume it's somewhere close-ish - instead of being flown in from Spain or whatever. :-)

Have a lovely weekend, friends! xo Carina

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