Thursday, December 31, 2009

In With The New

I'm no resolution-maker, Lord knows that takes too much public commitment. The things I do, I just get off my ass and do. I try not to think to much about the implications of getting started, of failure, of success (egad!) For sure, many things that have been in the back of my mind for years have still not materialized. Hell, many things haven't even made it into the back of my mind yet (I sincerely hope)...

Having said this, I think it's all well and good to look back on one's year with consideration. I am so profoundly grateful for so many things that have come about in 2009 that it's hard to articulate. I know this year has been an extremely difficult one for many, many people. For many others, it's been a challenge. Certainly, I've lived through those years of exceptional challenge and they are tedious, tiring, frustrating and soul-suckingly frightening. But, having persevered through them (which is to say, having continued to get up in the morning) - only to find, in the long course of time, that bad years really can be followed by good ones - well, it gives me hope.

I am hopeful that everyone who's struggled this year will approach peace and balance in 2010. I wish you imagination and tenacity, bravery in the face of fear and the ability to express yourself creatively with courage and joy.

I think y'all know I'm a communicator at heart, and the opportunity to connect with all of you - from around the world - to learn about your lives, to hear your opinions, to know you care, is just awesome. Thank you all so much for stopping by.

Let's see what comes of next year, shall we? Kxo

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

I Feel So Sassy

Thanks to the creative powerhouse Ambika (who has her own Etsy store!), I found out about an affordable way to get those woven tags I've been so wanting, you know, for my "clothing line" :-)

My own handmade efforts have seemed very slightly illegitimate for the lack of something to help me distinguish back from front. And now that I appear to be giving away quite a few of my experiments, I feel a label is necessary.

Oh, and it's still another way for me to keep the craft industry in business. So, if you're in the market for woven tags that don't cost a fortune, check out this site...

Anyone who's used, feel free to let us know of your experience. My tags won't arrive for up to 6 weeks!

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Under Construction

Here's the latest thing that's driving me to distraction...

The photo is of my inside-out muslin (a prototype made of cheap cotton) and, gotta say, it's not going outrageously well right now. The pattern instructions are, um, brief - so I've been trawling the net for assistance from anyone who's made it before.

I'm gaining a small amount of traction, thanks hongkongshopper, but I've still got to figure out (without being instructed) how to face the yoked waistband. If anyone reading can advise, I'll take your help and give you kisses.

The broader issue is that it doesn't fit at all on me like it does on the pattern model (a drawing of all things!). Of course, it's not done and muslin doesn't drape like the fashion fabric. However, it seems I've cut it too large. Fortunately, I can widen the seam allowance to make smaller the finished product (hopefully this will work).

I'm all about accepting "standard body measurements" (used in sewing) and in not making things too small because I prefer the number on the (metaphoric) tag. But I think I may have gone overboard.

As you can see, there's no way around being a beginner, except to keep on. That's what I remind myself... Like hourly.

Monday, December 28, 2009

In Which K Pretends She's One of the Avengers

Check out my new dress, courtesy of Shrimpton Couture:

(It will be posted today and, being in the same general area as the shipping location, hopefully I'll receive it quickly.)

Gotta say, it's a pleasure to shop on such a beautiful website - and with such pleasant client service.

I really hope this fits because I'm so psyched to wear it with black tights and boots. Please stay tuned...

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Supporting Role (or is that Roll)

The lovely people who distribute the Invisibelt in Canada kindly sent me one to try out for myself which is so appreciated because a) I was so intrigued to see it first hand and b) I'm always looking for a new apparatus to slim my midsection while holding up my jeans :-)

In truth, I wear a lot of jeans, mainly skinny, and I do like to pair them with a slim (often knit) top that comes down over the waistband. I'm not a tucker. With the skinnies, you have to be a freakin' toothpick to get away with that! And I'm frequently dismayed by the amount of bulk results from my natural circumference plus that of a belt.

Here's what I can say about this product which, regrettably, is rather tough to find in stores in the Toronto area: It's easy to use and quite unobtrusive. The width is good for a variety of sizes of belt loops - while still being thick enough to provide the "slimming" support you might be seeking. It has an expansion / retraction mechanism (kind of like on a bra strap or yoga belt) to allow you to wear it on the hips or waist or somewhere in between. The one I got fits sizes 0 - 14 and there is a "plus" size version available also. The website is excellently informative about how to use the item - not that you'll need it. It's not rocket science and there are instructions included in the efficient packaging.

I'm still getting used to mine which is definitely, though not dramatically, less bulky under skimming tops. Finding the perfect tension, I suspect, is key to achieving optimal impact. My issue isn't so much about minimizing flesh on my waist or sides, but about sucking in the little lump of fat below my navel. I'm not sure how it's going to help me with this specifically. Maybe that's where self-control comes in?

Let me end by suggesting that, if you ever happen to drink too much one evening (for example) and you come home really late (not that that ever happens) and, somehow, your Invisibelt ends up near the side of the bed - do not step on it when you get up! Because it really is practically transparent. And you sure don't want to break that sucker...

(Canadian peeps: If you'd like more info about where or how you can buy this in your area, pls. email and I can put you in touch with the CDN distributor.)

Friday, December 25, 2009


Ah, it's been an exciting time here in Christmasville...

Last night we set the table for a beautiful meal. Alas, as the cooking goddess is fickle, we had a dry pork roast experience. The child (for some unknown developmental reason) decided to complain about the entire affair and then to cry. At the dinner table.

Note that we had mood lighting, but the flash completely messes with it...

Later, when M went up to bed, Scott set up our new 40 inch Sony flat screen TV - soon to have Bell premium internet cable (with Live TV). And a PVR. He also hooked up the PS3250. You should know that I have no idea what any of this means because, until yesterday, I still had the same television my parents gave me in 1989, with bunny ears. It gets 7 channels and that worked for me. But now that the whole dang world is going HD, our stations are starting to disappear. And the child feels left out of the 21st century. And my husband - Mr. High Tech meets Luddites in a Field - can't go half-way. It's either state of the art or a phone without call display.

So here we are having a modern family Xmas.

Happily, M still loves American Girl, which I blew my brains out on this year. My parents assisted the process, buying her jammies to match the ones for her new doll. And there were doll coats and summer dresses and glasses. Yes, doll glasses. Because, as M says, Ella's vision isn't what it used to be.

Amongst all the books and games and crafts and AG, there's the skirt I made for M this fall:

It seemed so big a couple of months ago. Now it's fitting fairly well - I mean, a bit big but it won't last the 2 years I originally envisioned!

I got 3 Hot Patterns, which I love (of course, I requested them by number :-)):

I also bought myself these books, which S kindly wrapped:

The Beautiful Fall (which wasn't 20 per cent off when I bought it 2 weeks ago)

How to Set Up and Run a Fashion Label (what, a girl can dream...) - sure as hell not 34 per cent off when I bought it!?

Singer Simple Sewing

I think the key here is to either a) read the books 2 weeks before Xmas so that you can realize the value of the non-sale experience (I did buy them after all!) or b) do not look at the post Xmas sale tags. Note: I did get discount for ordering online and using a coupon so all is not lost, but still! These books weren't cheap.

Scott got the regular items: fancy soap, a cashmere sweater, a DVD (Serenity), a new sugar canister (yeah, he asked for that) and a cashmere scarf. Being a guy is so boring!

The weather outside is more ugly than seasonal, but we are cozy up inside. Tonight we'll have our stock in trade (ha!) roast chicken and veggies, from which I'll make a yummy soup tomorrow. I still have pots de creme in the fridge so I'm debating whether to make something else or rest on my laurels.

Happy hols to all my wonderful blog friends and readers (you are so important to me!) - and a special shout out to my family in North Carolina: my mother and father, my sister Allison, her friend Jason, and my nieces Jillian and Caroline. Hope you all have an excellent day in the cabin. Think of us! Kxo

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Chestnuts and Boasting

If this woman goes to one more happening holiday soiree, I think I'm going to lose it. (With envy.) Honestly, how does she have energy to work?

Pls. do yourself a favour and review her social calendar blog posts while drinking some kind of fattening beverage / eating cheese shortbread. It's almost like being there.

Merry Christmas all. Kxo

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Hate to Love / Love to Hate

On the topic of bundt pans (um, is this really a post about cooking utensils???), I think I've mentioned that the one I used for years - cheap, teflon coated and practically disposable looking - was an incredibly frustrating baking companion.

Why it took me years to replace it is the question du jour. In truth, I barely baked for 10 years, so it's not like I was in the market for new cooking tools.

I also hadn't, at that stage, fully embraced the concept that you're only as good as your raw materials. Of course, I've always applied that philosophy to ingredients. But the implements are also so key to good results...

Really, this post is about how I went to Williams-Sonoma to replace said crap pan with a fancy, spesh one and had a rather shocking encounter.

For starters, even though I like to bitch about the place and laugh about the "more money than brains", professional mom baker clientele, I love everything about that store. I mean, except the price tags.

I love how they give you samples of seasonally-themed treats created from upscale, pre-mixed baking boxes you can then buy on the spot, not that I do. I love how they greet you at the door. I love how they don't bat an eyelash as they tell you about the $400.00 copper pan you are never going to purchase. I love how they display everything.

There are things I never knew I needed till I walk into W-S!

But here's the thing: A couple of weeks ago, when I'd finally committed to the idea that I would need to replace my bundt pan for a new one, I opted to check out my options there. I looked at 4 cast iron pans - 50 bucks each - all of which were cast incorrectly, leading to slight imperfections in the depth of one or another of the grooves. I reviewed each one deliberately. The SA went to speak with the manager about why every pan in stock seemed to display a similar imperfection and, if you can believe it, the manager suggested that the nubs of iron, gooping at the base, would not impact the overall appearance of the finished cake?!?!

I mean, you don't need a PhD in baking to realize that, whatever the batter abuts while cooking will reflect itself in the final mold. They didn't offer to order me a new one from America. They didn't remove the botched pans from the floor. What is happening people? I sense I'm witnessing the final decline of our civilization.

As a last straw, I checked out the bottles of food colouring and was horrified to see that they are charging $21.50 for 4 mini bottles of water with chemicals. The same water with chemicals I purchased later that day from Fiesta Farms for $2.25.

I walked over to The Bay and got a nicely weighted Cuisinart bundt for $25.00 - on sale for $19.00. It was not beautifully presented inside a box. It had no imperfections. It made a lovely, delicious cake. Hmmm.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009


OMG, may I suggest - if you'd like to make the most gorgeous looking bundt cake ever - that you a) buy a decent pan (!?) and b) handcuff yourself to something until it actually freakin' cools (like, entirely).

I realized recently that I have an issue when it comes to cakes (it's probably the reason I rarely make them) in that I am compelled to prod at them while they are hot from the oven. Invariably it leads to some nasty looking results.

Well, that was the old me. The new me is patient. She has faith in the cake's inherent ability to spring from the sides of the pan as it cools. She leaves the house and runs errands while it's happening which - at least in this instance - yields outcomes like this:

If a cake could be radiant, this one was. And so yummy, it gave me a big dose of Xmas spirit.

Monday, December 21, 2009

Merry Xmas To Me!

OK, I've gone about breaking all my "buy only for others before Christmas" rules, but really, who else is going to get this cool thing for me??

It's also the first thing I've ever bought on Etsy. Now, technically it's for fashion designers, but I see no reason why I can't sketch my own pictures just for fun. And who knows, maybe one day I will make my own patterns...

Thanks to Jessica of What I Wore for the heads up.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Shrug Hug

Here's a little Xmas present from me to all the sewists. It's another free Hot Pattern. I'd like to credit the source but, strangely, I can't seem to figure it out.

This is one of the designs I'm going to try soon - as soon as I find the right material (harder than it seems, I crave a very specific drape).

If anyone out there has tried it, or something similar, do let me know.

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Think Outside The Room 2

Here's another example of a room I wouldn't necessarily create, but which I find completely appealing. It moves from mid-century to 1970s contemporary and reminds me of a lot of chic spaces I encountered as a child. I particularly love the use of taupe, the sectional and the radiator cover.

Whacha think?

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Slippery Slope: Part 3

I made this baby twice a) because I had enough fabric and b) because I LOVED the motif. I mean, it's not like you've never seen black lace and pink/cream fabric before, but it screams sexy-chic rich lady to me. And who doesn't like dressing with that in mind?? I did one longer version and one shorter. The shorter one, which I made second, was much better constructed because I'd come to terms with the (insanely difficult) fabric at that point.

Pros: The very high-end lace works perfectly and the fabric feels incredibly luxe. The colour scheme is most appealing.

Cons: The longer (first-made) slip suffered through a lot of construction-challenges because the tricot simply DID NOT want to accept the stitches. Oh, I worked with a ball point needle and I adjusted the tension numerous times. I practiced on scraps. I changed stitch length and width. I did all the right things. It wasn't till I went with a totally bizarre stitch (that prob shouldn't work on stretch fabric, but did) that the problem was resolved. I don't know that my machine - or maybe my skill level - was optimal with this fabric. Nonetheless, here they are!

And here's are a few more pretty, pastel gratuitous shots of slip porn!

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Other People Love Xmas!

Christina has the right idea(s) about getting with the holiday spirit. I do love the idea of buying, or making, beautiful items that will be "just the thing" for their recipients.

The moment someone opens up a thoughtful gift - and loves it - is regular magic!

(On that topic, M calls me "SantaMom". Actually, when she loses a tooth she calls me "the Mom Fairy" and at Easter, I'm the "Mom Bunny"... I think it's clear I'm associated with the goods!)

Tuesday, December 15, 2009


OK, I'm not going to lie. These are the best shots of these petits fours I could come up with - and I took many.

They're fussy, what can I say? But they aren't as torturous as many of the books and blogs would have you believe. I mean, I'm pretty sure I'll do a much better job next time given what I learned in this go.

Key considerations:
  • Use enough food colouring. I should have added about 7 drops (red and yellow) but I only used 4.
  • Really don't let your fat touch your egg whites till you're ready to mix and fold. Stupidly, I used the same bowl to measure the ground almonds as the sugar that stiffed the egg whites. Which means my egg whites were compromised in fluffing from the get go. Of course, I realized it seconds too late. As the egg whites need to sit on your counter for 24 hours, there was no do over for me.
  • On that account: Make a couple of batches of the aged egg whites, so if you have an issue you aren't fucked.
  • Practice your piping. That's where I really fell down. I made about 16 different sizes (and not many of them actually circular) of meringue. Hard to make them look professional that way :-) Also, I should have used a larger tip. As it is, I needed to exert too much force on the batter to get the disks onto the baking sheet. Didn't help with their shape, I know.
  • Read all of Joe's posts on the topic. And really, don't worry about being too delicate. I was not delicate at all and it still wasn't a disaster.
  • Ganache takes 4 hours to set, and it's probably best to let it do so outside of the fridge, if possible. Keeps it's texture better that way.
I am sincere when I tell you that they are the best tasting macarons I've ever had. The fluff and crisp of the meringue was superb, to my taste, and the ganache (which I made with milk chocolate as it has a higher cocoa butter content - and then butter) was so awesome, I ate the remainder of it with a spoon while watching the Grinch.

Give these a try if you are at all interested - and don't let lack of confidence stop you. They're only cookies after all. Yummy ones.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

The Best Award Ever!

Look at this beautiful award my daughter (m-line) made for me:

Slippery Slope: Part 2

This slip is made of some mystery tricot, the feel of which is awesome. Regrettably, the nicer the feel, apparently, the more awful the experience of trying to get it to hold together with some lace and elastic.

Pros: I bet it will work excellently against to thwart static and it's so lovely. The colour contrast (navy blue and fuchsia) works beautifully, these pics notwithstanding. It's well constructed.

Cons: It could be better constructed, like, if the fabric hadn't been such a bitch. It took a LONG time to make this one. The first one flat out failed.

Friday, December 11, 2009

On the Topic of the Holiday Baking...

I will spend this weekend making:
  • Pound cake with chocolate glaze
  • Sable (my fave style of shortbread - from France!), and
  • Macarons filled with chocolate ganache
As y'all know, the pound cake and sable recipes are old faves, but the macarons were inspired by a) the season b) Joe Pastry - who does the best cooking blog around, for my money and c) my desire to impress the jingle bells off my friend Anne, whose tree trimming party I'll be attending, avec dish, this Sunday.

Anne makes Martha Stewart look a little meh, truth be told, so I don't feel like I can turn up at her door without something impressive. (Competitive much?) And, really, I have been wanting to make these crunchy/fluffy morsels forever. The stars just haven't aligned before this weekend.

So give me your positive meringue vibes pls. And I'll keep you posted.

But while we're waiting to see how it goes, tell me: Have you made macarons? If yes, did they work out well? Do you love 'em, hate 'em, never tried 'em? Do tell.

Some Things Defy Description

You have got to check out this post for more details about WendyB's new masterpiece:

Virginia Woolf Whistle, closed

Inner Workings of the Whistle with tiny wolf (or is that woolf?)

Look at the diamonds which line even the piece that hooks the whistle to the chain.

This piece actually works. Wow.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Slippery Slope: Part 1

I figure, since I tortured you with my being tortured about making slips, I should show you the final result. It was, IMO, rather successful in the end. Of course, "the end" implies 20 hours were spent and extra trips to the textile district made and costs increased and food forgotten.

So I've decided to maximize the photo op. Over the next 3 posts, you will meet my lovelies one at a time (2 are variations on the same item so I'll spare you and count them as one).

I'll start with the first one (I mean the first one I didn't have to throw out):

Pros: I made it and it's wearable and I LOVE the complementary colours and a shiny woven slip is more elegant that stretch, IMO.

Cons: The material, while woven and having body, is not optimal. It's a misery of fraying, which you can see if you look closely in photo 3 (why am I advertising this??). I zigzagged over all the edges before finishing them, but I think it's a stopgap measure. I mean, not everything has to last forever, right?

(I warn you, if you fit a small/medium and I've known you for 10 years or more, chances are you will be the recipient of one of these. Even this one :-))

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Could I Possibly Love This More??

I mean, the creepy heads have to go but this piece is pure perfection.

Image courtesy of (the continually awesome) desiretoinspire

It's by Caleb Woodard. You know you're destined for furniture-making greatness when you have the word wood in your name.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009


If you look back on my posts from last December, you will notice how many of them refer to the joy of the season and the beauty of this time of year. (I recall a comment, from Sal, in which she joked about how Xmasy I was being, and how she hadn't imagined it would be my style.)

Cut to this year, as I'm trying to figure out a way to convince my child that a festive Christmas chair is as apt a present-delivery vehicle as a decorated tree. I can't seem to find any interest at all in trimming and wrapping and partying and baking (well, truthfully, I can find a bit of interest in that).

Maybe it's because I've gone all sew-borg lately. Maybe it's because it feels more like October than December outside. Maybe it's because I really need a holiday (my boring, endless refrain).

Well, gotta say peeps: this shit stops now. I realized, while getting my coffee this morning (and chatting with the barista), that if I want the long lunches and fun times to roll, I've got to be the change I want to see.

So here's what I'm going to do (and I urge you to join me if you've got the seasonal blahs):
  • Let the cooking begin. How miserable can you be with baked goods and cream-based sauces?
  • Share the wealth. To avoid gaining the "holiday 5", ply your friends, coworkers and daycare with 2/3s of your yummy food.
  • Start wrapping. Given all my compulsion, I finished my shopping 2 weeks ago (ok, I continue to find bits and bobs but I could stop anytime). Now is the time to make them look good.
  • Trim the tree - or the chair. The presents will look better that way.
  • Buy some pretty, seasonal greenery. Drape it over things.
  • Enjoy your friends and family. Parties can energize you when you attend them with no specific expectations.
  • Take a cab to said parties. If you usually walk or transit, this is a nice (warm) treat. If you usually drive, then think of all the drinking you'll be able to do :-)
  • Listen to that Xmas jazz. It's the only time of the year you can do it!
  • And, for me specifically: No more sewing till after the 25th. All this learning is sucking up too much of my energy. Maybe you have a beloved hobby that impacts you this way?

I'm really hopeful this is going to do the trick.

How about y'all? Are you in the spirit?

Monday, December 7, 2009

Australians Get All The Luck...

Right about now, even as I'm enjoying the ever-crispening air, I could really manage a night - and scene - like this:

Photo courtesy of, where else, desiretoinspire

Saturday, December 5, 2009

In Lieu of Photos (So Far)

Today, while failing utterly at making a stupid, simple slip learning some incredibly useful lessons about sewing and how to develop as a human being (sorry, I meant human doing), I discovered that:
  • It's better to err on the side of buying too much edging lace (even at 12 bucks a yard) because, when you are 4 inches short and your entire fucking project is ruined, it's kind of frustrating. Oh, and you still wasted 12 bucks on lace and 9 bucks on fabric only now you have nothing to show for it.
  • Picot edge doesn't mean the bumpy side of the elastic.
  • Pulling the elastic taught while sewing is not "clear and simple".
  • Lingerie tricot is a fickle bitch and you should cut her.
  • If you think you're getting a home made item of clothing from me this Xmas you are HIGH on drugs.
I don't even know what to say at this point. I'm so approaching hateful of everyone who's ever made a slip and said it's simple - even the wonderful, talented ones who post on it (with very clear instructions) for my learning enjoyment. It's. NOT. simple. Till you've manipulated that fabric and pulled on that elastic, it's a free-for-all of optimism. After, well then it's just demoralizing.

Tomorrow I'm going to figure out how to make one decent slip if I have to go out and spend a mint on lace (ugh) or start from scratch with a woven fabric or, as luck usually dictates, some combination of both.

Did I mention I just went to see New Moon this afternoon with 2 tweeny girls? Honestly the worst movie ever. For what it's worth, I'm not an advocate of abstinence (I know, you're shocked). That's just self-deprivation. Respectful and safe sex at a stage of maturity (certainly the point at which those pale, horrible characters were), natch, but honestly, those two should just fuck and get it over with.

PS: I have really bad PMS and I'm venting. Will return to the love-in with sewing presently.

It's Not Easy Being Green

Peeps, it's on sale! Seriously, if I could justify a smallish green bag with a bow, I would so be snapping it up. Maybe you should give it some thought. Do you know anyone who needs a present that comes pre-wrapped?

Friday, December 4, 2009

Hot? Or Not?

I've wanted a wood-burning fireplace since - well I can' remember when. We always had one when I was a kid. Now it seems they're far and few between - even in century homes (in which they've been plastered over, generally) and in a frigid climate that warrants one, no questions asked.

Oh, you can find yourself an ersatz gas-powered one, not that I'm scoffing at any beautiful flame. But that just doesn't give the full, through-the-ages experience.

Now, where does this come in:

Generate Design Fireplace Photo courtesy of Apartment Therapy

Yes, an ethanol-burning, table-top gizmo. It's certainly an interesting design.

And you can put it on your dining room table.

But it seems a bit dangerous to me, hmmm? Whatcha think?

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Slip Sliding Away

Never mind sewing - the act of merely preparing to sew is veritably as labour intensive (but with slightly less hand eye coordination required).

I've got a few projects on the go. That's to say, I spend every spare minute I can eke out of my overscheduled day searching for thread to match fabric, emailing proficient sewists to ask them key questions about what they might have done to obtain outcome x, trying madly to figure out how to make my own patterns based on math described by others (said proficient sewists), learning terms like "rayon seam binding", wrestling with the details - small and large.

You wouldn't be out of line, exactly, in suggesting that my project after next might involve somewhat fewer than 5 new techniques I've never seen in action, much less tried (lining, seam binding, invisible zipping and bias cutting from a pattern I'm making myself). But here's the thing: Given my relative inexperience, every freakin' project involves 5 new techniques I've never seen before. I'm kind of getting used to it!

I have this "method": I make everything twice. (Or at least I have so far.) The first instance has the potential to drive me to drink (for real). The second time, I remember bits and pieces - sometimes entire techniques. Sometimes I even demonstrate a little bit of flair. It gets me through.

Much as when I cook - I imagine I have my own daytime show and I'm educating a Kristin-loving studio audience. It's post-modern absurd - indeed, far more absurd with sewing than with cooking which, at least I've been doing with skill for half my life. But it helps me focus. And I'm a slut for an audience :-)

This weekend I'm going to make slips. This new-to-me site, recommended by the incomparable Sal, is the best thing I've seen in a long time. I can't wait to try the tutorial, though I've already spent the better part of a week getting ready.

Here's what I've done so far (indulge me, it's my blog after all):
  • Dissected the instructional post dozens of times.
  • Compared it with techniques in 4 different books.
  • Bought stretch fabric in 2 colours and weights.
  • Realized that the pattern is for non-stretch fabric.
  • Panicked.
  • Decided to proceed with stretch but with modifications.
  • Laughed ruefully.
  • Bought lace and stretch elastic at this place in the sewing district called Mokuba which, formerly, I could not believe managed to stay in business selling ribbon and lace. I spent $36.00 on stuff for 3 slips that can fit in a mini-ziploc bag. And I went with the cheap and cheerful (though lovely) stuff. Nothing in this place is less than lovely.
  • Tried to figure out if I could make 3 slips out of my 2 yards of fabric.
  • Remembered some other, non stretch but taffeta-type lining I could use to make a third slip.
  • Wondered how the fuck I'm going to make 3 slips in a day having never made one.
  • Realized I don't have the right coloured thread, even though I bought some the other day - speculating on the colour of fabric I had bought the day before.
  • Took snips of every fabric and lining in my bin to buy the actual right colours of thread.
  • Cut out the rectangular pattern.
  • Realized I forgot about the seam allowance.
  • Wrote a note in big letters on the pattern reminding me to eyeball an extra 5/8 inch on the non-fold side.
  • Started worrying because the kind of hem lace I bought isn't really lace. It's like flat elastic with a tight, translucent "skirting" for want of a better way of saying it...
OK, I'm merely half way through my account of machinations (ha!) and tasks before the weekend sewathon. But even I'm bored by it.

Here's what I'm aiming to make: one hot pink tricot above knee half-slip with navy picot waist elastic and that weird hem lace I just referred to - also in navy. One peach-nude tricot above knee half-slip with black picot waist elastic and that weird hem lace I just referred to - also in black. I was really drawn to the hem lace. I only hope it works. (I guess that means I'll be going back to Mokuba before Sat. to see if I can get something more "standard" that costs less than $17.95 a metre. As backup.)

And we wonder why no one sews anymore.

Brief Update: It's like a miracle, because I've finally responded to your recent (and less recent) comments. So sorry to have taken this long. Every comment I get gives me such a thrill - really. So if you feel like looking back, now's the time...

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Child's Play

Last weekend, on the hunt for a pair of -40 snow boots for M, I discovered 2 rather interesting things:
  • M's feet are now a size 4 kids - which is the same as a women's size 6?!?!?
  • We Canadians really know how to design and manufacture boots, to wit: Beeko.
In truth, this isn't the most colour-saturated photo ever - they might have gussied it up a bit on the website. But the shoe is just gorgeous. Youthful yet not too "little kid".

They are one of 2 pairs I bought - the ones that are merely warm and water resistant, we might say "fashion-y". (They weren't in the plan but I could not resist so I chalked them up to an early Xmas present.) The others, the ones I went out for in the first place, are arctic snow boots by Kamik. That word means - Lord help me - "Inuit boot" in Inuktitut.

Had I realized that before I got home, they might never have been purchased. :-)

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Happy Thanksgiving

Have a wonderful long weekend, all my American friends and family. Make sure to enjoy some kind of baked good for me! Note: I do enjoy pumpkin.

I'm going to take a few days off to decompress from the rather busy turn my life has taken lately - and try to prepare for Xmas while I'm at it.

See you next week. xo

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

November Blues

Right about now, I could really handle a lounge by this pool. My friends in SoCal - you are lucky indeed.

Photo courtesy of Studio G

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Top of Mind

Disclaimer: This new cowl top took a zillion hours and 2 full tries to to come together. Yes, I spent an extra 25 bucks on emergency cab fare to go spend another 15 bucks on fabric, resulting in my free pattern top costing approximately $60.00 when you factor in the tax.

Oh, and then there's the 20 hours of my life I'm never getting back - not to mention at least 5 hours of Scott's life.

Seriously, 3/4 of the way through this project, we started laughing compulsively because we couldn't fathom how any human being could do this for a living. It's SO FUCKING HARD - so unyieldingly brain-hurting every step of the way. I mean, we like to think we're pretty smart and we were jelly.

The pattern was free, and I think its lines are beautiful, so I guess I shouldn't complain about how mediocre the guide was. Note to reader: When instructions say "Skill required: Back neck facing", pay attention. And if you don't know what that is but how bad could it be, presume the answer is: pretty fucking bad.

The garment sports a shallow cowl, as you can see, and the fabric is gorgeous - a bitch to maneuver, but so solid and yet with give. All the shots below make it seem black, but it's a deep navy blue. I tried to overexpose a bit so that, despite the mid afternoon dusk, you can still make out some of the details. I've left the sleeves unfinished (knit doesn't fray and the lines were cut clean by a rotary blade) for a bit of interest.

(Oh, who am I kidding, I just didn't have it in me to hem them. Which takes nothing away from the fact that it works nonetheless.)

Please say nice things to keep me from completely giving up on this insanely challenging pursuit.