Category Archives: Crafty Projects

Clay Party

This time of year it’s always crazy busy time for me at work.  It’s about 1/2 way through the term…lots of marking!! What better way to de-stress and forget about work for a bit…than to go out with a group of co-workers.  We went to Snug Harbour Restaurant  for dinner…to start off our evening.  The food was amazing… East Coast Salmon + Chocolate Bourbon Pecan Pie = happy gal! Perfect start to the night… clay-mug-_0001

After dinner we headed just down the road to 4Cats Port Credit for a little bit of team building while we got our hands dirty and made a hand build clay mug! Such a fun bright amazing creative space…they offer all kinds of art & craft classes for kids, adults and families. clay-mug-_0002

It’s been a few years since I’ve had my hands in clay. The camp that I worked at when I was in my late teens and early 20s I spent a lot of time in the craft shop… where I made a few creations…mugs, candle lanterns, bowls, vases and a bunch of other gifts for family and friends! I was excited to get back at it and make another mug…and see if I still had it in me to make something.  clay-mug-_0003

Starting off…used a wire cutter to cut off a piece of clay off the slab…then had to drop it onto the canvas…from an over hand throw…to get any air bubbles out of it… clay-mug-_0004

Then it was time to roll out the clay…the trick is evenly spread out the clay evenly–if you don’t… you’ll have a thick edge of your mug…and a way too thin side! clay-mug-_0005

You need to ‘scratch’ and ‘slip’ your clay whenever you join up two pieces.  (If you don’t… when the clay dries…it shrinks and pulls apart.) Just make up a few scratches on each side that join… then add a bit of water…and press them together! clay-mug-_0006

The next step was to trace out a circle for the bottom of the mug…scratch and slip it, and press it into place! Then I pulled a handle for my mug…decided to go for a big one… clay-mug-_0007

…our teacher was great to explain all the steps and help out if we needed.  But mainly we did our own thing…and had a lot of fun! Isn’t that what team building nights are all about?

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The night was more than just making mugs…it was fun to share stories and laugh.  It was totally what I needed.  It also made me realize how happy I am when I’m making stuff… maybe I should look around for another class or something.

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…the last step was to paint our clay with glaze.  The colours are a wee bit muted, but once they are fired in the kiln they will get all shiny and a bit more bright.  All of our mugs & vases look so pretty and unique just like us!

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I work with a bunch of great people…this was not something new I learned last night.  I was glad to spend time with a few of these awesome people outside of the office..hanging out and playing with clay.

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I decided to leave the seam..but most others smoothed out the joint so they had a smooth mug. I free-handed a few stars to cut out and then add to my mug…. and then with the left over clay I had I made a small pinch pot, I figured I could use for a tea bag holder or hold some spare change!

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Can’t wait to see my mug in a few weeks once it’s all glazed…not sure that I’ll actually drink a tea out of it, but it will make a really fun pencil holder for my desk!

Paint Nite FUN!

My friend Emily started earlier this summer hosting Paint Nites… I found out Sunday afternoon she was doing one Sunday night at Wild Wing here in Lindsay.

I’ve been visiting my mum and staying at my house organizing my stuff in my basement apartment here in Lindsay.  I decided I needed a breather from that and wanted to have a wee bit of fun.   So I decided to sign up, lucky for me there was still room in the class!

I have had friends in a few different cities posting about the fun of paint nites.  (Even one of my colleagues in my summer course at RRC did a paint night for her new skill she had to learn!) It was time for me to find out what these ‘Paint Nites’ were all about!
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I went early to help  watch Emily set up… and to have some dinner before we got busy painting and the rest of the painters arrived. This event was the first one held at this venue.  The food and service was amazing…but the space was so tight!! (I’d love to attend one with a wee bit more room to move around… some people were trapped in the corners!)

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We started off the evening with an Oath… then were introduced to our brushes and had fun mixing some colours we would need.  I must tell you…I was a wee bit nervous.  I’ve always been a creative sort, but there’s a part of me that’s a total perfectionist…that sometimes just freezes me.  Paint Nite_0002

Then the scary part started…actually putting paint on the canvas! It’s been a crazy long time since I’ve painted…but slowly but surely with Emily’s guidance and tips I was able to get over myself and paint! Paint Nite_0005

The great things about Paint Nites is that you come with family or friends and enjoy the night… with drinks and painting!! What more could you ask for? Paint Nite_0004 I got to the point where I knew that any more painting or blending would turn my canvas into a mess of browny gunk… so I stopped and looked around! It was so nice to see everyone’s paintings…yes, they are similar…but really they were so individual and unique!
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I’m not sure who was more shocked of our paintings… Emily or me? Paint Nite_0006 Emily…thanks for leading me through this night’s painting. It was so much fun!!  You should totally check out a Paint Nite near you… it’s a really fun night! If you are in Peterborough or Lindsay—you should totally join one of Emily’s next nights… (however, I’m sure all the paint nite hosts are just as fabulous…but Emily is awesome!) Paint Nite_0008

I’m so glad we are still friends…seems like a lifetime ago when we met at LIT’97. (Oh wait it kind of was a life time ago eh? 19 years ago?…) Glad we can still enjoy life’s adventures and have fun laughing.

Making Artisan Bread- Dough for $$$Dough$$$

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Today I ended up doing something I wanted to do for over 4 years!!! My friend Pat started doing Artisan Bread workshops in order to raise awareness and money for Seva Canada.   This was way back in 2012.  I was up in Pangnirtung seeing all Pat’s Facebook posts about making awesome bread in Winnipeg—even though I couldn’t smell it drove me crazy!

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Pat decided to combine her love of baking and teaching by giving something back to people that need the gift of sight. Seva has been working to do this…and a $50 donation can help change someone’s life! It blows my mind that something so simple can totally change a life… anyways.

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In the fall of 2014 Pat put out a Facebook message to her friends to see if they wanted to donate to help her reach a fundraising goal at that time.  I decided after researching a bit more about Seva it was something I wanted to support so did an online donation.  Pat so far has raised $18, 290  for SEVA by offering workshops! She promised me a bread making workshop the next time I was in WInnipeg… fixed (1 of 1)

I was so excited to join 3 other friends to learn how to make bread.  Pat did not disappoint!! We were Pat’s 58th bread workshop and numbers 211, 212, 213 and 214 that have baked in Pat’s kitchen.

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Pat had pre-made dough to make a seeded oat bread.  She started off with the teaching… how to slash bread, why we need to do that (to let steam escape) and then how to ‘throw’ a loaf into the oven onto the stone… (3 different ways)! At times I felt so overwhelmed with the information…but Pat was there step by step to reassure and help us out!
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Cloaking the dough was another new term I learned—basically it’s getting handling your dough ball to get all the gluten lines in a row. Dough for $$$Dough$$$_0006 Dough for $$$Dough$$$_0007 Dough for $$$Dough$$$_0008

Perfect dough… now to flatten it out to make Focaccia.  So yummy… or as Pat said, “Pizza dough without the cheese and sauce!” Dough for $$$Dough$$$_0009

Throughout the workshop we all took turns doing different steps of the process.  When it was my turn to ‘cloak’ the dough it was quite the experience.  I was nervous—because you shouldn’t handle the dough too much… and it was too sticky…(I didn’t put enough flour on it). But I got through it…with Pat’s calm help and guidance and ended up with a perfect dough ball. Dough for $$$Dough$$$_0010

It was fun when we moved onto the tasting portion of the day!!! OMG-this bread is so yummy… I can’t wait to get back to my own kitchen to make some more bread. Dough for $$$Dough$$$_0011

It was an awesome 4 hours of talking and learning… something that was well worth the wait! Dough for $$$Dough$$$_0012

 

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UPDATED (July 12th):

I thought that the workshop might be the end of my baking journey…but as luck would have it one of my assignments in my classes was to “learn something new”. I talked with Pat and went over to her house to bake in her kitchen again. She was gracious enough to take these photos of me baking a 1lb loaf and an orange-cranberry swirl from the master dough recipe!

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It was so awesome to see that I had remembered a lot of the steps. If I had a question Pat was quick to help out…but for the most part I proved to myself that I could do it!

Making the master bread recipe… 4 ingredients…so easy!

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…this danish dough whisk is awesome… I need to get me one of these bad guys! Dough for $$$Dough$$$_0019

After it’s all mixed up it had to rise for 2 hours in the bucket…then you can bake with it….OR keep it in your fridge…the older the dough is the more ‘sour-dough’ taste it gets!

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…it’s as easy as 1, 2, 3… when you have an excellent Bread Mentor and teacher! Once you have the master bread made…you can do so many things with it!
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The Cranberry-Orange Swirl is such an amazing bread…Dough for $$$Dough$$$_0016

…you just have to add the extra stuff.. then roll it all up, then let it rise for an hour! Then pop it into the oven.
Dough for $$$Dough$$$_0017 Thanks again Pat for your help and opening up your kitchen for me.  You have such a huge heart and I’m so glad I can call you my friend. If you are in Winnipeg and interested in a workshop let me know…I can see if Pat’s available!

Quilting 104: Push to the Finish Line…

It’s been awhile since I have updated you about my first quilting project! I’m excited to say that my first queen-sized quilt is FINISHED…and so thankful for all the help I’ve gotten along the way from my quilting mentors Laura and Johanna—without you two I wouldn’t have gotten this project finished.

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The last two years have been pretty busy…with work and life but I have been slowly spending time working on hand quilting my quilt.  I worked on it in Pangnirtung and even took it on the road with some of my trips I took for work…working on it in Arctic Bay, Resolute, Grise Fiord and Iqaluit. Quilting 104_0023

These photos took place all over the place! It was fun to join some other like-minded quilting friends when I was in Iqaluit the summer of 2014.  That’s where I met my friend Johanna who became a friend and quilting mentor. Quilting 104_0024

Over the Christmas holidays I pulled my quilt out after not touching it for over 6months… I had the last 4 blocks to finish.  Slowly but surely…I finished off those corner blocks.  The hand-quilting stage was done of this project. (Finally after a year and 1/2 of hard work…)

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I made plans to visit my friend Johanna…who had moved to Trenton, Ontario to finish up my quilt.  I had no clue how to ‘square it off’, make a binding and bind a quilt.  She was the one that helped me bring my quilt to the finish line.

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This past weekend I was enjoying time with her while the temperatures were frigid outside!

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It was so lovely to join Johanna in her quilting studio… some day I’ll have a sewing room like this…until then I’m going to join you in yours….if that’s ok! Quilting 104_0026

…Johanna taught me all kinds of tricks and tips for sewing the strips for the binding together heaps faster.
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So excited to cut off the excess of my quilt but also a bit worried I might mess it up after all the work that I had done so far…(But don’t worry I didn’t mess it up!) Quilting 104_0028

Cutting strips 101… measure twice and cut once!

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…sewing seems to be a repeat of ironing, pinning, and sewing!
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…turning a few corners, and onto the finish line.  Johanna had this awesome ‘new’ way of completing a binding…no hand sewing–but instead this really awesome finish with a gorgeous dark flange. Quilting 104_0033

I think I spoke too soon… I had to hand sew my label on the back.  It’s important step–every quilt need a label to tell it’s story. Quilting 104_0034

” My first quilt… December 13, 2013- February 14, 2016.  Fabric from my Gramma’s collection–with childhood clothing scraps plus my mum’s maternity dress scraps. All cutting & machine piecing done in Pangnirtung, Nunavut. Hand quilted in various Nunavut communities & finished in Ontario. Quilting mentoring and support from Laura & Johanna.  (Candy Store Pattern)”

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The finished project… still makes me SMILE every time I see it on my bed! Things I learned were that even though the project might seem crazy large…break it up in steps and you can figure out it!

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Here’s the other posts where I’ve talked about my Quilting Project:

Quilting 103

Well I suppose it’s time for an update about my quilting project!  This week I finally finished all the sashing for my quilt–sewing my 20 blocks together to finish my quilt top.  On Friday night I had a few friends over…my quilt ‘mentor’ was there… I surprised her by pulling out my completed quilt top! Quilting 103- 008

It was a bit of a process as I had to cut the sashing and then add some more material to make the sashing long enough.  With the help from ‘the google’ I learned how to join two pieces of fabric with a horizontal seam.  (Didn’t take any photos of that process!) Quilting 103- 010

At this point I had joined all the blocks into rows then started the process of joining the long sashing to finish up the quilt top…trying to make sure everything was square.
The quilt top is done…laid out on the floor to get measurements so we could figure out how much material I need to cut for the backing. Quilting 103- 003

The only material I bought for this quilt was the backing…everything else I used from my Gramma and Mum’s sewing scraps.  The ladies who sold me the backing at the quilt store did the calculations on how much they thought I’d need….apparently they thought I’d need about 5 meters more than I used.  So I have enough material to use as backing for future projects.  It’s a good thing I liked the material.

Ironing the miles of fabric I had…thank goodness my friend had a LARGE ironing board!! mine was just too tiny to try to iron this!  Then we wrestled with the large amounts of fabric to cut two pieces to sew together for the backing…
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Then together we started the sandwiching process… first you lie down the quilt back with the right side down….we didn’t have a table quite large enough, so ended up taping this fabric to the bottom side of the table.

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Then we took the batting…and cut it down to size and laid it down on top of the quilt backing.  Then we took the top and put it down.

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Then came the fun job of pinning all three layers together with special curved safety pins. I was short of these…so we had to do a bit more basting.  Basically starting in the middle and stitching it with a loose stitches to help keep the layers together during the quilting process. Quilting 103-006…so after almost 5+ hours…the backing was completed, batting was cut and the quilt top was sandwiched. I still have a bit more to baste before I can start quilting…but for now, the quilt is coming along nicely.  There’s still quite a bit of work left to be done before I can put this beauty on my bed.

Here’s the other posts I’ve done about my Quilting Project:

 

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