Saturday, October 31, 2009


dress: McCall's 5207
crown:  the long thread
owl bag: the long thread
jack-o-lanterns: courtesy of Lizzi, Nathan, Abby and Ellie
girl: not available/one of a kind
mama: thankful to be away from the sewing machine (finally!)

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

One down!

I finished the first christmas present for this year's gifting!!!

Obviously, I'm not going to divulge what it is, or for whom. You're welcome to make guesses though...

Monday, October 26, 2009

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Friday, October 23, 2009

40 (forty) [the big four-oh]

Much fun was had. Games were played. Food was eaten.

I don't feel any different than I did when I was 39.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Please, Mama, teach me to knit

Just finger-knitting for now... but she still wants to learn to knit with sticks. That's my girl!

Tuesday, October 20, 2009


My 40th birthday is fast approaching. Really fast. Like 3 days from now fast.

I was asked the other day about my wishlist, and couldn't really come up with anything.  So, consequently, I've been thinking about it.

I realized that a lot of the things I reallyreally want are intangibles. Not world peace or anything... I wouldn't know what to do with that. But peace in my house, that I could enjoy.

summer house: davidoss
I would like to be confident enough in my own creativity to do the things I want to do. It's not that I don't think I make beautiful stuff, it's just that I worry about how much I'm just copying other peoples' ideas. I want to start making purses and things to sell, but I don't want to be a copycat.

purse pattern: Liesl & Co
embroidery pattern: Posy Gets Cosy

I want to feel comfortable inside my own skin. Enough said.

Laugh and dance: pinklilyblossom
Of course, there are also "things" that I want. I'm not so cerebral as all that.

I want a serger... oh, how I miss having a serger! Sewing clothing is just not the same without one!

serger: JuliaVesper
And a new DSLR. I've been using a point-and-shoot which, while fine in its way, is not an SLR. And it's never been the quite the same since its inadvertent ducking in a pond...

16yo daughter: Can I borrow your camera to take on a Photography Club field trip?
Me: Yes, I suppose, but YOU NEED TO TAKE GOOD CARE OF IT!!!
16yo daughter (after the field trip): Ummm... Mom? I was playing with the settings on your camera, and I found this one setting that said "underwater", so I tried it, and... ummm... well...
Me: ARGHHHHHHHH!!!!!!!!!

Nikon d60: .PoCoK

And while we're talking wishlist here... I really want acreage. Where I can have chickens and a garden and a miniature Jersey cow. And maybe even a horse.

farm on 16th ave: David440

I want a swift and ball-winder.  

swift and ball winder: seemaknits

Boots. I want boots. But not just any boots... I want cute riding boots like these ones from Anthropologie.

sidesaddle boots: anthropologie
(While we're on the subject of that store, I just have to say that we need them to open a store in Canada. Need. I'm just saying.)

So. There it is. Me getting all uncomfortable because this post is all about me and what I want. And then realizing how silly I'm being, since it is my blog and all... but remaining embarrassed anyhow.... so carry on. Go read something else. Pretend I didn't just hit the 'post' button.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Sunday, October 18, 2009


I saw it. I loved it. I had to have it.

It's a gorgeous book, full of simply lovely patterns. All of them look very simple to sew.

Most of them are summery clothes, and summer is definitely over here, so I thought I'd adapt. I used the pattern for the 'dress with lace doily' to make a sleeveless pinafore dress out of a boiled wool fabric that I found.

I think it turned out rather well. Ellie loves it too!
I found this button in a thrift-store package, and decided it would be perfect. It's covered in a grey wool fabric (kind of hard to see in the picture, and now it's too dark out to re-take the photo).

I also added some pleated pockets using Made By Rae's tutorial, and I lined it so that it wouldn't stick to Ellie's tights (something I always hated when I was young!!)


Friday, October 16, 2009

Ramblings of an upset mind

Today I found out that I've been kind-of-blacklisted at a local yarn store.

I KNOW! A yarn store, right? Knitters are supposed to be kindly, easygoing people. Or so I thought.

But I was the subject of some (apparently) rather catty remarks. It doesn't feel very good.

swift: zanyshani 

What did I do to bring that upon myself? I asked (ASKED!) if I could use their swift and ballwinder to wind some yarn that I had bought online.

That's it.

When I went into the store, there were a few ladies sitting around knitting, and the store employees were chatting with them. The swift and winder were sitting idle. Nobody was even shopping at the time.

ballwinder: LollyKnit

I asked if I could wind my yarn, and was told that it would be okay, as long as it was yarn purchased at that store. I said that it hadn't been, and was told that then I couldn't wind it there. Okay, then. That's fine. And then the woman I was speaking to implied that if I came back some other time, when there weren't any other customers present, that it would be alright for me to wind my yarn then.

But apparently, after I left, there was great discussion about how I could even think that it might be okay, and what kind of a rude person I must be, and how *could* that employee  even consider my request.

So I went in again this morning, to the now-empty store, and asked if it would be okay for me to wind my yarn. That's when I heard all about the kerfuffle I'd caused.

Black Water Abbey yarn: feydesigns

I totally understand that they want to keep the swift and winder for their customers' use... but I AM their customer. I buy most of my wool there. The only reason I'd bought this particular yarn online is because it simply isn't sold in stores, and "my" store didn't have a substitute.

Now I feel uncomfortable going back to that store. Which means that I'm that much more likely to buy more stuff online instead of locally. Which is kind of sad.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Queen of Hearts and Alice in Wonderland Costume Set GIVEAWAY!!!!

Queen of Hearts and Alice in Wonderland Costume Set GIVEAWAY!!!!

Holy smokes. Can you imagine doing all this work and then giving it away??? I'm gobsmacked, I tell you.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

And the winner is...

So, I went through the comments on the Studio post, and listed everyone who specifically asked to be put in the book draw in order of posting and numbered them. Then I asked the random number generator to choose one of you...

...and it picked Mary Anne of Magpie's Mumblings :)

Congrats, Mary Anne!

Monday, October 5, 2009

Soup Swap

I am contributing to a soup swap hosted by Jessica at Turkeycookies. I love soup. I could eat it every day. I love to have leftover soup sitting in my fridge, just waiting for me to eat it. The funny thing about soup is that it gets better and better the more times you reheat it.

This soup is something I found one day while looking for a low-budget, end-of-pay-period meal. It has turned out to be a huge hit with my family. I make it almost weekly, we love it so much!

Greek Red Lentil Soup Recipe

2 tbsp olive oil
1 medium onion, peeled, chopped
8 garlic cloves, chopped
2 carrots, peeled, coarsely chopped
1 tsp coarsely ground black pepper
¼ tsp hot red pepper flakes
2 tbsp chopped fresh or 1 tbsp dried oregano
1 tbsp chopped fresh rosemary or thyme leaves, optional
2 cups red lentils, rinsed, drained
8 cups vegetable stock
3 to 4 tbsp freshly squeezed lemon juice
Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
1 cup crumbled feta cheese
Chopped fresh parsley

Heat oil in large, heavy-bottomed saucepan over medium heat. Add onion; cook, stirring, about 5 minutes or until soft. Add garlic, carrots, black pepper, hot red pepper flakes, oregano and rosemary; cook, stirring, about 2 minutes more. Add lentils and stock. Bring to boil over high heat; reduce heat to low and simmer, partially, covered, until lentils are soft and falling apart, about 15 to 20 minutes.
Add lemon juice, salt and pepper. Serve hot soup in shallow bowls sprinkled with feta and chopped parsley.

Makes about 6 (generous) servings.

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Saturday, October 3, 2009

Open Studios virtual tour

So here's my space. As you can see, it's not very fancy. I share the room with the furnace, the hot water tank, the built-in vacuum, and our freezer. In an ideal world, I'd have painted the walls a soft turquoise, and there would be built-in cabinets instead of the random shelving that I've got. There would also be big windows - not one tiny little north-facing one that's half covered by the porch stairs outside... Ah, well. 

I do a lot of sewing, as well as knitting and paper art, so I've tried to divide the room up accordingly, but there is some overlap.

On the left-hand side of the room (facing in from the hallway) I have a small desk that I use for painting and mixed media art. I keep my paints and assorted goodies in the rolling stacked bins under the desk, and there are more paints and brushes and stamps and things in the shelves above it. As you can see, a lot of my fabric has migrated across to that side of the room as well... there's just not room for it on the other side! Also, I keep bins of fabric scraps and works-in-progress in the little closet-y area that also holds the vacuum canister. As you can imagine, it's a real pain to empty out that space when it comes time to dump out the vacuum! 

The other side of the room is where I do my sewing. My cutting table is tucked into the IKEA shelving unit, but can be pulled out if I need to use the entire space. The bins above the table hold my cutting tools (out of reach of the 4-yr-old), buttons, zippers, purse hardware, and other necessities. My larger pieces of fabric are kept in the big shelf unit beside the sewing machine. I like having them where I can see them - I tend to forget about things that are put away! Above the sewing machine are my boxes of yarn, sorted by weight. You can catch a glimpse, behind the sewing machine area, of my pride and joy of the summer... my pantry. It's tucked away under the stairs, along with all of our christmas things.

Signing up for this virtual tour was a real kick in the pants for me - getting the room organized and cleaned. I'm a messy worker, and I don't really like putting things away. One benefit, though, was finding out that I have two copies of the book Artist Trading Card Workshop by Bernie Berlin. If you'd like to have a copy, leave a comment saying so, and I'll draw a name in a few days.