Sunday, April 25, 2010

and away we go

The week has gone by so fast and now it's Sunday morning and we're off to catch a plane. I did finish my dress - and enjoyed the whole process - yesterday ~ 2pm. Lot's of sewing in it but it all went well. We're packed and just need to get the kids up and dressed. One of our kind neighbours is driving us to the airport. Imagine. At 5 am! She says she's up anyway. Not me. But the excitement has me going. Gotta run. back in a week!

Friday, April 23, 2010

One down, one to go...

No, it's not five o'clock Friday afternoon and no, both dresses aren't finished. But one is. Thank god!

After some tense issues with fitting, I've finally got it done. It's not exactly the way the pattern says, but damnit, it works, my daughter feels like a princess in it, and I can cross it off the list. I'll review the pattern for the pattern challenge when I get back from our trip. I'll also post a picture of my daughter wearing it - right now the girl is in bed. But right now, bring on the Beau's. Lug Tread is a beautiful beer!

Monday, April 19, 2010

Garden update

A woman can't just sit at a sewing machine for days on end, she also needs to sow in order to reap. Yes, I know, bad bad pun. Sometimes I just can't help myself!

At my neighbour's suggestion, I am trying an experiment with peas. I sowed half a packet of seeds as I normally would and soaked the other half overnight in water with a crushed vitamin C pill. He's read that by soaking in this way, you can get a better yield. We'll find out in June.

I've also started radishes: Easter egg, Early Scarlet Globe and French Breakfast; romaine and golden beets.

Other goodies growing in the garden include:

my rhubarb (can't wait for pie!),
asparagus - second year,

and a gift of spinach seedlings from my neighbour.

The front gardens are starting to come to life as well. Some of my favourites are the trilliums (just a couple shoots), lily of the valley, white bleeding hearts, and these:

primulas' glorious return
my unknown spring woodland flowers.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Blueberry lemon muffins

To celebrate the sunny morning, I baked blueberry lemon muffins. Yumm!

Not too sweet, these are a great way to start your day and they go great with coffee. Now I'm off to sew some more...
Blueberry Lemon Muffins
¾ Cupwhite flour
¾ Cupwhole wheat flour
1 Cupground oatmeal
23 Cupsugar
¾ tspbaking soda
¾ Cupplain yogurt
½ Cuplemon juice
¼ Cupmelted margarine or butter
grated rind of 1 lemon
1 Cupblueberries - either fresh or frozen

Note: For the ground oatmeal, I measure out rolled or quick oats and grind them in a coffee grinder. If you want to skip this step, use quick oats. If you use rolled oats, you'll have more texture to the muffins.
  1. In a large bowl, mix together dry ingredients: white flour through baking soda.
  2. In a smaller bowl, beat the egg. Add the yogurt, lemon juice melted margarine and lemon rind.
  3. Pour wet ingredients into dry ingredients and mix until just combined.
  4. Gently fold in blueberries.
  5. Turn on oven to 425°.  When the oven is up to temperature, spoon muffin batter into oiled or lined muffin tins. Bake for 15-20 minutes until browned on top and baked through.
  6. Enjoy!

Saturday, April 17, 2010


Almost done! It still needs the trim, a button at the back neckline, hemming and lining but I'm almost done! And it fits well!

The last few days I've been so excited, and nervous, and needing to take breaks to calm down before sewing more. But happy. It's going together well. Smooth sailing if you disregard me forgetting to clip the curves in the neckline and armhole seams. But I remembered after trying to press the facings flat. Hmmm...must be all my excitement.

I'm putting mine aside for a day or two to finish my daughter's and then back at it. Busy, busy, busy.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Sewing pleats, darts and wishes

It's been a beautiful day. I've been out with the dog, out for a run by myself and, I've been sewing. No tantrums today, just smiles so I've been having a good time making progress.

I thought I'd share how I do pleats and darts.

Transfer the pattern marks for pleats or darts to the fabric. This being silk, I used tailor tacks but usually I just use dressmaker's carbon and a marking wheel.

Thread a needle and knot the end of your thread. Sew a ladder along the markings. The ladder rungs go on the fabric's right side and the ladder's vertical sides go on the fabric's wrong side.

Ladder rungs - fabric right side

Ladder sides - fabric wrong side

Once you've sewn the ladder, carefully pull on your needle to tighten up the stiches. This will pull the dart or pleat together. Be sure you don't gather the fabric.

Zipping up

The zipped ladder leaves your stitching line

Machine sew along the ladder. Pick out the basting and press flat. If it's a dart or side pleat, press to the side according to pattern directions. If it's a box pleat, press so that equal amounts of fabric go to either side of the pleat. Then sew in the ditch from the right side to help the pleat hang properly.

 Finished box pleat

You're done! And so am I, at least for today. I'm relieved the dress is going together so well. Hope our special day goes even better!

Monday, April 12, 2010

Baby steps, wine and thank you

Today is Monday. Is it over yet?

Yes, it's been one of those days. This morning I was ready to blog all about how difficult it can be to parent and when can I get a vacation from said responsibility!?

But first I read one of my favourite blogs, Resurrection Fern, and was pulled into a world of peace. So thank your Margie.

I'm getting nervous about our trip and wedding. I thought I'd better tackled some of my to do list including making sure we have proper documentation to cross the border with our kids. Remember, although we've been together a long time and the kids our both our natural children, I have a different last name. With security the way it is these days (and rightly so) we need to be able to prove that we are the parents. After reviewing the information on the gov't. of Canada web site and the US gov't site, I felt the need to call the US embassy for clarification. After a long automated response with no appropriate option, the system referred me to their web sites and hung up.

I called the Registrar General of Ontario and was given the information I need. So thanks to the person I spoke to. It took all of two minutes.

High on my to do list is sewing my dress. I admit it. I was looking for easier jobs but today I started sewing the bodice together. Pin, pin, pin. Do a test, stitching scraps.

My Bernina is wonderful. Perfect tension, no slips and away we go. So thank you Marjorie - for the machine, for the visist and reassurance, and for your kind wishes for our trip.

Kids get home and promptly have a fight. One is sent to their room for hitting. I cuddle and speak with the other. I then speak to the offending child. Well really, it takes two so they're both at fault. I know why there was an argument. I also know why one hit the other and am able to explain to both kids their part in it so that they understand.

Not sure who to thank - Dr. Spock maybe or maybe my mom who tells me to take a deep breath. Either way thank you. I (we) got through it okay.

My man is exhausted. He's working hard on a software release at his day job and has been working hard on a volunteer job. But friends need his help (best friends at that) so away he goes after work. I'm left with the kids to feed and get to bed. I'm concerned for him but also, being honest here, I want him home for moral support with the kids. Well, he's teaching me patience and generosity and god knows I need reminders there! Also, as he often says, "Wine - we have kids for god's sake - of course we have wine!"

So thank you Rob. I'm enjoying a glass while they get ready for bed. I love you; seen you soon I hope!

Thursday, April 8, 2010

So far, sew good

The muslin is done. I've sewn it together and made some minor adjustments with the help of my daughter. Am I ever pleased.

I think it went together so well because I took my time to measure and pin and cut out carefully. Every piece matched up perfectly. Having good thoughts while working must help as well.

I'm ready for the silk.  I've a perfect fit, the machine (a Bernina 830 handed down by my soon-to-be mother-in-law) and the confidence to do it. Wish me luck. That'll help too!

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

"It has come!"

It is as if a green mist were creeping over it. It's almost like a green gauze veil.”
Frances Hodgson Burnett
The Secret Garden

The Secret Garden is one of my favourite children's books and I especially love the edition illustrated by Tasha Tudor. The book speaks of the joy of Spring and renewal that I hope you enjoyed over the Easter weekend.

We had beautiful weather, family visiting from Burlington and lots of good food. And with two egg hunts for the kids (one supplied by generous neighbours), they got more than enough chocolate.

I hope the bunnies don't find the parsley... 

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Happy April Fools

 "What's with the fish on you back?", asks my neighbour on the way back from the school bus stop.

 "What fish?", I say, thinking he means the logo on my sweatshirt.

But no, I reach behind and pull off a paper cut-out of a goldfish. I realize that my daughter wasn't just giving me a hug this morning. She got me. C'est moi, le poisson d'avril!