Thursday, January 28, 2010

Slow Cookin'

I rarely buy myself cookbooks. I tend to find them at thrift shops, get them as gifts or "borrow" them from my mom. When I was doing some Christmas shopping back in December, I noticed this eye catching slow cooker cookbook at Chapters.

After trying a few recipes, I have to say it's my new favorite. Since buying the cookbook, we've implemented Crock Pot Sundays where we each take turns choosing Sunday's night dinner. I usually go for the unconventional recipes, were as my significant other usually chooses a hearty traditional stew. So far my favorite recipes have been Chicken with lemon, garlic and fennel, Pork Stew with fennel and squash and Boeuf Bourguignon.

Do you have a favorite slow cooker recipe?

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

The making of my draped cardigan

At my day job, my cubicle is known for being the coldest one of the floor on cloudy days and boiling hot on sunny days. Since I have this heating (or lack of) predicament, I try my best to wear layers at work. So when I was designing my new cardigan, I wanted to make something that had an interesting shape but looked nice with a variety of tanks and blouses.

I used my basic long sleeve sloper to draw the initial shape, then I added tons of volume by slashing open the seams. I wish I could go into details but you know... trade secrets!!

Now it's time for the sample to test out the shape. I use a less popular jersey fabric I bought a few years ago to make the initial sample. My boyfriend has hated this fabric color since the day I got, he's always said it looks like pyjama fabric. My first sample (below) didn't have enough volume at the neckline so it's back at the drawing board to slash some more.

My second attempt was a success and I was able to sew it up in my bamboo jersey in my new shade of grey/taupe. In some cases, I'm not so lucky and I end making a few samples until I get the perfect shape.

Now I can't wait for the next cloudy day to wear this fun cardi. As usually, it's also available for sale in my Etsy shop.

Saturday, January 23, 2010

My favorite: patternmaking tools

This week, I was working a new pattern for a cardigan and I thought I would share some of my favorite patternmaking tools. First is the pattern tracing wheel. It's perfect when you need to transfer your pattern to a new sheet of paper since it has long spikes. You need to use it over a cork board or a large heavy towel so the spikes can perforate the second layer of paper. It's very handy but could be dangerous (speaking from experience) if you accidentally step on it or grab it from the wrong end. Ouchies!

Next is the pattern notcher, I use it to make notches in my final pattern. Adding notches makes me double check that each seam matches up so I don't end up with a side seam longer than the other.

Without a doubt, the most essential tool in patternmaking are the rulers. Here are the ones I used the most often: plastic inch ruler, 2 aluminum Fairgate vary form curve and a adjustable little ruler which is great for adding seam allowances to patterns. I also use a aluminum yard stick (not pictured) a lot that I purchased from Home Depot a few years ago.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Matchbook Cover Collage Tutorial

Back in 2006, my boyfriend and I bought our first house, an 1950's bungalow. During our first Spring at the house, we discovered a large (and I mean large) bag of matches in our little shed. The extensive collective had been left, presumably by the previous owner, next to an old lawnmower and a can of gasoline. For obvious safety concerns, we brought the matches inside and started rummaging through the pile. There were matches from Ford, motels & hotels, insurance companies, tomato sauce companies (with recipe printed inside the cover), matches made from spaghetti and the list goes on.

Initially I didn't think of crafting with the matches so whenever we would have smokers over at the house, we would offer a bag of vintage matches as a parting gift. After a few years, our pile dwindled down and most of our friends quit smoking so I decided to make a little souvenir of our discovery.


With a pair of scissors, I carefully cut the front of about 50 matchbook covers. In some cases, I had to remove the back staple. This part was annoying since most staples were rusted. I suggest buying your frame in advance so you can roughly plan the placement of each matchbook cover.

On a 11" x 15" medium weight paper (made for acrylic paint), I glued each little matchbook in place using a regular glue stick while leaving only a 1/4" spacing between each cover. Once the glue dried, I place the collage in a double-matted frame I bought at Deserres (my new favorite craft store).

Here's a few close-ups of my favorites covers:

My favorite is "Tout pour le fumeur" which means "all for the smoker".

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Organic Origami: How to make a liner for your kitchen container

Here's a cute little tutorial for my fellow green bin recyclers in Ottawa. It fits perfectly in the little bin the city provided. I would also strongly recommend using 3 or more newspapers to prevent any leaks.

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Manly Terrarium

This year, I didn't have luck buying presents on Etsy. Every "potential" present ended up being sold out or the seller never responded to my convos (so annoying!). The only present that worked out was for my boyfriend, I gave him a terrarium with fresh moss and tutorial from this east coast seller. When he opened his present, our conversation went like this:

Him: "Wow, what is it?"

Me: "It's a terrarium"

Him: "What, you're giving a chore for Christmas?"

Me (rolling my eyes): "No silly, you put moss in it"

Him - blank stare

Me: "it's for a plant, for your office"

Him: "Cool"

Last week, he spent the afternoon at Value Village searching for the perfect vintage trinkets for his new terrarium. It was a toss up between the moose and an old He-Man action figure. I guess the moose won.

Monday, January 11, 2010

Craft nook

Here are a few pictures of my mom's craft nook. Can you tell she likes buttons? It's like a miniature version of Michaels in there. Not that I mind, I always leave with a pocket full vintage buttons.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

A Dogumentary

Yes, that’s right a DOGumentary. Last weekend, I dragged my significant other to watch “Weiner takes all: A Dogumentary” at the Mayfair theatre in Ottawa. You were even allowed to bring your dog to watch the movie. It was a cute movie and it was even cuter to see all the Dachshunds leaving the movie theatre afterwards.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Holiday drive

A few pictures from our excruciating long drive to NB during a snowstorm.


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