September 29, 2010

Giveaway at Long & Winding Bobbin

I know, I know, I haven't posted in awhile and then I pull this, a lame post about someone else's giveaway. I really want to win though. The prizes are so pretty! Two vintage patterns, vintage fabric (blue houndstooth and plaid who can resist) and a cute vintage inspired clutch!

The giveaway is over at The Long and Winding Bobbin blog. So go check it out and enter (or don't so that I have better odds). Here is a sneak peak at the pattern prize:


I really love those patterns. I would make the night gown right away (the pink one). It looks like something Betty would wear (I know you're all Mad Men fans).
I have actually been thinking of buying a retro nightie pattern. Something short and pouffy. I don't even think they would be comfy for sleeping (wouldn't you get tangled in that mess of fabric?). Here are a few other old night gown patterns that I love:

I love the little blue one in this second pattern.

September 20, 2010

The cats meow, Christmas Project #1

I was feeling a bit ill this weekend so I spent some time working on my first Christmas gift project. I still haven't decided what pattern for my mother-in-law so I worked on the gift for my sister-in-law. She mentioned that she wants to start decorating her house a bit so I made her some cute tea towels/kitchen towels. I used two store-bought flour sack towels and a pattern from Sublime Stiching. I printed out the patterns and use some blue dressmakers chalk to trace the pattern onto the fabric. I used a split stitch for the bows and the stars and a stem stitch for pretty much everything else. I was taught to split my floss in half, so thats what I always do. This should leave you with three strands of thread when you are stitching. If you want a thicker line you could always skip the splitting step.

Sublime Stitching has some great how-to diagrams for those who don't feel comfortable with embroider or cross-stitch. Here's their picture of the split stich:

For the split stich you stitch a short line then you come up through the centre of the line to make your next stitch.


and their stem stitch:


For the stem stitch you just make a short stitch/line then come up close beside it and make another stitch.

Here are the atomic kitty towels:

cool cats embroidery

My sister-in-law loves cats so I hope she likes them. If not, she can use them to dry her dishes.

September 19, 2010

Darning

My sister-in-law gave me this great shirts, but there was a catch. It had a 1cm hole on the chest. She figured that I might be able to fix it, so I tried my hand at darning.
Darning is a pretty simple way to fix a hole in knitted fabrics, well at least if it's a fairly small hole. You basically stich rows across the hole horizontally, then you stich rows across vertically. Kind of like this:
I used plain old black cotton thread for my fix but I think embroidery floss would have worked really well also (I didn't have any at the time).
I didn't stitch quite so far around the hole like in the picture above but it still worked pretty well. Take a look:

You can barely even see where the hole was! I now have another shirt for work that actually fits.

September 15, 2010

Homemade Christmas Gifts

My mother-in-law loves home-made/hand-made gifts. This year I have decided on embroidered gifts as it is something that can be done a little bit at a time very easily and I am actually decent at it. I bought a couple of flour sack tea towels and was thinking about making Christmas themed ones for her. The only problem is that I can't decide on a pattern, I was thinking of using two patterns so that the two towels are different. I have it narrowed down to a few though. What do you think I should pick of the following?:

Option 1: The super cute penguin.
This is a free pattern from Bad Bird. It's soooo cute but it would take a lot of fill work and I'm not sure what to put on the other towel.

Option 2: Awesome retro ornaments.
These would easily work on for the two towels. They are from Sublime Stitches.

Option 3: Folk Art Christmas Tree
This one is also a free pattern from Badbird. It's very nice, but again what would it go with? or should I just make both towels the same?

Option 3: Christmas Bells

This is from NoPatternRequired. It's a vintage embroidery pattern and I really like it too. I think it would go great with the ornaments (option 2).

Should I look some more or just suck it up and choose???

September 14, 2010

Stir fry with an egg on top

Bibimbap with Beef Bulgogi


This is a Korean inspired recipe that I tried out last week. It turned out pretty well. There are only two of us so this made two meals worth of food.

1 sirloin steak, fat trimmed
2 cloves garlic, minced


1 Tbsp grated ginger
3 Tbsp low sodium soy sauce
1 Tbsp brown sugar
1 Tbsp rice wine
2 Tbsp sesame oil, divided (I didn't actually have this, I used veggie oil)
1 cup cooked brown rice
1 cup bean sprouts
1 cup frozen spinach (thawed and excess water squeezed out)
1 tsp sesame seeds
1 medium zucchini, cut into strips
2 medium carrots, cut into strips
2 cloves garlic, minced
4 large eggs
1 daikon radish, cut into mtchsticks (used regular radish here)
Hot pepper paste, optional

I also threw in some green beans since I had some garden fresh ones.

1. Thinly slice sirloin into 1/2-inch strips. In a bowl, combine garlic, ginger, 3 tablespoons soy sauce, sugar, rice wine, 1 tablespoon sesame oil, and salt and pepper to taste. Add sliced meat to sauce and marinate in the refrigerator for 2 hours (I only did this for 30 minutes and it turned out pretty good..

2. In a skillet, warm half the oil over medium heat and saute steak and veggies until steak is cooked and veggies have softened slightly. Rinse skillet, then warm remaining vegetable oil over medium heat and cook eggs over easy.

3. Divide cooked rice among plates and arrange vegetables, beef, radish, and egg on top of rice. Sprinkle with sesame seeds. Add hot pepper paste, if desired.


Overall pretty simple and fairly healthy.

September 13, 2010

A beautiful blogger!!!

I was nominated for a beautiful blogger award by The Ingenious Indigenous over at Kyla con Stylas Bitchery Stitchcer Blog. So I guess I have to tell you ten interesting things about myself and nomate a few other wonderful blog. This was actually a big difficult for me but here it goes:

1. I love punk music and I used to wear typical punk clothing, fishnets, plaid, leopard print, studs and all. I have travelled as far as Blackpool, England to see bands that I love. I even had a punk grad dress which to this day I love. I've outgrown the look but I still have all my best duds for the next time I go see a really big band. Here's my grad dress:

A bit of an awkward pose...

2. I spent a year living in Ireland. It wasn't as green as they make it seem in pictures and movies. It was nice though and I would visit again.

3. I can not roll my r's to save my life, I almost failed a university Spanish class because of it; I have never received such a bad mark in school. I later found out that in some parts of Spain they swallow their r's so I know just think my Spanish teacher was a meany (she was a judgemental/prejudice person I think though, as she would always say that Mexicans don't speak Spanish they speak like monkeys, I'm not really sure what that even means).

4. I have dual citizenship, Canada and the U.K. since my dad was born in England.

5. I used to compete in synchronized swimming and yes it is a real sport and it is very difficult.

6. When I was little I thought India Jones was so cool that I wanted to be an archaeologist too. I actually ended up taking it in university although I don't work in the field.

7. One of my favourite movies as a child was "The Land Before Time." According to my parents, I was annoyed that all the female characters in the movie were portrayed as dumb, compared to the male characters, so I would call the long neck (actually named Littlefoot) Cera and the triceratops (actually named Cera) Littlefoot. It's really odd, I know.

8. My husband and I like Star Trek (he's a huge trekkie, I more just enjoy watching it) and plan to one day renew our vows in Vegas with a Star Trek themed ceremony. I'll even make us some uniforms to wear for it.

9. I know this sounds a bit silly but I have always wanted to own a large piece of land, like 1/2 a section or more, then I could have a lot of dogs. I want the following dogs: an Alaskan Malmute (I grew up with these), a Basset Hound, an Irish Wolfhound, a Bullmastiff, a Rottweiler, a German Shephard (my husband wants one so I added it to the list; I would name it "the littlest Hobo," or Hobo for short) and lately I've been thinking of a St. Bernard (my parents now have one and he is such a calm and gentle sweetheart).

10. I love the colour "seafoam green." I would actually love to wear a seafoam green bridesmaid dress. I have no idea why people seem to hate this colour.

Five nominees:
1. Susannah from Cargo Cult Craft
2. Lauren from Wearing History

3. The Long & Winding Bobbin

4. New Vintage Lady

5. Andrea at Unsung Sewing Pattern

September 11, 2010

Finally some sewing...

Well, the weather has already made a turn for the worst. It is clearly fall, when I wake up its dark, when I go to bed its dark, the mornings are cool and crisp and there are signs of faint frost on the grass. Boo!!! What a short summer. I need to move. On the other hand, I will be more productive now that the weather is about to force me inside.

I have a course for work this weekend, two full days stuck in a class which includes the dreaded public speaking. I did manage to get one this done this weekend though. I finally finished my polkadot bag.

Ah, the polkadot bag, I started this project years ago. At least 3 years ago. I cut it out and that was it. It was originally going to be a black with pink polkadot purse with hot pink piping and a pin-up applique. I don't think I can really pull off that look (rockabilly-punk look that is) now that I'm out of university, so I decided to make it into a toiletrie bag.

It took me less than an hour. I really should have just done this years ago, oh well. I'm pretty happy with the results though. It's much better than my dress project. The pin-up is cut from an Alexander Henry print and hand stitched on. I used interfacing on the ends to give the bag a bit more structure, but I didn't use in on the body so that the bag would collaspe better in case of travel. The zipper is an exposed metal zipper as, like I said, I was originally going for a bit of a punk look. Here are the results:

I like the hot pink lining.

Chicken pot, chicken pot, chicken pot pie!

My husband requested this one, but he wanted a "healthier version." I'm not actually sure it's possible to make a "healthy" pot pie because of the crust but I gave it a go and tried to modify the filling to make it slightly better. To start with, I eliminated the bottom crust, which I think helps and then I added some lentils for fiber-rific goodness.

Chicken Pot Pie Filling:


3/4 onion chopped
2 chicken breast chopped (boneless-skinless)
2 small potatoes chopped
1/4 cup frozen peas
handful of chopped green beans
1/4 cup lentils
slat & pepper to taste
3 cloves of garlic minced
1 tbsp oregano
1 tsp of cayanne (more or less depending if you like heat)
1 cup of milk
2 cups of chicken broth (salt-free is best)
1 tbsp oil
1 tbsp flour (to thicken)


Saute the chicken and onion in the oil, add other veggies and cook until the veggies are slightly soft. Add pretty much everything else. Simmer until lentils are starting to soften. You may need to add more liquid as you go.
Once cooked, sprinkle flour over the top and stir in while mixture is simmering. Pour into a casserole dish and top with crust.

My Amazing Pie Crust (makes one top or bottom shell, double for double crusted pie):

1 cup flour
1/4 tsp salt
3/4 cup butter (I don't actually use butter, use marg)
1 1/2 tbsp shortening
1/8 cup ice water

Pie crust is very simple, I'm not sure why so many people claim to have issues with it. Basically all you do is put your dry ingredients in the bowl, then blend in your shortening/fats until it has a crumbly texture. I like to use a pastry blending as it works much better than a fork.
See the picture below:


Add your wet ingredients and slightly knead (roll into a ball). Just do it until all the dry ingredients are combined, over kneading will make it less flakey. Then refrigerate for a bit (I usually do this for maybe 10 minutes, if that. Then you can roll it out.

This time I used plastic wrap underneath and flour on the rolling pin to prevent sticking. It worked fairly well until I dropped the crust trying to move it near the casserole dish to put in on top.
*****Note to self: moving the casserole dish to the crust is easier than moving the crust to casserole dish****
This is my pretty marble rolling pin. It is very heavy and soooo much better than my wooden one.

Anyway, roll the crust on top of your filling and squish the edges down against the dish. Poke a few holes in the top with a fork or cut out a few pretty shapes to allow steam to escape. Bake for 20 minutes or until crust is brown (350F).

Verdict: Not bad at all, but I should have used a bit more salt to compensate for the salt-free broth/boullion. Not really healthy but we both liked it.

September 10, 2010

Final camping trip of the summer

Last weekend we went on our final camping trip of the year. Labour day weekend is usually our last chance since it becomes very cold, very quickly here and i'm not a fan of winter camping.

It was a little chilly in our little tent as the one night it droped down to -1 C.
We did manage to get in a few nice hikes though. We went out to Jasper National Park, specifically to the Miette Hot Springs area. There are a few nice hikes there but we decided to tackle the Sulphur Skyline. We hadn't done this one before and it was a nice 9.6 km round trip up a mountain. You actually go past the tree line, so make sure you bring a toque (which is a knitted hat for those non-Canadians) as it gets cold up there and very windy. It was a pretty steep trek but the views were amazing!!!


If you have never been to the Rockies, make sure you put in on your "to-do" list. The mountains are very young, so they are very jagged looking. Once I had friends visiting from Ireland, we took them to Jasper and they were amazed. They just kept saying "I thought that we had mountains in Ireland, but those are just hills compared to these things!"


We also went white water rafting on the Frasier river which was a lot of fun. I don't have any pictures of that trip though. It was a class 2/ class 3 trip and the rapids weren't as impressive as I was hoping for. Oh well. It was still a blast.