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

* Disclaimer: Image owned by Zynga. This site is not owned by Zynga. This site is not the owner of the intellectual property.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Cafe World Challenge Week 48

So this is the 48th post about these Cafe World inspired dishes, not the 48th consecutive week, since I've been slowing off towards the end here. If I don't add the two new dishes I've unlocked, I only have 2 more to go. I quite fancy cooking the new ones, so I'll might just add them.

This post I'll share my Chinese New Year Candy box, Creme Fraiche Caviar and my husband's crazy Unbirthday cake.


This box or tray is traditionally served at the Chinese New Year. I found they were a little expensive, but I waited till after the New Year and found one on sale at a good price. It contains an assortment of candied fruits. My favourite being the candied ginger and my kids liked the candied coconut.

The fruits in my box were (from top and clockwise): water chestnut, coconut, winter melon, ginger, soursop, sweet potato and lotus seeds (middle).


For this I used lumpfish roe on toasted baguette with creme fraiche. I've found a local source for creme fraiche, but I've made my own before.

Creme Fraiche

Mix together 1 cup heavy cream and 1 tsp buttermilk. Heat to 85F, pour into a jar and let stand at between 60 and 85F until thickened (12 to 48 hours). Refrigerate and use within 3 weeks.

For those that haven't tried creme fraiche before, it is similar to sour cream, but I find it is not as sour and has a smoother flavour. When I have some leftover from my recipe, I add some vanilla and eat it as dessert with some fruit.


My husband was away for his birthday and the kids were horrified by the thought of a birthday without cake. So I promised we'd make a cake for dad when he returned. This was definitely more for them as they had a ball helping me add colouring to the frosting and sticking decorations to the cake. It was a great March break activity, although I'm still finding drips of bright pink frosting everywhere. I figured it was supposed to be fun and funky so I didn't care about the lopsided cake and messy frosting so the kids got to participate and do their own thing.

I made square cakes instead of round and just cut it to size. I also "cheated" by using box cake...Devil Food cake. Mmmmm good.

New Additions to Cookbook

I've now unlocked Irish Stew, for St Patrick's Day. I actually made one a few weeks back, but I love stew so I'll make another one. Also Beef Wellington, a quintessentially British dish, which I enjoy, but don't think I've ever made myself.

Progress:  84/88 with the two new ones included. Only those and Gem cake and Tandoori Chicken left.

* Disclaimer: Image owned by Zynga. This site is not owned by Zynga. This site is not the owner of the intellectual property.

Friday, February 25, 2011

Cafe World Challenge Week 47

I attended a Japanese cooking class last year and have used my notes from that class to make sushi. I'm not a fan of raw fish sushi and prefer eating rolled sushi ie. maki. I usually order the vegetarian option at restaurants, but I had leftover smoked salmon from making the Lox Bagel so I added that too.


The term sushi actually refers to the rice which is mixed with rice vinegar. This rice can then be topped or rolled in various ways. My cooking instructor stressed the importance of properly cooked rice, so I followed her instructions:

Sushi rice

3 cups of sushi rice
4 cups of water
3 tbsp seasoned rice vinegar

Place rice in a medium sized saucepan. Remove excess starch from the rice by rinsing it 3 or 4 times. (Add cold water until the rice is covered, then drain water.)
Add the 4 cups of water to the rice and bring to a boil over high heat. Cover the saucepan and reduce the heat so that the rice continues to cook, without boiling over.
Cook for 15-20 minutes then turn off the heat.
The secret tip: Don't peek, do not remove the lid until the dish is ready to serve.
When ready, mix the rice vinegar into the rice.

Cover your sushi rolling mat with plastic, it keeps things clean and non-stick. I wanted to make inside-out rolls, with the rice on the outside, so I tried both methods. Method 1, was to lay the nori on the mat and then cover it with rice and then flip it over, the rice sticks pretty well to the rougher side of the nori. I also just spread rice onto the mat and then pressed the nori into it to cover. Both worked okay. A good tip was to keep a bowl of water at hand to dip your spatula or spoon into. This dislodges sticky rice and makes spreading easier.

I laid my smoked salmon in the centre of the nori parallel with the bamboo. If you did it the other way it wouldn't roll properly. I used avocado and fine carrot sticks in mine. Then just roll up tightly. Remember you don't want to enclose the mat so fold the mat over the fillings to form the roll. I then sprinkled mine with toasted sesame seeds and cut it into pieces. I served mine with soy sauce with a little wasabi mixed in.
Very delicious. Considering it was the first time I did this myself, I think it worked out pretty well.


Progress: 81/86 (only 5 to go)

Next up: I didn't get time to make Unbirthday cake for my husband before he left, but will attempt it when he returns, which will be after his birthday. He's at sea for 3 weeks.

* Disclaimer: Image owned by Zynga. This site is not owned by Zynga. This site is not the owner of the intellectual property.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Wild Thing skirt

I've found a new favourite skirt pattern. It sews up quickly and easily and has a few variations so that many looks can be created with ease.

Unfortunately the pattern is Out of Print, but you can still find it on the Butterick website.
It is Butterick 4613 and it has six variations including self fringe, flounce and lace edged. I made up View A, which actually has a self belt, but I omitted the belt.

I'm planning to make this version up in the Navy wool crepe to go with the Vogue 8692 jacket. I made a muslin and was so super happy with the style that I decided to immediately rummage through my stash and make up a wearable version. I came up with the ridged cotton woven in an animal print that I used to make this Burda jacket.

I LOVE THIS SKIRT!!! It's fitted through the hips without being restrictive. It has a waist facing and centre back zipper.

I also tried a new hemming technique on this skirt. The fabric is a little stiff so I didn't like the idea of hand stitching a hem and I really didn't want a top stitched hem. So I used hem tape for the first time. I have the Heat 'n Bond Superweight tape. I think it turned out great. The hem is nice and crisp.

I can see myself making many more versions. If the pattern pieces weren't currently attached to the wool on my cutting table I'd pull out a different fabric and sew another up.

I finished this skirt 2 weeks ago and have been waiting to get my hubbie to take a photo of me in it. But in the meantime I've been sewing more braid on more naval uniforms. My husband has been advertising my services to the unit. I should get a photo with all the guys and girls together posing with their Jen-sewn braids. That would be fun.

I've had a little hiatus from sewing my own garments, so I've turned to the sewing blogs for inspiration. One of my favourites, Faye's Sewing Adventure, has just turned 4. Congrats Faye!! She is having a giveaway a week on her blog over the next 4 weeks to celebrate. Check it out. It was actually her blog that inspired the Butterick skirt pattern choice as she made a version a while back and she also made a great animal print jacket which was one of a few made by the blog girls at that time. When I read through my blog list I always have a pen and paper in front of me and jot down any ideas or pattern numbers that I like and then I usually transfer the info to a computer file where I list my current and future projects and any additional inspirational tidbits. I've seen some lovely sewing room fix-ups and tidy-ups on the blogs lately, so that will be my next mission....get my sewing stuff a little better organized. Then maybe I can get in gear to get back to my sewing projects. 

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Cafe World Challenge Week 46

Blah, blah, blah.....

That's how I feel lately!! So sorry about being lazy about blogging. I've had one thing after another happen that has hampered my plans and my creative juices have run dry. Not that any of my mishaps have been in the creative realm of my being, but it impacts my general mood. In the grand scheme of things I suppose it hasn't been that bad.
I had my large, heavy wooden fireplace mantle fall on my toes and cause severe pain and limited motion for a week. Then my husband goes away for a week and I get to deal with crazy little boys all on my own. Then of course it's that time again when talk shifts to possibly moving again. UGH!!! So my mind goes crazy. Then I get rear-ended and then have to deal with all the admin involved with a collision and insurance and car repair. So a few days got completely swallowed up with that. Now I have my husband home, but he's off again for 2.5 weeks. Aside from the stress of trying to find a job, but then if we're moving why am I bothering?

Enough of my rant!!! Thanks for listening. I needed to just hammer out my frustration on the keyboard, you were spared the worst of it, the delete key was used extensively.

So with just myself and the little guys to feed I haven't been cooking anything reportable....but managed to squeeze in a Cafe World dish. Lox Bagel. My 5 year old loves smoked salmon so he was very happy.


This was an easy one. I bought "everything" bagels and spread them with my favourite whipped chive cream cheese, topped with salmon and thin slices of red onion. Pop open a bag of potato chips and Voila!!!

Next Up: I'm making Sushi...finally and since my hubbie will be away for his birthday, I'll make the Unbirthday Cake before he leaves.

Progress: 80/86 (nearly there..I haven't added any of the new dishes, since I haven't been playing to unlock any of them)

* Disclaimer: Image owned by Zynga. This site is not owned by Zynga. This site is not the owner of the intellectual property.

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Cafe World Challenge Week 45

We had a great Cafe World inspired dish this week, Chicken Adobo. I don't know how authentic the version was, but it tasted great. Like the stew in the previous post, my boys loved it.

I'm still pondering how to make an affordable Unbirthday cake. I could really cheat and say since it's no one's birthday and its a cake, it's an Unbirthday cake, but I don't think so. I investigated using fondant for decorating the stacked cakes, but it was $18 for each coloured tub and the multicolour packs with smaller quantities to cut out shapes and decorate is $11. What I might do is use coloured butter cream frosting and then use the $11 fondant to add stripes and shapes. Since I am expending lots of energy on the decorating I bought two boxes of devil's food cake to make the process a little simpler.

Anyway...back to the Chicken.


Here in North America, if you hear Adobo you think Mexican, which it is too. But this version is the Filipino version. Read the wikipedia entry for the detailed explanation.

Basically the Filipino version is meat simmered in vinegar. My husband grimaced at the thought, but ended up really liking it. My only change to the recipe I would make in future is to use reduced sodium soy sauce. Since you're using a whole cup, it was a touch too salty for my liking. The other great thing about the recipe, for me at least, was that it used pretty standard pantry staples. I only needed to buy the chicken and sprite (which is optional anyway). The sprite is suggested to sweeten up the tangy sauce. I used it because I knew it would bubble up the sauce when added and I figured my son who sometimes helps me in the kitchen would get a kick out of it. He thought it was really cool. Although I think he liked his little glass of sprite better, my kids are still little and I don't let them drink pop, so it was a treat. The bubbles in pop or even carbonated water seem to wreck havoc on his poor tummy though and he usually ends up with tummy cramps, so he told me, "mom I can't have too much I don't want my tummy to hurt." SMART LITTLE BOY!!

Okay so enough chatter, click here to get the recipe on

Up Next: I'm hoping to get an Unbirthday cake done.

Progress: 79/86

* Disclaimer: Image owned by Zynga. This site is not owned by Zynga. This site is not the owner of the intellectual property.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Seriously Super Stew

I made an amazing beef stew last week and am finally getting time to share it now. I found the recipe in the November 2009  Homemakers magazine. The recipe is on their website HERE.
This particular issue has some fantastic recipes and the splotchy condition attests to it's use. My other favourite from this issue was the "One-skillet chicken Provencal", the cover recipe. I don't think I've taken a photo of this one, but have definitely made it more than once.

Back to the stew...the issue has 5 different beef stew recipes and with the colder weather, I was craving a hearty delicious stew. The stew's intense flavour is due to almost a whole bottle of .....

The dried porcini and other mixed dried mushrooms also add tons of flavour and since the water used to rehydrate the mushrooms is added back into the stew, none of the flavour gets lost.

I served the stew with plain boiled potatoes, but it would be fantastic with mash too. It was a good thing that the recipe makes 6 to 8 servings because everyone wanted seconds and my eldest wanted stew for breakfast the next day and then stew for his school lunch and then instead of greeting me when I picked him up, his first words were, "Can we have stew again for dinner tonight?" So clearly a HUGE hit.

For my Cafe World Challenge followers: I've decided to finish off the remaining dishes when I can and probably won't be posting them every week. I'm stuck on trying to make an Unbirthday cake, as my cake decorating skills are non-existent. While I think on that, I'll try to make Chicken Adobo later this week. We have a huge snow storm heading our way tonight so I'll have to see how the roads look tomorrow and see if I get to the grocery store. They're predicting 30 cm overnight with blizzard conditions. But of course I used to live in Quebec City so I should be used to this weather. Weather is really pretty mild here in Windsor (for my non-Canadian's on the Canadian side across from Detroit)

Anyway cheerio, keep warm and don't let the weirdo weather get you down.

Monday, January 24, 2011

Happy Birthday James!!

My little man turned 5 today. It's very emotional for me and also lots of fun. I've been reminiscing about the whole Birth experience today, not the physical birth, but more just the emotions and how excited I was to welcome my first child into my life and then meeting the little wrinkly boy and getting to hold him against me and marvel at his beauty. It was incredibly surreal.

Of course my little buddy was very excited and got his presents this morning before school and had a little party at school and then we went out for dinner and then he got to come home to play with his new stuff and eat his mom's cake. I was very busy today and everyone seemed surprised that I actually got a chance to bake a cake. My husband actually whispered in my ear at a stage, "Did you remember to buy a cake?" Seriously buy a cake, no way!! Since he wasn't having a party at home, I opted for taste instead of a lavishly decorated cake. I came across a recipe for Chocolate Chip Cake in one of the Kraft "What's Cooking?" magazines. Super Simple and the icing on the cake (literally and figuratively) is no icing/frosting just choc chips...lots of them. The recipe is mixed in the baking pan and since there's no extra frosting, the cleanup is minimal. I also didn't have to wait for cake to cool to frost and it tastes devine. My son's reaction: "oooh super chocolaty mom." So it gets a thumbs up!!

For my Cafe World Challenge readers: Sorry I didn't post last week, the males in my family were all sick and had no appetite, so I didn't get a chance to make anything.

For my Sewing readers: I've been busy. Nothing to post, as most of my work has been tedious prep work. I cut out the wool crepe for my Vogue jacket and am still busy thread tracing and making tailors tacks for the marking step. I've prepped fabric for some other projects and have done a bunch of mending - hemming, broken seams, patched boy's pants knees and replaced missing buttons. Once I've finished up the marking step, I've got the grey silk charmeuse waiting to make up the lining and then do a quick muslin of the wool skirt pattern to check fit.

Friday, January 14, 2011

Cafe World Challenge Week 44

I went for some Greek inspired fare this week....Chicken Gyros and Fries.


Usually Gyros are made from meat that has been skewered and slow cooked and then sliced when needed. I'm not able to do this at home, so I just marinated sliced chicken breast and added some of the usual fillings.


1 lb chicken breast sliced (450-500g)
olive oil
1/2 tsp oregano
2 tsp Greek seasoning ( I used Epicure Selections' version)
1 red onion thinly sliced
2 tomatoes chopped
black pepper to taste
Juice of a lemon
warmed pita breads
Shredded lettuce
Tzatziki sauce

Drizzle chicken with olive oil and add the oregano and Greek seasoning. Mix to coat chicken. Allow it to marinate for a half hour.
Heat a little oil and stir fry the chicken till it's cooked.
Toss together onion, tomatoes, pepper and lemon juice. Split the pita breads, stuff with lettuce and tomato mix and top with chicken and Tzatziki sauce.

I didn't make my own sauce, I just bought a fresh deli version. Those who know me well, know that I don't touch a cucumber and absolutely won't cut into one either. It's something to do with the smell and the taste. I've just never liked them.

Progress: 78/86

Next up: no idea, but I am making Loco Moco again tonight.

* Disclaimer: Image owned by Zynga. This site is not owned by Zynga. This site is not the owner of the intellectual property.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Basic Patterns from the '90's

I had a thrift store pattern buying spree last month and immediately made up a blouse and have now finished the skirt. I can usually get the patterns for about 25c each. The two patterns used were:

McCall's 9578 (dated 1998) featuring Pants and skirts with elastic waist, side seam pockets and ties.
Vogue 7752 (dated 1990), a very loose-fitting unlined below hip jacket with pockets, a loose-fitting pullover top with back neck slit and button/loop. A dirndl skirt with elastic waist.

I finally made my denim skirt, I think I started planning one in 2008. I used the McCall's pattern to make up a long black denim skirt. Its not the usual style you'd see in denim, but I wanted a longer skirt I could wear with boots in winter and the elastic waist is comfy. I opted to omit the front tie, I don't need extra bulk in my midsection!!! This was a quickie project, which I finished in two days, in between steaming wool, which is a really arduous task BTW.

I made up the top in the Vogue pattern in some green cotton, it turned out almost tunic-y (yes I know its not a real word), but I'm sure using a fabric with more drape would eliminate the tunic feel. The top has a slit neck at the back that closes with a button and loop. I followed a tutorial here, and made a loop using button hole stitch. It turned out nicely, I've never done that before.

Speaking of firsts, as far as I can remember, this is the very first Vogue pattern I've sewn. I own a whole bunch of them, but haven't used one yet. Of course I'm almost ready to cut into my wool crepe to make Vogue 8692, so that will be #2. These two and my next project are being finished up so that I can free up my cutting table, which doubles as a storage space for works in process. I have the jacket cut out for the Vogue 7752 (above) and will make that next. I wanted a matching jacket and top (like a twin-set) from the khaki fabric, but just didn't have enough as the fabric width was narrower than I expected. I'm also attaching gold braid to another naval tunic, this time for one of my husband's colleagues. It seems he's advertising my services.  

Back to the photos, I thought I'd be able to wear the top and skirt together, but I feel very frumpy in that combo. I tried wearing it with a big belt but it still looked odd. So I took photos with the skirt and top styled differently and I think the skirt looks better with a tighter top and the top looks better with skinnier pants. What think you??