Tuesday, 14 November 2017

Nordic Winter

Inspired by the upcoming season, I have designed this mini-quilt with a little twist to the stockings and the Christmas tree appearance.

The Nordic Christmas has always amazed me with the clean and fresh look to all the decorations. The colours that are mostly leading the parade of the spirit, are red and white. I chose the traditional green and the all natural linen, plus not so screaming for attention white and grey linen for the miniature stockings. 

DailyLike Canada fabric choices made the quilt really modest in colours, except the bright red velvet ribbon, that holds the mini stockings. I couldn't resist the temptation of the red and the warmth of the velvet. 

I have used linen, and lots of it. :) What can I do?! I just love linen. And the stockings look really nice, made with linen - as if they were worn by little Santa's helpers a lot, I mean a lot. And this is a good sign - presents and treats. 

These mini-stockings still can hold chocolates, or little messages from Santa ... even cookies :)

Here are the ingredients for the recipe:

DAILY LIKE Canada Half yard Basic Solid Linen “Natural” as a background fabric
DAILY LIKE Canada Half yard Quilting Cotton “Green Land” for the backing
DAILY LIKE Canada Half yard Quilting Cotton “Snowing” 
DAILY LIKE Canada Half yard Quilting Cotton “Winter Tree” for lining the stockings and the tree
DAILY LIKE Canada Quarter Fabric Pack “Nature” for the stockings
DAILY LIKE Canada Fat Quarter Fabric “Gleam” for the stockings
DAILY LIKE Canada Ribbon “Leaf” 
DAILY LIKE Canada T-Hooks, one pack of four

Additional items are the cute buttons, the velvet ribbon and the embroidery thread.

Making the mini-quilt was a magical experience - it is a gradation of joy, that sets the mood for the season.

The boots are well equipped with jingle bells.

I had some lovely ladies testing the pattern for me, before releasing it. They were extremely supportive in creating their own version of whimsical mini stockings and charming decoration. You could check their Instagram accounts for more images and other incredible creations:

Check back for more images, as I will update the quilt library with every new mini-quilt made by you.

For the rest of the days of November, with the generous cooperation of Daily Like Canada, I would like to announce a joyful, magical winter sew-along of this mini-quilt. Daily Like Canada and I have prepared a special prizes for two of you, that I am sure you would like a lot.

Join us for this fun and creative parade for Christmas. Show us your magical Nordic mini-quilts in Instagram with #NordicWinterMiniQuilt. Follow me @mon_etui and @dailylikecanada for updates and news. You can participate on Facebook as well, just make sure you tag me, so I could see your beauties.

I have created a Facebook Group here , where you could join and share your magical experience.

The sew-along will run till the end of November. It ends November 30th at 8:00 pm EST (5:00 pm PST). Two winners will be chosen to receive a lovely prize: seven half yard pieces of fabric from DailyLike Canada (3.5 yards in total), that include the full collection of Winter Wonderland plus two more pieces from the Nordic Winter mini-quilt and few heart-made by me items from Winter Wonderland. Check IG or Facebook for the information on the prizes.

Please, find the pattern of the mini-quilt below.

I hope you will enjoy the process and set the right mood for the season!

Happy sewing!


Thursday, 12 October 2017

Winter Wonderland

These are beautiful autumn last few weeks! So beautiful, some of the days were warmer than the summer days were. We still have the birds around. The scream of the Blue jay through the open windows was interrupting my thoughts constantly and I couldn't resist the temptation of playing 'Hide-And-Seek' with him. My sight was chasing after his blue shadow, only catching the glowing white of the feathers for a second and than loose it again into the green leaf clouds of the hairdo of the twelve-year old maple across the fence. This little bird is not only sassy, he is smart enough to always hide in the biggest trees. My eyes were not getting tired - I was satisfying their thirst for green to the maximum. The leaves on the maple were giving all the signs of getting tired and ready to burn in red very soon. While I was looking for this little devil with widely spread blue shadow, I noticed that the tip of the maple is changing - as if the sun was resting there longer and burnt the first few leaves... And again the loud scream of the Blue jay woke me up from my day dreaming to take my sight with him to the burr oak on the other side of the street, where the bird was already completely lost into the curly leaves, that protect the fruits of the fall. Few squirrels jumped over the branches and hid into the distance. My eyes couldn't catch any further - the images became too distant and the loud arguing of the Blue jay suddenly soften with the wind. I stayed longer in my garden - the day was absolutely beautiful. The crisp chilly mornings are so beautiful - best light of the year. The sunbeams, filtered through the thick layer of dew create warmness. And the tiny crystal drops on my roses make the flowers feel royal and extremely beautiful. 

Mornings like this one inspire me to create something delicate and elegant. And despite the perfect autumn mood that I was set on, I was thinking of one design from Daily Like Canada, that grabbed my attention and did not let go, until I cut into this unique fabric to create a winter decoration for the upcoming holly days. 

I saw the roses from my garden in the navy blue print, and decided that this will be the main fabric for my 'Winter Wonderland' decoration this year. 

When I think of delicate creations, one designer invades my mind with her presence. Tone Finnanger's winter designs are present very often in my home - almost every season. I have made all of this decorations: in my Blue And Silver Christmas (wow, was it really four years ago???), and in Red and White Christmas  

This year, the collection is more complete than ever. I love how the Snow Flower fabric suits the Nordic style of Ms Finnanger's designs. The Forest Lodge represents beautifully the small houses in the villages in this beautiful Scandinavian country. 

I had everything to start early on my winter project. And for the first time, I had a feeling, I won't be stressed around Christmas and my home will look elegant and beautiful for the season, just on time.

Winter Wonderland bundle (from bottom to top): 

1.5 yards Daily Like Canada Snow Flower oxford cotton 
0.5 yards Daily Like Canada Gleam linen
0.5 yards Daily Like Canada Pink Dot quilting cotton
1.0 yard  Daily Like Canada Forest Lodge quilting cotton
0.5 yards Daily Like Canada Love Things quilting cotton

I had experienced one downside to the early winter making. The golden season of autumn doesn't help me much with setting the winter scene I would have loved to create. For the purpose of displaying the items I made, I had to improvise and work with what the Nature serves me for this moment. That is why, I ended with the fallen branch, I found in the nearest forest. My girls claimed, it was a bit  too spooky for a winter scene, but this is all I could work with for the moment. My love for Nature doesn't allow me to cut living trees, unless it is for pruning, and, unfortunately, my pine and spruce are not for pruning at this time. 

Long Christmas stocking are a thoughtful creation for the holidays - they could be filled with so much deliciousness and little surprises. You will be amazed to watch little hands, digging into these long-legged boots to check if there is nothing extra into the toe-area :). The thrill is all into seeking the surprise and there is no greater joy to me, but to watch loved ones opening their presents. The look on their faces is the warmest Christmas feeling of all.

The signature angel of Ms Finnanger...

I adapted a little bit the recipe for this elegant creature - gave her a winter coat:

... and changed her boots a little bit.

Isn't she the queen of the roses????

She loves birds and flowers

I made few short stockings. They could be gifted, filled with chocolates to little friends, or numbered as a countdown to Christmas.

Winter birds can not be forgotten in this scene.

Christmas is about love and joy.

When I first saw the elegant feminine boots and skates from Tone Finnanger, I couldn't take my eyes off them. Every time I make her designs, I add few boots to the collection. This year, I did not make the skates, I just left them as short boots. If you can not find the skate edges (the ones that the designer used herself) for creating the skate boot, make your own. I made them out of staples in my Red and White Christmas. Just open the staple and straiten it well, than form it into a skate edge and cut to size. It is not perfect, but quite good enough.

I had enough fabric to make Ms Finnanger's beautiful pouches.

To play with the contrast of this fabric collection was a great pleasure. I am happy with every single item I have made. It will be such a beautiful winter season! 

Thank you for stopping by, dear friends! I hope you enjoyed the wonderland story behind my creations!


Wednesday, 30 August 2017

School Organizers

How well organized are the little ones that run from room to room with all they could carry?

Sometimes I wonder why we have a three-bedroom house, when everyone stays in one room, no matter if watching TV, reading a book, drawing, or writing a homework, we always share the space of the living room and no one is bothered by the activities of the others, but ... it just turns to be a little too messy. Little hands tend to have the ability to carry a lot of things when they need them, but never tidy after themselves. And the other very important thing these marvellous creature tend to forget, is to drink water. 

This is how I came up to the decision to make this set of mini-bag that carry the creative elements of the art making and the bottle that always has to be at a reach of a hand. 

Materials used:

1. 0.5 yards Daily Like Canada Landscape oxford cotton for the face of the bag 
2. 0.5 yards Daily Like Canada Friendly Bear laminated cotton for lining the body
3. 1 yard Daily Like Canada Webbing Strap , colour: cool grey

The pencil carrier is quite wide and could collect a lot of the drawing tools your kid might carry around the house, plus extra additional items.

The laminated fabric provides structure, but also protects the bag from unwanted  stains.

The same protection is provided for the bottle carrier bag - even if the bottle leaks, the bag is still protected. In case of spilling flavoured water or fruit juice, it will be easy to clean and keep the bag's fresh look.

The outside protection for the bag for the water bottle is optional. I made it, because my daughter takes Taekwondo and Aikido classes. When she goes to the club, she stays there for hours, her bottle is always somewhere - on the shelf or on the ground, and I needed to be able to clean the bag on the outside as well.  Besides, these friendly bears are extremely cute - I couldn't resist putting them on the spot.

If you like these two carriers and you find they may be useful for your every day life, you could find a free pattern and tutorial for them here:

Ivelina's free pattern for Organizers for School

I hope you enjoy the big start of the new school year! Every year is full of new surprises, new friends, new emotions for the kids, and the only one thing that stays constant, is our support, love and encouragement for every insecure step of theirs.

Thank you for visiting my busy corner, dear friends!


Monday, 28 August 2017

"The Apple of Knowledge" Mini-Purse and Pattern

It is almost time for the beginning of the school year. 

Mixed feelings fight in me. It is so exciting to witness the noice and laughter of the busy flying bees with full bag packs on their fragile shoulders and a little bit disturbed by the strong smell of the loudly coughing yellow buses. To come out of the comforting and warm hug of the summer and dive deeply into the chilly kiss of this crisp "first day at school" morning is a bit sad - it is a symptom of autumn condition - almost tasting the upcoming winds that will ruin the trees' hair style and will make us walk on a carpet of gold. It is this recipe of running, screaming, honking, eagerness to share summer stories with friends, parents slightly annoyed that again something is changing, preparing mentally for the new wave of flu, fever adventure, friendship drama, classmates' arguments and teachers new rules. Soon, we all will be running into the school backyards, so grateful that we have these amazing, inspiring us little creatures, thirsty for learning new things and we will feel young again, remembering our first days at school.

This little purse was inspired by these emotions. From all the holidays and celebrations through the year, I think this is the most permanent one - it will never change, even when our children outgrow their school years, there is going to be noice and laughter every year at that time and how beautiful  that is?!

The purse is big enough for the small size moleskin and all of your favourite pens and pencils, plus small accessories. The original design is a HAORI design, and I have changed the front image. In my school years, there was a very strict requirement for wearing an uniform - navy blue suit and snowy white shirt with navy tie for the boys and black or navy gown with white 'Peter Pan' collar for the girls. Black spotless shoes, clean, ironed clothing, hair in perfect order and a bunch of flowers for the teacher - that is how I remember my first days at school and the girl's image represents my sentiments from these days.

On the back of the purse, I kept the original design. It is a perfect and delicious apple.

To work with HAORI fabrics is always such an excitement, and when it is an appliqué projects, oh, it makes my life so much more beautiful. These pieces of fabric were selected by HAORI and I loved having them in a kit, including the bias binding, the zipper, the batting and the lining.

Appliquéd images:

You could find the pattern for this pouch in my happy shop.

Wishing you a great start of the new school year and so many rich and beautiful memories!


Thursday, 17 August 2017

Along the Cabot Trail and Baddeck

This story only makes sense if you like driving, cycling, biking, or moving on wheels at all. You could walk barefooted if you wish, but the point is to get moving. Cabot trail is all about moving, changing places, centimetre by centimetre, because it is a bouquet of sceneries, album of beautiful pictures, storytelling movie in captions only. Here and there on our stops, there will be few subtitlesm explaining where we stand, but all we will hear is the soulful song of the ocean - from the deep voice of the Western waters of the Atlantic, forming the rocks at  the coves, north of Ingonish,  and Aspy Bay, through the silent North Mountain and Pleasant Bay to the high pitch of the Gulf of St. Lawrence. It is a counter clock journey on Cabot trail, that walks through four mountains and so many unique places.

It all starts from Baddeck one really early morning. The harbour in Baddeck is perfectly situated - sunrise or sunset, or even at noon, the pictures here are always beautiful. I know I could have done so much better, if I have chosen another morning, but this was my early morning, my inside clock woke me up at 4:00 in this particular morning to capture the fog and the shy face of the sun at this day, that turned out to be really cloudy and rainy, but these are my memories. It was meant to be.

Walking down the street towards the water feels so refreshing, where there is only one person, sharing my earliness and eagerness for the sunrise. The lighthouse is visible from a far, standing proudly in his white robe, reflecting the first light behind the horizon. Most of the lighthouses in the Maritimes are already closed. With the new technologies, sailors don't really need them any more. They were going on sale for the big amount of one dollar with one condition - to be maintained carefully and kept open as a historic attractions. Some were bought and people devoted their life to keep them from being forgotten, but it is only a matter of time, before they start only existing in the children's story books. Some of the lighthouses keep such treasure stories in their historical existence, it is so sad they had to close the doors and left to the not so gentle touch of the weather, close to the salt waters of the Atlantic.

I stand here, then walking end to end along the harbour and my mind is clear of all the life I know it - it is a different dimension of peacefulness and quiet.

It will definitely be a dark morning... The water feels so deep here and the light from the sun is weak, filtered by the thick clouds, and it makes me feel swallowed by this darkness. But that is what makes the little sunny spot so special - like barely kept tiny hope for something good that is coming!

That is it, I am ready to start my day. No disappointment, just relief and calmness. I am going away without looking back, leaving this quiet place behind. I have a full day ahead of me, what more could I ask for?

A rainy day in Baddeck is better spent in the Alexander Graham Bell Museum.

I have learnt things about this gentlemen, I am ashamed to admit, I did not know. His 'telephone' invention is not all about him. I should say, it was a little part of his life, really little, just we, as his successors, we recognize it as the biggest achievement of his, since the phones are in our hands all the time. What he did for people with hearing impairment was significantly more and did you know, that he could fly?! I admire him for that. 

He was impressed with the simplicity of life and the Nature beauty in this amazing town and decided to spend the rest of his life here, building a house on the island (the one, behind the light house on the sunrise pictures), helping the community and all the world with his inventions. Believe me, two hours spent in the museum will not only help you understand the world better, but will open your eyes wider for the beauty that surrounds you.

Staying in Baddeck is worth it, because it keeps you in touch with the heritage. Our choice:

Such a welcoming atmosphere, vintage decoration, carefully kept through the years, this house was a home for royalties, adventurers and seeking food for the soul visitors. I loved our six-day stay here! It felt like we were very special guests.

Dine at the restaurant, because than you get to experience the royal service in total. Read about the family history and rest on the beautiful porch - it is worth it.

From the porch, you look down to the family own, little diner where the breakfast is a feast. 

I am very passionate about my morning espresso and did not expect to find such barristers here, in Baddeck, but for these people there were no secrets when it came to coffee and even pastry. They will prepare food for you for the trails and the choices are everything from fresh fruits to sandwiches and desert.

One adventure I don't want you to miss is the Tom's pizza. It is not just pizza, it is your dreamed pizza. These people have it all - beyond your imagination. I am difficult to be impressed when food is involved, especially baking. For those of you, who know me as a baker from my Tablier taché, you know that to be so true, but watching these people working so passionately made me blush. It is an award winning place and I saw why.

Stay in Baddeck for longer to experience it in full. After the second night, I knew I will have difficulties part with all this true life, where every day is a gift and to fight for the life is the biggest reward, where the appreciation for life is so pure, you don't need anything more but to be in touch with yourself  - as simple as that.

Walk around the town, look at the houses - they tell such beautiful stories... 

Even the flowers here speak to you. The blue is in the air, water, earth and sky. I love blue!

From the depth of the blue, I am leaving you to your beautiful day, planning your next adventure!

It is time to hit the Cabot trail - the bijoux of Cape Breton Island.

Driving from Baddeck, counter clockwise, is a beautiful trip through Smokey Mountain. And I think "How much beauty could I see?" and than the coves start appearing one after another. They are a screaming statement of the power of the ocean - big rocks, formed for thousands of years got washed away by knowing no mercy salt water of the mighty Atlantic. It is a constant fight between earth and water here. And I get to be in the middle of the fight. The wind tries to blow me away, but gravity is fighting back for me, and I stay there as a hero, soaking all this eternal grace.

Lakies Head
Green Cove
Climbing up and down the mountain doesn't stop to amaze me, while I am looking at the map (the old fashioned me is a paper map follower - I guess I love paper and colours), I find that the Cabot trail suddenly takes a western adventure at Neil's Harbour and misses the Coastal Loop. 
Note: Find the map of Cape Breton Highlands National Park here. It is available in every visitor's centre and it is clear enough for every little corner of the park. 
Well, we don't want to miss that, so we stop at Neil's Harbour to regroup our thoughts and take time to decide where to from here. 

Fishermen here can not get rid of the seagulls. What a noisy company!

Neil's Harbour
It is decided, we are taking the Coastal loop. It leads through ups and downs, away from the water, but only to White Point, where the time has suddenly stopped. I have nothing to say about this place. We spent a second here, that on the clock appeared to be hours. I lost myself in this place and than find another me. I can not believe we could have missed it, if we were to follow the map (imagine how the GPS could find a place like that). 

Finally, I found a place where earth and water live in piece. If they can do it, why don't we?!

Hardly leaving this place... to continue on the road, where the view from Sunrise town to the Aspy Bay seems so distant.

Driving through the North Mountain is a silent trip to our next adventure, that doesn't seem so exciting any more. What more could be seen after that? 

Stop at the top of the mountain to look at the Aspy Fault that cuts a deep crevice stretching 40 km into the heart of Cape Breton Highlands. It is a special place, from 300 million years ago, before the continents we now know them were formed. 

Stopping at the National Park for a short walk to the MacIntosh Brook...

... and continue your trip down the mountain, where the hills at Wreck Cove Point are at your palm - it feels like they could be touched...

... Stop to smell the white clover - it is a honey sensation !

We are entering at the western part of the Cabot trail, where everything is down at our feet and still so mighty and strong. I told you about this places here on our first attempt to conquer  Cabot Trail. This time is a different scenery, coming from the other side. 

And today's journey finishes with La Bloc, close to the gentle hugs of the waves:

Stay here, talk to the ocean, ask him all your questions about why he is so mad at the Earth on the other side of the coast, how he decides to create places like White Point, why he is so blue at the horizon, where our sight stretches painfully to capture more of him, why he trows the rocks away, after polishing them so perfectly, when he will open his depth for the sun to enter deeper... I have so many more questions for him. But they are left for the next time I go, because life as it consumes me with its vanity and every day style, calls me back and I know my date with the ocean lasted only a day, but long enough to keep me from choosing the wrong path in life and to fill my heart with love.

Safe sail, my friends!


Listening to Kaleo "I can't Go On Without You", while writing this post :

  Kaleo - I Can't Go On Without You LIVE from Iceland Music Export on Vimeo.