Wednesday, January 1, 2014


Happy New Year to everyone.

I haven't posted on here since Oct 2012 and thought with the new year I'd make an effort to add something again.

My focus over the next few months will be Stitchers Guild's annual SWAP Contest. The contest started on Dec 26th and will run till Apr 30th. A previous made item is also allowed, so I finished up a raincoat.

This years format has us making three 3-packs and two wildcard items, each pack can include:

2 tops + 1 bottom or
1 top + 1 bottom + 1 outer layer
1 dress + 1 top + 1 bottom

So my plan is to have a grey/black pack with probably two tops and a skirt, a brown pack with pants and a blouse and another item and thirdly a more colourful pack with a metallic greenish skirt and a green/yellow print blouse and another item. My wildcards will be the black raincoat and something else, maybe a dress.

The idea is to make professional capsules for when I attend conferences.

I took two weeks vacation and have a quite a few of the pieces almost done. I will post an update when I can.

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Bias Strip Skirt

I finished the bias strip skirt yesterday, just in time to pack for my trip to South Africa. I really enjoyed the process. When I sew I hardly ever get to spend any length of time at the machine and pretty much make progress seam by seam when I get time. This project was completed while watching TV shows with my husband. I had the cutting mat and rotary cutter upstairs in the living room where I cut my strips and then ran downstairs during commercials to sew the strips together and press. Once the strips were made, it was measuring and pinning during shows and sewing onto skirt during commercials. Hooray for multi-tasking.

The skirt is very girly, but it is fun and cute, so not to be worn any time I want to be taken seriously.

Seeing the photos reminds me I need to add a hook and eye to the back.
I liked this project so much I'm bidding on a lovely fabric bundle on ebay to make another bias strip skirt. Next time though I will make an a-line skirt.

I won't be able to complete my 2nd skirt for the sew-along, as I'm leaving early Tuesday morning and just have too much to do.
 The Carnival of Skirts sew-along was just what I needed to get myself back in the sewing room, thanks to Faye for organizing.

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Skirt sew-along

I'm back at it..sewing that is.

With work and kids and many business trips, I've just not had time. But with talk starting on the SWAP challenge/contest again, I've realised that I really miss my sewing.

So I've joined a sew-along, the Carnival of Skirts started by Faye of Faye's Sewing Adventure. Basic rules are: 2 skirts, 2 ways in 2 weeks. Pretty simple.

I thought this sew-along would be a great way for me to get back into sewing and my creative juices have been flowing.
I've had a skirt muslin on my dressform for over a year, Butterick 4613, I've long since made a much loved skirt from this pattern and thought of it again when I was planning for this project.
However, another skirt caught my A-line skirt adorned with rows of bias-cut fabric strips in Sew it all Magazine, Vol 3 (sorry no photo available of the inspiration skirt), so long story short..I decided to use the skirt muslin and attach the strips to that.

I have decided on a pink floral theme for the fabrics. Two from my fabric stash, two from the local Fabricland, one vintage sheet and another vintage pillowcase.

The strips are cut and sewn together, now I just need to sew them to the skirt.

Below is how I like the placement, I'll be sewing the top of each of the 2 inch strips onto the muslin skirt with zigzag stitch and overlapping the next one by 1 inch. It looks like I might need to make a few extra strips to cover to the top of the skirt.

What do you think??
I plan to wear this skirt during my upcoming business trip to South Africa (during my free's too cute to be suitable for business meetings) and my family vacation to the Canary Islands.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Scarves, Fabric Painting and other stuff

I'm back again. Settling in to the new house and getting the kids into their school routines has taken up some time, but I finally have a day where I have to do absolutely nothing till I pick up the kids. My husband's out of town, so no surprise phone calls and unplanned errands. I know I should use this time to be job hunting, but I've been so busy and I'm tired. So I think I deserve to sit down and blog for once.

I showed you my sewing space in my last post and although the room isn't pretty at all, it is functional and it is in use. It is bliss to have everything together and because the room is away from everything else, I can spent time sewing without distractions. The disadvantage though is I'm not within sight and sometimes hearing range of the kids. You know the saying...when the cat`s away the mice will play, or in this case kill each other or break something or spill entire cups of juice on rug etc. So I`m finding it impractical to sew when the kids are home and hubbie is not.

I`ve been doing less sewing, but I`ve been knitting more. I attended a monthly knitting group and had such fun and was inspired by the easy ruffled and fluffy scarfs the ladies were knitting. So I`ve been knitting scarves. Since it is October and Breast Cancer Awareness month, I bought the Bernat Ruffelina yarn to make a ruffle scarf (proceeds to  Susan G. Komen for the Cure and Canadian Breast Cancer foundation). I`m almost done an eyelash yarn scarf using Bernat Boa in Parrot (purple shades) and also for another ruffle scarf I bought Red Heart Sashay in Tango (no need to guess my favourite colours, as I seemed to choose purple shades again).

The other hobby I`ve worked on is my fabric painting. I haven`t painted for about 4 years and I looked through my Painting UFO`s (unfinished objects) and found a painting I did of a Guinea fowl, a bird found in South Africa. I decided the colours would work well as a seat cushion for our outdoor furniture, so I made up a cushion slip with dark denim backing, added ties to attach to the chairs and within 45 minutes, I had that project completed. I have an unfinished table cloth using the same guinea fowl design, so I will either finish the table cloth and paint more for the cushions or I could cut up the table cloth and make more cushions from that. I also have a frog design painted in roughly the same size (which I cannot find to take a photo?) and an unfinished parrot. I could make each cushion in a different animal with the same bright colour scheme.
I also finished up six paintings of apples in a bowl which are destined to be placemats. I just need to sew up backings and finish them.
Once upon a time (about 7 years ago) I was planning to start a home business doing fabric painting and selling the paints I use, but then kids and moves with the military cancelled the plans. But I did order a whole bunch of the paints from South Africa, so I now have a great supply if I wanted to paint more often. It's actually a testament to the quality of the paint that they are still usable after such a long time. I sealed them up well with tape and they remained in a sealed tote in a closet so no air or light exposure. The paints in question are Crisitex and are available in South Africa and a limited few places stock them outside the country. These paints are brushed on using a paintbrush and just the outliners are in paint pen format.

I've taken photos of some of the projects in various stages of completion (excuse the creases, they've just been pulled out of boxes):

My completed cushion with guinea fowl

A set of six mats. Painting completed, must still sew up.

Detail on the apple placemat.

Parrot, possibly for outdoor cushion. Detail painting still to be completed.

Birds originally intended as a wall hanging, not my style anymore, but could work in the kids room or playroom. Lots of background painting to finish.

Tablecloth, featuring a cow, lily, pig and pumpkin in each corner.

Corner detail on tablecloth. Detailed painting still to be completed.

The paints I use from South Africa, Crisitex. 

That's enough for now, I'll try to find time to post pics of my completed scarves and other other tidbits soon.

As a last thought: I'm changing my blog to pink this month in honour of all those ladies battling breast cancer past, present and future. Think about doing the same. SAVE THE TA-TA's

Sunday, August 7, 2011

My New Sewing Space

It doesn't look like much now, still disorganized and a bit of a dumping ground for stray stuff, but it's MINE!!! I had my own room two houses back in Quebec, but I had to share the space in Windsor. I now have a 12 by 11 foot basement room with lovely closet space. In the last house I shared a smaller space with the computer desk, filing, a big bookshelf and my husband's clothes. I had to set up my cutting table in the room used as a family room/toy room. I can now fit the desk, cutting table, ironing board and dress form in one space. I have already started putting bags of fabric into the closet and have put all my seasonal, small or outdated clothes in the closet's hanging space. Unfortunately the plumbing issues we had on move-in day caused part of the room's ceiling to be removed, but it'll stay that way for now so that we can access the plumbing for the permanent repairs. I know this post isn't very exciting, but it is a way for me to be accountable and get working so I can share the "after" shots soon.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

I'm city, new house and a new adventure!!!

Hi all,

I'm back online after many months of house staging, selling and moving. I'm now trying to get our new house in Thunder Bay, Ontario in a state of organized chaos. Not so easy with two little maniacs on summer vacation. We've been in the house less than a week and it's starting to feel like home again.

My kitchen was the first thing to be totally unpacked, because as you know I love to cook and we were just sick of living off restaurant food for over a week and it's not fun dealing with  two hyperactive little boys at restaurants everyday. I did a massive meal planning session before we left Windsor and jumping back into things was really easy here. I was lucky enough to have brand new (never used) stainless steel appliances that came with the house and this kitchen has more counter and cupboard space. Unfortunately it also has small pokey bathrooms and a craptastic closet in the master bedroom. But I'm working on solutions to these issues. This older house also has some leaky plumbing issues that wasn't picked up during the house inspection, but luckily we have a friendly, helpful and handy neighbour who helped out and we have the leaks stopped. What else..oh yes, THE HEAT!!! We left Windsor during a heat wave and experienced humidex temps near 50 deg C, but at least we had central air conditioning.So we don't have air con here, but who needs it in Thunder Bay anyway, yeah right..we were totally wrong. I've been told that the weather is pretty much abnormal now (around 28-32 deg C) but we're having a hard time without air con. So lets (wo) man up and stop complaining.

Thunder Bay is just gorgeous!! I really missed nature living in Windsor and here it's just endless forests with streams and pristine lakes everywhere. We don't exactly have a view from our house now, but I've been told we might see some lake in the winter when trees aren't leafy. But just driving around is great. My husband and I were big roadtrippers before we had the kids and we just loved hopping in the car and trying a different road somewhere. We lived in Colorado when we met and married so we toured the whole South Western USA and parts of California. Now with kids it's a complete buzzkill listening to them fighting in the back. Although we like to time our weekend drives after they've had lunch and the drive makes them sleepy and mom and dad can enjoy some quiet time while they nap in the back. One of the great things about the whole moving process was the roadtrip. We headed North through Michigan, then re-entered Canada and followed the Northern shore of Lake Superior all the way to Thunder Bay. It was stunning and beautiful, mother nature at her best!!

I have no photos of my own to share right now, as I've been too busy to download anything. But below is the city landmark The Sleeping Giant across the bay.

I have an actual sewing room in this house, so no sharing, sewing and cutting and storing all in one space. But I don't foresee myself having much time this month to attempt any sewing. Speak to you again soon :)

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Cafe World Challenge Week 49

It's been over a month since my last post, but I've been VERY busy in my blog absence. We're moving in August so I've been busy getting the house ready for listing. A good friend of ours is our realtor and she's been helping me pack away all the excess stuff and stage our home beautifully. I am now absolutely besotted with the house again, at least we still get to stay in the 'new and improved' version for a few more months. While I've been working I've still fed my family and have 4 more Cafe World dishes to report. That means according to my final list...... I am DONE with my Cafe World Challenge. It was a self-imposed challenge to add a weekly component to my blog and keep it active, but now that it's done I'll try to keep posting, I'm a VERY slow sewist and I'm trying to not dominate my blog with excessive cooking stuff. My cutting table and my patterns and fabric have been packed away so I might be limited to the amount of sewing I can do in the next weeks. Hopefully the house gets sold quickly and I can move some of my sewing essentials back into the house. I'm still cooking yummy stuff, so you'll get a recipe here and there if there's time and definitely a post showing the house photos for the listing. I LOVE the way it looks now. I don't have before photos for every room, just the messiest ie. the sewing/computer room.

Anyway Happy Easter to everyone and on to the LAST Cafe World dishes.


I love Indian food. Need I say more. So even if this recipe was bad, it would have been great to me. But my husband seems to think it was good too, so it might be worthy of sharing. Tandoori chicken is grilled chicken marinated yogurt and spices. It can be prepared in a traditional tandoor clay oven or just grilled in the oven or on the barbecue. It usually has a red or orange colour, but mine came out a little more yellow. I used only ingredients I had at home so it was an experiment, but I do have a very well stocked spice collection.

Tandoori Chicken

1 lb (500g) chicken breasts
1 large onion, finely chopped


3 tbsp lemon juice
1 3/4 cup plain fat free yogurt
2 tbsp ground coriander
2 tbsp turmeric powder
1 tsp garam masala
1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
1/2 tsp ground cloves
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground black pepper
1 tbsp chilli powder
1 tbsp crushed/minced ginger
1 tbsp crushed/minced garlic

Combine all the ingredients for the marinade and add the onion. Wash and dry the chicken and using a sharp knife cut diagonal slits into the chicken breasts.Place the chicken in the marinade mixture and rub into the chicken. Cover and refrigerate for 1-2 hours, turning occasionally. Preheat the grill. Place on a grill tray in the oven and grill for 20 -30 minutes or until done. It can also be prepared on a barbecue.


Cafe World's Irish Stew was made with beef, but if I wanted to be traditional I think I should have rather used lamb. An Irish stew definitely needs potatoes, so I added those and I debated about using Guinness, which I've done before, but I was making this in the crock pot and it was still too early for the liquor store to be open, so the decision was made.

"Irish Stew"

2 lbs beef stew meat, cut into 1 inch cubes
1/4 cup flour
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp black pepper
1 1/2 cups beef broth
1 tsp Worcestershire sauce
1 clove garlic
1 bay leaf
1 tsp paprika
4 carrots sliced
3 potatoes diced
1 onion chopped
1 celery stalk sliced

Put meat in stone ware. Mix flour, salt and pepper and pour over the meat and stir to coat. Add remaining ingredients and stir to mix well. Cover and cook on LOW for 10 hours (or HIGH for 6). Stir before serving.

I LOVE stew, I think I've mentioned this before. A good meal which I served with Pumpkin Scones RECIPE HERE.


I also love Beef Wellington, a very English dish consisting of a beef fillet wrapped in puff pastry with a layer of pâté and/or mushrooms.

I love chicken livers and I bought a delicious pâté topped with crushed black pepper from my local deli..awesome on its own, but unbelievable in this dish. I used Martha Stewarts's version. Très magnifique!!!

My husband was skeptical of the description, but wholeheartedly enjoyed this one.


I finally used Fondant, and it was so very easy. I initially balked at the price of the tub ($18) but I only used about a 1/3 so I'll get a few more cakes out of it. I could've made my own but didn't want to be scared off by icing that didn't turn out well. I admit I spent quite a while watching demonstration videos on YouTube just to be certain and then I took the plunge. To replicate the look of the Gem cake I used a light moss green fondant, but instead of gems I opted to make a Spring/Easter cake for our dinner at my in-laws today. So I made little "flowers" with the Easter pastel shade smarties in the centre. The cake inside is just box Devil's Food Cake.

Progress: 88/88, ALL DONE

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