Wednesday, 16 August 2017

Apple Blossom Purse

Today it feels like it was a very long time ago, when the apple trees were blooming - the most elegant, intriguingly delicate with its shades of pink to crimson glory, the apple blossom inspired so many poetic confessions. 

My poetic confession today is with this purse, I ended up loving so much...

It is a pure revealing of my soul - such a pretty, not screaming pink, my favourite ever, characteristic in texture fabric, embroidery, Japanese-style design, absolutely cool and unique handle and great size...

I have always wanted to make a big bouquet of apple blooming branches for my picture album, but I have never had the heart to cut them. That is how the idea of copying one of the blossoms and embroidering it was born.

It was late April, when my lonely apple tree was blooming. I took the impossible challenge to draw one of the tiny branches, staring hopelessly at the tree, as if there was a power in it, that could lead my hand into somehow representing this innocent beauty... 

I took all my stash of embroidery floss from pink to crimson red and greens out and started looking for the right colours. It had to look real, as if it was a picture taken. Well... the sun was playing games with me, undermining my work, the wind wasn't helpful either, making the leaves dance... I fought with them with all my creative ability, just until I had the closest possible realistic colours. And what an inspiring fight this was in between the sun kisses and the wind hugs...

After this adventure of creating the perfect blossom, it was time to work with thread and fabric for the so desired image of the apple blossom.

By the time I was done painting with the needle on my favourite canvas of HAORI fabric the real apple blossoms were gone, sacrificing their life for the fruit growing to start.

I had my image of the blossom now forever painted on my fabric. What to do with it, was another decision I did not want to make lightly. So I left it on my working table to look at it every time I do something else, to inspire me, until I see in my heart what I want to make with it.

And here it is - the purse.

I adapted a pattern by Yoko Saito from one the many books, written by her in my library, that give me such inspiration.

I used the new Spring-Summer 2017 fabric from HAORI for the back and the bottom and the classic solid pink for the front. The handle is from my so favourite deep green, with which I have made so many items. I think it will end up being on every item I make with HAORI :)

Zipper is the happy LECIEN Jelly zipper - I love these zippers! I lined it with regular light weight cotton in matching colour.

The purse is free-style hand-quilted on the front and I followed the gentle lines of the print on the back and on the front right side, to create more contrast and drama. 

The handle is embroidered with feather stitch, using variegated sashiko thread. I also applied that stitch on the front, where the two fabrics meet. For those of you, who read my posts for quite awhile now, you know my love for the French knot is limitless. I can not have embroidery theme without it. It makes my feather stitch so much more interesting...

That is about it for the purse. My girls fought over it, without realizing the more they fight, the prouder I was becoming with myself (without my nose pointing too high), and most certainly, I can not share the purse with neither of them (how would I choose who will have it, and I can not make the same one ever), so it stays for me. And it makes me happy - it is a rear thing to make something for myself, so I am planning to enjoy this moment.

Thank you for sharing the moment with me! 
I hope you have so much inspiration in your days, because without inspiration, the soul and heart are sad.

Happy summer days, my friends!

Monday, 14 August 2017

'Goat' Lunch Bag

I am looking at the calendar and can not believe the numbers. All these squares, well placed in order, only point out to me, that August is half gone and soon to be September. How weird is that? I have a feeling the summer have just started and is already dripping through my fingers.

Getting ready for school is the first sign of the going away summer. This year, my little daughter wanted to have a new lunch bag - something different from all the lunch bags out there, something fun. She loves animals, so here it is the choice for my next project with DailyLike Canada - an adventurous lunch bag. 

Materials used:

1. 0.5 yards Daily Like Canada Goat oxford cotton for the face of the bag and for inside of handle
2. Fat Quarter Daily Like Canada Green Land cotton 20C for binding
3. 0.5 yards Daily Like Canada Lace Flower laminated cotton for lining the body
4. Daily Like Canada Webbing Strap , colour: khaki 
5. Pellon Flexi-Foam, one -sided fusible
6. Cotton batting
7. 45 cm zippers for the bag body and the pocket

The laminated cotton is really soft and easy to work with. It protects nicely the inside of the bag, without adding any weight to it. 

I chose to work with contrasting in colour zippers, that accent nicely the lace flower print on the laminated fabric. My working length of the zippers is 45 cm - way longer than the needed size, especially for the pocket (the measured length is 35 cm). Because of the curve on the pocket, where it limits the freedom of sewing, I chose the longer zipper, that allowed me wider opening while creating the pocket and afterwords, when it was time to even the edge at the bottom of the bag, I just cut the zipper to the desired length. 

I designed the bag to fit a bento box with certain size. My need for the bag was to be narrow at the bottom and taller, so it could fit in the regular size school backpack. There is nothing worse than hand-holding a lunch bag in the winter or in cold windy weather. The wind goes through gloves and mittens, and while waiting for the school bus, that sometimes is late in bad weather, hands stay in the jacket pockets, well protected.

I designed the front pocket with one inside pocket to carry cutlery, napkin, little bottles of dressing or spices, or just a packet of biscuits.

The fabric quantity is enough to make an extra bag for small agendas, pocket format dictionaries or just a sandwich.

I attached my signature button at the front and a piece of matching webbing strap on the back, crocheted the edge with colour, matching the zipper and handed these beauties to my girl. She got so excited!

The pattern for the lunch bag could be found in my happy shop

Lunch Bag Pattern by Ivelina
Well, it is a start, getting ready for school! And I found a reason to appreciate the last few weeks of summer even more. I hope you find the way to enjoy the season without stress and savour it in full.

Thank you so much for spending time with me!
Wishing you wonderful days ahead, full of adventures!

♥ Ivelina

Friday, 11 August 2017

The Place of Freedom

One magnificent thing about the birds is their ability to fly - the powerful, one of a kind taste of freedom only they could achieve naturally. 

Southwestern Ontario is a place to celebrate so many different kind of birds. There is this small dot on the geographic map - Point Pelee, that appoints the most southern part of Canada, where the birds organize their annual assembly in early spring and "invade" the territory, spreading colour and joy all over. But this is not the subject of my story. I will take you to a place where one could feel like a bird for a moment, looking at the Earth from above, but without the freedom of soaring in the air; and to a unique island - a small but vibrant bird community.

Cape Breton Highlands National Park is one of the most beautiful places I have ever been to. Even if you don't have the ability to hike, it is worth driving all around the park and savouring the views from every angle. And when you reach your starting point, just do it again in the opposite direction, to be again amazed by the same sceneries from a different point of view. And than - do it again - I guarantee, you will see new beautiful places. 

Today's adventure is the East part of Cabot trail, starting from the small but picturesque Baddeck and the goal is to conquer Franey trail and Middle Head. In the Park Map , they are marked as #22 and #24.

Franey is described as 'Steep climb to panoramic views of Clyburn River canyon and Atlantic Ocean. - 2-3 hrs/8.1 km.' I got hooked at panoramic views of canyon and ocean. I guess I missed or underestimated the 'steep climb'. 

This trail is totally worth the hard effort - I felt it in my bones and joints afterwords (for days), but the  view... well, lets just say, that you get to experience the feeling of how tiny we are, compared to Nature. 

After the rough path of gravel, the trail leads to a steep rocky climbing area, that is perfectly tolerable. At the steepest sections, it is well equipped with stairs, that make the climbing more comfortable, but doubtfully easier. At one point, I had the feeling we are climbing straight up, on a 'staircase to Heaven'. And it was.

There so many beautiful places to stop and enjoy the little things. The plants are really pretty and perfect. It is a unique combinations of sunny spots and super shady shelters, of steepness and evenness, of anticipation and eagerness. The thing that is not a variable here, is the beauty. 

And just when you think you have seen it all, you captured so many beautiful pictures for your mental album, when your legs are all tired, but continue moving, because if they stop, it hurts, just then, you climb on the roof of this place, where there is no more climbing, no changing scenery, no existence as you know it.

What the eyes see is never possible to be captured by a camera. Eyes look with the heart. Right here, in this ginormous red chair, you get to experience the ability to see with every beat of your heart. It stops being about the beautiful image in front of you, it becomes a feeling - with all five senses of your body you feel this place. Only here, it is possible to look at the Earth from above and stop identifying yourself as a human, but as a particle of the Universe. 

I am not going to spoil this amazing trail with any more pictures. It is a 270° view of Nature in its purity.

The little land, in the middle of the picture above is our next visit - the Middle Head trail. From above, the red roofs of Keltic Lodge are visible, and I still had no idea what beauty they are in close-up. 

As I mentioned before, when traveling along the Cape Breton Highlands, or Cabot Trail, it is worth doing it more than once and in opposite direction. Same applies for Franey. Climbing down  seems easier and it is a constant reveal of South Bay Ingonish.

Before reaching to Middle Head, Keltic Lodge welcomes every visitor with its beautiful garden and places to rest, in front of simply built in classical red and white romantic houses.

Middle Head trail is long, but nice to walk and really calming. There are few places on the way to the rocky resting area where you reach the Bay, opening your horizon towards the limitless ocean. 

The National Park is not the only place to visit in Cape Breton Island. There are so many other mesmerizing spots here, that capture my attention. One adventure, that I can not say "No" to, is: 

The Birds Island

It starts with a boat tour.

There are two tours that are offered in Cape Breton. We chose the Bird Island. This is a family of four (five, if you count the boat), that lives and works on this fabulous place, where Bra D'or lake and the Atlantic hold hands. 

The captain, a Dutch seaman, started visiting the Bird's island with his grandfather and during the trip, really opens people mind for facts, not written in the books and not studied at school. Life here looks really simple, when one comes from busy life of the big city, but when I listened to the stories and the problems these people stand against, I realize, that it is a fight for survival and they have so many difficult decisions to make, not only concerning their life, but the  life of the land they live on, the development and maintenance of the area of their living. 

When I say 'visit' the island, don't make the mistake of picturing yourself getting in touch with it. Here, people are very protective of their gifts from Nature. The strive for preserving as much as possible what they have is really strong, and, of course, it comes from the knowledge they earned by making mistakes in the past, but the passion behind it is absolutely admirable. 

The captain "walked us" around the island and shared so much information, I could tell, he loves what he is doing with all his heart. The wind and sun weren't merciful to him at all but in every white hair and every wrinkle, there was so much experience and love he was collecting for the last 45 years.

Coming back to the land is not in any way less beautiful adventure. There is a big land around with chairs for resting, benches and swing, and we stayed there for quite awhile to soak all the peacefulness and charm of life close to Nature. 

Wave to fishermen, when you see them. People here are extremely friendly! This place turns you into a better person. Vanity here can not survive. Only Nature rules.

If you have a chance, visit this amazing part of our planet! I promise, you won't regret it. If you don't have a chance, come back here again, I have more to tell you.

Thank you for sharing this moment with me! 

Monday, 7 August 2017

"Thyme with friends"

How beautifully!... thyme with friends! Is it about spending 'time' with friends, is it about the friends of the thyme, or it is simply about all of the above? In any case, the idea of Kris Lammers, while designing this fabric for Maywood Studio, to name this magnificent collection so playfully, is absolutely amazing! 

I love every single element: the herbs, the tiny blossoms, the details in the print, the sharpness of the plants, the cursive signs and the realistic leaves. This collection is so vivid and unique, I can smell the herbs, and I can feel their calming effect on me, while working on this project. 

My love for Nature provoked my curiosity for healing body and soul majorly with herbs as soon as my first baby was born. And for the past eighteen years, I have been studying the unique power of the plants and their effect on the immunity and life in general. I am still learning, and for all those years I realized, that there is always going to be why-s, since there is always 'right' against 'wrong'. The stronger the evolution grows, the more theories are 'discovered', the more controversy has been created and more fighting opinions will challenge the truth. I had chosen to accept a theory that my heart is willing to adopt, following the simple principles of science. 

(front view)

I made this organizer, following the pattern of Tatyana. She is an extraordinary master of creations. Among the cute little Christmas tree ornaments, she creates so many useful items that make my eyes crossing paths of sight... There is always such elegance and perfect execution in her projects! Her standards are the highest I have ever came across. 

This travel organizer as she created it to be, turned out as my most precious "Heal with Nature"  organizer, that travels with me everywhere. On every trip, no matter how long, I am always prepared with the most essential items, my family may need. I have my information leaflets and my prescriptions as well as my little tubes.

The journal is a very important part of my homeopathy journey. It contains a years of experience and is very useful for times when I am not sure of the right potency. 

I could keep one on the left side of the organizer, and/or one in the hidden pocket to the right side.
With so many pockets, it is not a challenge to find where anything is, because Tatyana properly organized the pockets in such a manner so my items are always at a glance. 

The above image is the first step of opening the organizer.

Opened organizer in full. (above)

There is one movable part, that could hold paper materials, when turned on the left side , or carry pencils, pens and a small ruler, when opened to the right (below image), revealing three more pockets underneath. This is simply amazing!

The protectors of the skin are well guarded behind the calming chamomile pocket with antiseptic super powers:

I love my new organizer! It is not only a celebration of the most aromatic herbs, but a practical companion. 

Thank you for stopping by, dear friends!

Smell the herbs and be happy!
♥ Ivelina