Saturday, 5 July 2014

Forever and never

Hello there.

Things are moving ahead and the dust is literally settling down around here. Since I last wrote a proper blog post, quite a few things have happened. We have packed-up-or-trashed all our worldly possessions.
Empty, empty, finally empty!

We have moved into our temporary housing. It’s not top notch, but it’s temporary, so it’s ok. Our house has been demolished and the building site is being excavated to make room for the new house in which not only husband and I will live, but also our young ones who will have a separate apartment downstairs.
The gentle yellow dinosaur taking its first bite.

It has indeed been an interesting process, and I have enjoyed it very much, even the exhausting parts. Heading into this, I was debating with myself whether I should blog about the process, but myself and I agreed that it might be a bit too personal. I wish I had though, as it would make an interesting journal for me to keep.

You see, I had forgotten that a house does not make a home, people do. Some thing seems so significant that we want to hang onto them forever, and never let go, but forever and never are equally long and rather useless words to describe anything in the future, aren’t they.

Here are some of my forevers and nevers from the past few weeks:
- I never thought I would step away from my blog, and all other blogs, for weeks and weeks, but I did.
- I never thought I would draw on walls, but I went a bit marker-mad drawing smiley faces all over the first floor walls. It was so much fun. Not creepy at all.

- I never thought I would enjoy watching our house being demolished, but I did. I actually spent the morning sitting on a stool on the other side of the road, filming it. It was awesome. A two and a half week delay of the building permission helped; by the time we finally got it, I was sooo ready.

- I was feeling anxious about the move forever, but it stopped. I think I packed it into the first box. Wooosh, gone.
- I have let go of things that I would keep forever and ever.
- I never imagined making 20.000 decisions in a couple of weeks, but I did. Keep? Trash? Recycle? Donate? Store? Unpack? And this? And this? And this..
- I would never imagine how much dust and dirt that accumulates in a house during 21 years; now I know. Quite interesting, I’d say.
- Sometimes it felt like the packing/purging would go on forever, but it didn’t.
- I never expected finding myself walking outside in my pjs to take a shower next door, but I did.
- I never would have thought I would miss doing the dishes, but lacking a properly working kitchen sink, I do very much.
- It seems like the noise from the gentle dinosaur will go on forever, but the truth is that it will be done within the next week.

The rubble formally known as our house.

See the sewing machine which I drew on my former studio wall? Told you. Bananas.

The big hole in the ground in which we will all live in about half a year’s time.

Well, not in the hole as such, but in the rather funky new house. I was sold when I saw the face; who wouldn't love to live in a house with a face. 
Isn't the architect's model adorable, all those fabulous lines. Hmmm, how can I put this into a quilt..

I will not be spending too much time on my computer this month neither as I’ll be enjoying some hopefully-warm-and-sunny-non-house-related time with my family, starting tomorrow morning with a trip to Lillehammer to visit my family.

Have a lovely July and see you later!

Thursday, 29 May 2014

Of dust and boxes

In case you are wondering what on earth is happening at the Mrs Moen household, I am rather busy emptying 25 years worth of attic storage. It is hot and dusty and I am enjoying it way more than I thought I ever would - in between shedding a few tears for those ships that passed in the night. Some of them are dearly missed.

We are moving out on Monday morning, and it looks like the house is going down on Wednesday. Our temporary housing next door is clean and ready for us, and we are quite happy with our progress.

Hope to be back creating and blogging in my studio soon!

Thursday, 15 May 2014

"6 elephant march"

Despite the fact that it’s mid May and sunny, I was rather cold after a short after-bedtime-outdoor-photo shoot of the little kindergarten quilts yesterday. They were happily dancing in the cold wind, showing off their soft recycled backings to those passing by on the sidewalk.

The recipe is simple: locate a ziplock bag with 4 1/2” squares. Anything goes, but the more variety in colours, patterns and values, the better.

Stitch them randomly-ish together, 4 rows with 4 squares in each row.

Now locate the softest batting that you have stashed away because it is totally useless for free motion quilting. I had quite a few square meters of different kinds of batting resurfacing during the move, and I have vowed to use them before I purchase more. Also locate those soft recycled sheets you have rescued from the rag bin.

Baste the layers together with safety pins. Basting spray does not work very well with flimsy batting as the layers keep shifting.

Put your walking foot on, pick a fun stitch like the three-stitch-zigzag, and go.

Use scraps of binding or ready-made bias tape. The kids won’t mind, I promise. Normally I would stitch them down all by machine, but I needed some hand work. I didn’t plan it, but here we have almost a rainbow with the yellow, orange, pink, red, purple and blue bindings.

Put the quilts in the washer, dry them, enjoy the soft crinkliness, and hand them over. They can be used to teach colours, words, values, math and, most of all, they can be played with, cuddled with and loved. Not a bad destiny for a ziplock bag of simple squares I'd say.

The origin of the name of the quilts? Nowadays I have to sing one particular song when we are leaving the kindergarten. It’s about elephants and a spider’s web and goes on forever unless little man gets distracted as you just keep adding an elephant for each verse.

Lesson learned: I can use the rest of my hopelessly soft and flimsy polyester batting for cushions; they would be ever so soft and lovely and with the small sizes, the flimsiness of the batting is manageable when pinned properly.

You can see my first (and highly pink) batch of kindergarten quilts here. I am not sure they ever made it to the doll corner though as the staff used them as table toppers.

Thanks for stopping by!

Wednesday, 14 May 2014


Hello there; are you still out there?

I am sorry for the absence of Mrs Moen, but that just how life is right now. The purging/moving/demolition process is taking its toll even though we have barely started, but I’m having such a hard time with it. This is where I have spent some of my happiest days, and some of my most horrid ones; I have hated this place, and I have loved it. It is unsettling parts of my heart which I didn’t even know were there, but they are indeed and I have to deal with them. I cannot wait for this process to be over so I can move on. Waiting, waiting, waiting…

All righty then, enough of the heart-to-heart, it’s not all bad, you know. I have my studio space in which I am creating happy colour and happy noise to balance the unhappy out – and I am also enjoying lots and lots of time with our grandboys who are just that – grand.

Our Young Mr Moen is turning 7 today, and is having an all boy birthday party today and family party tomorrow. Oh man, he’s growing up so fast. I took him shopping for new glasses last week, and he wanted cool ones, not kiddie glasses. He looked cool indeed:)
Happy birthday, young man, we are ever so proud of being your grandparents!

I have also finished the soothing hand stitching of the binding on 6 little doll quilts for grandbaby’s kindergarten. He may not play with dolls himself, but I am assuming someone else do. They are also great tools for learning colours and values and words etc. 

They have been washed and are drying as I write this. He’ll be spending his regular night with me tonight while big brother is partying the afternoon away, and I’m planning for us to hand them over together tomorrow morning. There is a slight chance that he will claim them all as his Pupe, but I’m sure the kindergarten staff can handle that.

Oh well, off I go, kids to pick up, books to drop off; see you all later!

Tuesday, 29 April 2014

Happy spring

I have been enjoying spring lately although mainly from afar. It’s dandelion season and as dandelions are not my friends at all, I’m keeping indoors.

I am still working on moving stuff to the studio, but at a much slower pace. I had some friends over on Thursday evening for an impromptu get-together, and it was very nice indeed. I am planning to teach small classes in my studio, so their feedback about lighting and setup of worktables etc is important. I am very much looking forward to spending lots of time there with my fellow quilters as well as on my own.

Planning the new house is taking up a lot of brain activity, and this is only the beginning of a long process. We haven’t got a date for the demolition of our house yet, but it’s right around the corner, and it looks like we’ll be living in the house next door while our house is being rebuilt. I have to admit to feeling rather ambivalent to the whole thing, but I’m sure it will be great when it’s finished.

I am spending more time in my studio, playing with the content of my Treasure Box. It is very exciting, and I’m restarting new projects left and right, enjoying looking at the little bits and pieces with brand new eyes, like for instance these appliquéd flower blocks.
I cut out hundreds of different sized flowers for this quilt back in 2005-06 (Blooming dreams (2006), 90*120cm)

and some of the leftover flowers were appliquéd onto squares for this table topper which was a present for a friend of mine for her 85th birthday back in 2008 (Rogalandsblomster (2008)) – and with 9 blocks to spare  The rest of the flowers were from a block lottery at my guild.

The rest of the flowers were used on this quilt.

Having tied off the thread tails and stitched the blocks together, I auditioned a few border fabrics

and chose this one.

It has bright pink spots, not orange like the flowers, but I think that just adds more interest. The top is now finished and put aside in the to-be-quilted pile. Yes indeed, I am making a pile of finished tops for those days when my mojo is winding down again and I just want to quilt.

Do you do that too, save work for less creative days to come?

Thanks for stopping by:)

Sunday, 27 April 2014


I feel like I have been stepping back to 2003 this week as I have been playing with leftover squares from my one and only class with Kaffe Fasset. 

The initial plan of making a reddish quilt was abandoned and some blue neverending scraps added to the mix.

I am planning on keeping this as a slow project, so maybe you'll see it again in the foreseable future, or maybe not.

Best wishes for a pleasant Sunday from the Mrs Moen Studio!

Tuesday, 22 April 2014

Sunshine of a sunny day

Our Easter break at the cabin was filled with all kinds of sunshine. Even though someone was sick, someone didn’t sleep very much, and the waffle iron didn’t work properly, we had a wonderful time. It was grandbaby’s first time sleeping at the cabin and after a few hours of busy exploring, he settled down very nicely. It doesn’t take much to entertain a two year old, does it.

The birches are getting tall, all lean and beautiful and just sporting a light shade of green on the top

providing a wonderful backdrop for our red, white and blue.

Husband and I got our workouts keeping up with the little one and playing highly competitive bandyhockeysoccermatches on the patio with the big one. It is hilarious.

Other than that, I didn’t really do much of anything than being with my family. When we first started celebrating Easter up there, I would spend a lot of time in the kitchen making roasts of lamb and sauces that took forever and the in-laws would visit and we would eat a lot. Then grandson came along and I would rather spend the day with him so we started serving precooked chicken. Now that we are the proud grandparents of two little boys, we have moved even further away from the traditional Easter dinner, serving precooked beef burgers with an assortment of toppings and veggies. Happy lazy grandma:)

My knitting project was still safely tucked away in its bag when we went home, and my slow needlepoint project was also left untouched, but I did finish the hand stitching on Teddy’s Quilt which was handed over at school this morning.

So how was your holidays; did you spend them doing chores or happily relax them away?

Tuesday, 15 April 2014


Oh, dear sewing machine, how much I have missed your sweet humming.

I let chaos be chaotic for a few hours today and set up my machine on the worktable. As a first grader, grandson is learning English, and one of the teaching tools is Teddy. Teddy is a teddybear who travels through the class, spending a week with each student.

Amidst the moving chaos, we forgot to bring Teddy back to school on Thursday morning. I was horrified, I don't usually forget school projects like that, but here he was in his bright yellow bag with his clothes and accessories. After numerous apologies to grandson, I suggested that I would make a quilt for Teddy and today I did just that.

A leftover block, a piece of muslin and a tea towel strip, fabric markers and some fleece and the sweet humming of my machine - what a bliss. All that is left is to hand stitch the corners shut and tie off thread tails, and grandson can bring Teddy's quilt to school after the holidays.

And, now they also have an item beginning with the letter Q. I couldn't help but notice the lack of Q-illustrations in his Norwegian workbook. Thanks goodness grandma is a quilter, right.)

Thursday, 10 April 2014

Lek med garn class at Sandnes Husflidslag

Even a dedicated quilter on the move needs time off from the joy(?!) of creating a new studio space. This week I got two nights off, which was very much needed I’d say.

On Tuesday I went back to the ladies at Sandnes Husflidslag (previous post here) to teach another class – Playing with yarn. This is also a Layer upon layer class, and you all know how much I love those. Fortunately I have packed everything I needed for the class a few weeks ago or they might have been lost in the black hole that currently is my studio.

Watching the students happily play along, adding a little dash of this and hint of that as we look at each project through the process.

Seeing strands of yarn being transformed into these little works of beauty never stops to amaze me.

Aren’t they just beautiful!
Thank you for having me over again!

If you would like to see pictures from our guild meeting last night, you will find them posted here. The text is in Norwegian, but I have added a translate button to the sidebar so you should be sort-of-able-ish to understand anyway.

Thanks for stopping by!