A Leafy Package

Maple Leaf Quilt Pattern | Whims And Fancies


Fall Maple Leaf pattern on Etsy


Last week we had a couple of nights with clear skies and they were moonless nights too.  Naturally, I spent the extra time I had outside with the telescope.  I am glad I did, because since then it has been too cloudy or hazy for stargazing.  Now I am back indoors again tending to my other interests.  The night sky reminded me of the little swap Kris and I did recently from this Maple Leaf quilt pattern I drafted around autumn.  We talked about doing the swap last year and decided on no due dates and therefore, no pressure.  We would mail it to each other whenever we finished.


I wanted to add a little touch of whimsy to the leaf I made for her, so I added some blue to the autumnal orange.  There is a little creek that flows through the park in downtown Sonoma.  In Autumn, lots of ducks play in it alongside the floating leaves.  Every time a duck puts its head in the water, a set of concentric circles ripples through the water.  That’s what gave me the idea of quilting her mini with concentric circles.



Raw Honey Yellow Fingerless Mitts | Whims And Fancies


Raw Honey Fingerless Mitts, Pattern by Alicia Plummer


I also made these yellow mittens for her.  I was a little worried about the sizing but she said they fit her “like a glove”.  I also had no idea when I made them that they would match her coat too!  She had a long winter this year, so I sent a her a little California sunshine in the form of yellow mitts.  Ironically, it was raining very hard here when I was knitting them for her!



Sherlock Holmes - Must Be The Truth Drawing



Kris has a wonderful teenage son and I had to include something in the package for him. We share a few common interests and Sherlock Holmes is among them. I mentioned before how much I love the famous detective. Although I love the current Sherlock series from BBC, Basil Rathbone will always be my Sherlock Holmes. I regularly watch the movies and listen to the radio dramas starring him and Nigel Bruce, I adore them. I kept on thinking about how to draw a Sherlock Holmes sketch. It had to be old-school but timeless, and this is what I came up with.


I got a photo via email from Kris with this drawing framed on the young man’s desk.  I was so overwhelmed with joy that I was speechless!



Maple Leaf Mini Quilt From Kris | Whims And Fancies



This is the beautiful leaf I got from Kris. I have no words to describe how much I love this little quilt. As I took the leaf out of the package, my husband exclaimed, “Wow! It’s so you!!” I could be that leaf floating through space.  She also included a bunch of spacy blue fabric, charm packs, fun crafty stuff and my most favourite – the typewriter pad. I usually use sepia-coloured ink in my fountain pen, very fitting for the typewriter notebook, don’t you think?!! This was such a lovely package she put together for me. It was a perfect, wonderful, impromptu swap!



Update – I got a few requests for the leaf pattern, it’s available on Etsy.



Sidewalk Cafe On Make Modern

Sidewalk Cafe Quilt Mugrug Pattern For Coffee | Whims And FanciesLate last year, I swore I would not digress and would concentrate on finishing my current projects.  Then I got an email from Kristy at Make Modern magazine.  I wrote back to her about my self-imposed restriction.  However, it is such a beautiful magazine and Kristy is so wonderful and understanding in her email replies, I kept on thinking about a quick project I could submit after all.

I consider myself more of a traveller than anything else.  One of my favourite things to do while travelling is to experience local food and watch life take place around me. I am also a tea and coffee addict, so cafe stops are a must for me.  Earlier I had made a preliminary sketch of this Sidewalk Cafe quilt pattern for the traveller and coffee lover in me.  I finished the design and presented it to Make Modern.  Now it is part of the March issue of Make Modern magazine along with full instructions for the mug rug and the templates to make the cafe quilt block.


Sidewalk Cafe Quilt Mugrug or Wall Hanging Pattern | Whims And Fancies

British motor racing green was what I was thinking of when I was choosing fabrics for this block.  I don’t even remember exactly when I started reading the Sherlock Holmes books as a child.  When I got ready to add the name of my sidewalk cafe, the street address of the world-famous detective’s residence was the first thing that came to my mind.  I used acrylic pencil and fabric medium to draw it.  Then I used a coffee swirl pattern to quilt the mini.  I can’t really decide if I want to use it as a mug rug or as a wall hanging.  Change out the fabrics and the names to make multiple blocks, then stitch them side by side to make a row of cafes – that would make a nice table runner too.


Stone Bridge Drawing | Whims And Fancies

I also often draw from the photos I take.  I really like to draw when my mind is in need of a little focus, and last weekend called for such an occasion.  I got lost in this stone bridge drawing for a little over two hours.  The drawing is still at a very early stage and it will probably take me another 4-5 such weekend sessions to finish drawing and inking this piece. Although I love doing my design work on the computer,  I enjoy the process of drawing on paper so much more.

Happy creating,

My Little Atelier

Sewing Room

This Saturday it will be a whole year since we moved to our new place in Napa.  Before that we lived in a loft apartment where my workplace was divided into two rooms.  I did my office work and design work at the computer in the loft and my artsy work at the corner of the big living room where I had a second desk and a cabinet.  When we were looking into buying a house, my husband insisted that I have a room that I can call my own.  I thought it would be nice to celebrate that occasion with a tour of my “Little Atelier”, which is what he calls this room.

I painted the room a cool blue-gray colour that was inspired by my favourite season – Winter.  This is my sewing desk.  The sewing supplies are stored in a lovely fabric basket sent by Cheryl.  She also sent me the cathedral window pincushion that is resting against the fabric basket.  My most favourite wall hanging – “My Best Enemy” – is on the main wall and my little acrylic painted crest is on the wall to the left of the window.  I saved a small branch while trimming a tree in our backyard last weekend, the crest is hanging from that now.

I love the night sky and that takes centre stage in this area.  There’s a HUGE Map Of The Universe poster on the wall.  On the desk there’s a Lego space shuttle and a Mars hug-a-planet ball.  Keeping with the theme, a little bit of Doctor Who also sneaked into this area of the room.   A blueprint of the sonic screwdriver of the tenth Doctor is on the wall and a Tardis clock sits on my desk.

Sewing Room

A wider view of that corner

The sewing desk is actually an old dining table.  I love the large size of it.  I have some computer hardware programming items under that desk as well.   My violin and a mandolin are behind that desk, right by the floor lamp.

I have a large kitty bed on my computer desk for my beloved orange kitty who joins me every morning within ten minutes of my walking into the room.

Sewing Room

This is the “Shelf Around The Corner”, very much like the Shop Around The Corner.   It is more of a shelf of whimsical curios than anything else.  A lot of the things on this shelf were gifts, while some of them I collected during our travels.  Along with my computer programming and cosmology books,  I also keep a few of my favourite story books here, some of which are signed.  A new addition to this corner is the “Will Work For Books” magnet on the lamp.  My first-ever job was at a bookstore, so recently my husband got the magnet for me as a nod to that.

Aside from a variety of Florentine and other types of stationary papers, there are a multitude of other things on that shelf:  A couple of Venusian glass pens,  a little replica of a standing stone from Orkney, bejeweled spiders, a tiny little violin, some tiny chemistry flasks and beakers, just to name a few.  Tintin and Captain Haddock have been my best friends since I was a child, so I had to keep a Tintin pencil sharpener there too.  I have to work hard not to clutter this shelf up too much!!

Sewing Room

Right beside the shelf is my guitar and its amp.  I catalog my books, so new books always end up in that Fair Isle star fabric basket before they go on the shelf.  The serger, a few more books, rocks, mineral collections, etc. are stored in the closet.  The drawers at the bottom are perfect for storing my knitting supplies.  My pretty Doctor Who stitch markers and the Tardis wallet made by Caroline are also in one of those drawers.  The ironing table hangs behind the door.  My husband changed out the drawer pulls and the closet handles for nicer ones after I finished painting the room.

Sewing Room

These are the cabinets on the other side of the door.  Between the two cabinets are a few Lego sets, painting canvases and my other violin.  The cabinet on the left is my fabric cabinet, that’s all the fabric I own.  It is organised by projects and type of fabric.  There’s only one exception –  Amanda sent me a huge stash of novelty fabric from her own stash.  They are so much fun to look at that I left them at the top of one of the stacks.  This way I can see them and smile every time I open the cabinet.

The other shelf with the half doors is right by the sewing desk.  Inside the closed doors you will find yarn and sewing supplies.  I sometimes have Charlie joining me here, that cushion is for him to sleep on.  On the wall are two of my watercolour paintings – Northsea coast and a stone bridge on the isle of Mull.

Sewing Room

I love the painting supplies on this shelf.  When I walk into this room every morning, they are lit up by the soft morning light.   I love to play with large Lego sets and I usually sort the pieces before I start building.  That’s what’s stored on the second shelf along with a Lego biplane and the yellow pincushion from Kris.  The two boxes on the top shelf contain a few more quilting supplies.  On that shelf I also have a few prints acquired during our travels.  I need to frame those.  Hanging from the knobs is a little house sent to me by my dear friend Sil from Brasil.

It is not a large room, but many things happen here  – work, play, music, photography, painting, drawing, and sewing.  This room has to fit it all, and it is very much organised with that in mind.  With that said, I also made room for the little things that make me happy.

Happy Crafting!

Capturing A Little History

Jedburgh Abbey Doorway Details

Drawing of a doorway detail, Jedburgh Abbey, Scotland

In school, I was never very good at history, I always managed to only pass by the skin of my teeth.  I had the hardest time following the syllabus.  Whenever I came across an era that I liked, I researched, read and dove in, completely ignoring everything else that was being taught in the classroom.  The good thing about being a grown up is that now I can continue to do that without the pressure of grades.  I also don’t have to stick to just books, I can now travel to places of historic interest as well.  I love prehistory, archaeology and ruins.   That took me to Scotland twice.

Sword Relief On Stone From Iona Abbey

 Drawing of a stone relief, Iona Abbey, Scotland

I recently started drawing again after a long hiatus.  I missed the scratching sound of pencil on paper too much.  I went through my Scotland photos and picked out a few to draw.  In the evening after a long day, it’s wonderfully relaxing to revisit the places through drawing while listening to some comforting old TV show or movie.  I think these drawings would make nice embroidery designs too.

DSLR Camera Quilt Pattern

I could not have done these drawings without my trusty camera.  I made the SLR camera pattern many months ago and never got around to making it.  My friend Amanda recently made this pillow from that pattern.  I squealed in joy when I saw the picture.  I LOVE the way she quilted it.  I already told her that I am going to copy that quilting design when I make my quilted camera.