Friday, November 13, 2015

Happy / Sad.

We are moving!

Happy: we found a beautiful older home just out of town that is spacious, with a big yard, lots of gardens, and in a great community. We are excited for a new beginning!

Sad: leaving our first house feels bittersweet. Every day I curse that it is too small, the kitchen is hard to work in, I hate my old yellow bath tub... but we have put so much of ourselves into this house, I feel a little sad leaving it! Like the lilac bush my mom got me for my first mother's day, and the hand-me-down peony bushes...

We move the first week of December, which is approaching way too fast. I'm excited to get into our new house, but have way too much on my plate right now.

The new house was built in the 1930's and has many of the original features. On the downside, it's a old house that needs some repair and updating, which is always scary to take on. I've been busy the last little while getting quotes and information on some of the repairs that need doing. I feel out of my element, but it'll all get done...

I'm very excited to get settled in. I'll have an even bigger studio space. Dan will have a room to set up his easel and paint.  The backyard is filled with gardens and will have lots of room for Isabel and Oliver to run around in.  It's got a beautiful sun room where I picture having morning coffees in the summer. It's in a lovely little community, just outside of town, similar to where I grew up. I certainly have many wonderful memories of small "village" life growing up, and I hope Isabel will make lots of great memories here too.

Find me Downtown Orillia!

Wednesday, November 4, 2015

A while back, I was looking for a new hair dresser.  I have always hated getting my hair cut, so I tended just to grow it long and snip the ends myself (I know, I know...).  I always found the conversation so awkward, and I always ended up going home with fluffy bangs and too much volume, A friend of mine recommended Susie at Changing of the Garnet, so I decided to give her a try.  I basically fell in lady-love. Susie is amazing; Talented, hilarious, hard working... all the good things. And she never leaves me with fluffy bangs

She recently decided to expand her salon to include a small boutique, carrying handmade goods from the Orillia area.  So, naturally....

Here I am!

I've got a few pieces that are not in my shop, as well as lots and lots of sleep masks. I hope to bring new items down over the next week or so too!

She is planning on having several artisans. You can see Stephanie Whalen's paitings in the background.

If you are in the area, take a peek inside! And book yourself in to get a hair-do!


Tuesday, November 3, 2015

I love halloween! I love ghost stories and candy and dressing up... it's just the best. One of the best parts of having a kid is being able to re-live that feeling that surrounds the holidays.

We didn't go out trick or treating. Isabel is still a little young and I don't need to eat any more chocolate than I already fit into my diet.  But, we did dress her up and went for a long, fall walk, and even let her have a piece of candy or two.

I made her dress using Puperita's Hula Hoop Dress Pattern. It's  a great little pattern that goes together easily. I made some alterations to the pattern. I didn't line it, and instead just used bias tape around the neckline.  It buttons up the back, but I used KAM snaps instead because I really hate sewing button holes... I also added a 3 layer skirt, with the top layer being made of spiderweb netting. I cut the hem jagged for an extra witchy look.

I also made her striped leggings using Brindille & Twig's Legging Pattern. It literally takes minutes to sew. I use fold over elastic around the waist.

Maybe I'm biased, but she's definitely the cutest little witch I've ever seen!

Etsy x DX Mastercraft Workshop

On November 11, I'm leading a lingerie-making workshop at the Design Exchange in Toronto!

The Design Exchange and Etsy have partnered to offer several Mastercraft workshops. You can learn lingerie making with me, Fabric Dying (I kind of want to do this one), jewelry making, and more! 

I'm really excited at the chance to do some in person teaching!

To prepare, my bestest buddy Abbey came up for the day so that I could teach her how to make lingerie!

Abbey has sewing experience, but hasn't sewn much over the last few years,  hadn't worked much with knits, and had never sewn lingerie. 

Oliver makes sure she cuts the gusset lining correctly.

Just by watching my demonstrations, she was able to complete the entire process herself, from cutting the fabric to doing the finishing touches. 

Getting the hang of sewing fold over elastic! She's a natural.

Lingerie making is one of those things that just takes practice. Abbey did an amazing job, especially since this was her first time working with lingerie fabrics and notions, and felt a little rusty on the sewing machine! Getting the elastic just right and mastering that zig zag stitch takes a few tries, but on the whole, her set went together really well!

Abbey's first try! Amazing!

I'm hoping I'll get to see a couple familiar faces at the workshop, and meet some new ones too. If you know anyone in Toronto who would be interested in learning how to make lingerie, please let them know about the workshop! I'll be providing a variety materials and a notions kit so that you can create a truly customized set. 

See you on the 11th!

Happy Birthday Isabel

Saturday, October 31, 2015

We celebrated Isabel's birthday last weekend with friends and family. I have to admit, I was never much into planning parties or get togethers, so before I had Isabel I was a little nervous I'd be disappointing in the Birthday Party Department. Turns out, planning parties is pretty fun, and a great excuse to make CRAFTS!

Cake topper from Cuts of Confetti

It was also a nice chance to get people together in our house for one last time before we move. It's feeling a little bittersweet; on to bigger, better things, but leaving behind a cute, little house I love!

I had a bit of a food-fiasco with my icing. I attempted a Martha Stewart recipe and failed miserably... I ended up sending Dan to the grocery store for several tins of icing. I should have just done that in the first place. I'm good at making lots of things, baking (besides the basics) is not really my forte.  Regardless, it was still delicious and I have eaten WAY TOO MUCH left over cake.

"I can walk if you hold my hand!"

I made Isabel a dress for her big day using Rabbit Rabbit Creation's Hummingbird Dress.  I made it pretty fancy, with a lined sequin top and full cut chiffon skirt. I edged the top in fold over elastic so that the sequins wouldn't rub against her skin. I really like this dress. It took hardly any time to sew and looks so cute on. I plunked Isabel down in front of a mirror while she was wearing it and her eyes went wide, she started giggling and fluffing the skirt around. My kid already loves to play dress up (which is great, because it's one of those silly things I love about having a kid).

Proud parents!

So, I made quite a few things for her party, but the thing I'm most proud of is this little time capsule I've put together for her to open on her 18th birthday. I asked guests to write little notes or memories for Isabel, included some family photos, the sleeper the wore home from the hospital, the dress she wore to the party (which I made) and her party hat (also made by me), among other little momentos.  I think it will be a nice way for us to reflect when she is older, especially since she will not have any memory of this first year of her life! 

The other fun thing I did was set up a photo booth. I happen to have a backdrop stand and tripod, which I use for my business. So, I set it up with some dark blue batik and glittery gold, pink and silver stars. It was a nice way to get photos with (most of) our family.

And of course, Isabel got to have some cake....

 I honestly don't know where this year has gone! When people say "they grow up fast" they really mean it. It feels like just yesterday she did nothing but want to nap in my arms. Now she barely stays still! I kind of miss those newborn days, but it is so much fun watching her grow up. Thanks for humouring me with all of my baby posts. I'm terribly proud and love to share!

A Podcast + Getting Personal

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

I get really nervous about the thought of actually talking to people, which is funny because I'm pretty much an open book. Not much is off limits with me... But once the initial jitters wear off, it can sometimes be hard to stop talking! A while back I had the opportunity to do an interview with Reyna Lay, for The Reyna Lay Designs Podcast. It was so much fun chatting with her, I could have gone on for hours! I'd love it if you had a listen to our discussion. I talk a bit about juggling business + baby, plans for the future, and some tips on sewing lingerie.  Reyna is also having a pattern give away and is offering a coupon code for my Pattern Shop... But you've got to visit her site for all of that info!

On the topic of Podcasts... Have I told you yet how obsessed I am with Podcasts? When Isabel was a few months old she was having some serious nap issues, so I would put her in the stroller or the carrier and I would walk her all around the city... To keep my very tired mind occupied I started listening to Podcasts. First, I got hooked on Skeptoid. I'm a bit of a science nerd and skeptic (but I also love the paranormal and Bigfoot), so I devoured every single episode. Then I binged on Skeptics Guide... Then onto Criminal, Quackcast, Stuff You Missed in History Class, Sawbones, Oh No Ross and Carrie (MY FAVOURITE! I LOVE THEM!), Limetown, Nightvale, Lore, Stuff Your Mother Never Told You, Grown Ups Read Things They Wrote as Kids... I am constantly listening.  If you follow me on twitter, you may know that I suffer from insomnia. Well, there's a podcast for that. Ok, it doesn't stop me from waking up at 2am, but Sleep With Me Podcast does actually get me to go to sleep most of the time (and even when it doesn't, at least I get a good laugh). Anyone else listen to any of these? Podcasts have seriously saved my sanity. Being a mom involves a lot of not-exactly-exciting moments (I love you, Izzy). Podcasts are an excellent way to feel mentally stimulated while also tending to a drooling, biting, maniacal little human. I'm excited about Reyna's Podcast, as there aren't really a lot of sewing related podcasts.

Life as a whole has been extremely busy lately. Today is Isabel's birthday (my little girl is one already!) and I've been planning a birthday and doing lots of crafting. We've been busy with lots of projects around the house, and business has been very good. To make life a little more challenging, we also decided to buy a house and sell ours, kind of impulsively. Things were going really smoothly at first, but we've run into a few bumps over the last few days that have me second guessing the whole thing...  I'm at that point where I've been going-going-going, and just reaching my breaking limit. As I've learned with our first foray into real estate,  there are a million things that can go wrong with a sale and purchase, so I'm trying to not count my chickens before they hatch.  But it's hard.

One of the other things we managed to squeeze in was a family photoshoot. Dan surprised me for our anniversary by hiring a photographer to take some candid photos of us! It was such a nice surprise and I am so happy to have these momentos of this special time with Isabel. It really is true, the first year flies by. I saw a newborn baby while I was out with Isabel today, and I can hardly even remember what that was like. It's like it goes by in the blink of an eye... now my girl is starting to walk, pointing at the dog and shouting "DOH!", and giving big, wet kisses.  I want to give a big, heartfelt thanks to Naomi from Shutter Owl Photography for spending the afternoon with us and capturing us in all of our glory. Isn't Oliver a ham? He loves to model.

Oliver is in the midst of "crazy pug" (if you have a pug you know exactly what I'm talking about).

Oliver strikes a pose.

My handsome man and beautiful daughter

My mini-me! The most important person in the world.

Sewing outside my comfort zone

Friday, August 21, 2015

Large scale projects scare me. I'm not the most precise sewist when it comes to sewing for myself, and I usually shy away from sewing large scale items.  But, I felt like stepping outside my sewing comfort zone and trying something new. Isabel has been great inspiration to try new sewing endeavours!

One of the things I love most about being a mom (besides slobbery baby kisses, which is Isabel's new favourite thing), is getting to relive all of the things you loved as a kid!  When I was little, I loved playing with play food (which is funny because as an adult, food-prep is one of my least favourite things, but I do love to eat!), playing with dolls, doing arts and crafts and... forts!  So, I decided to try my hand at making a play-tent.

I used the tutorial on Make-It Love-It to make the frame. It worked out really well, but I'm going to add another 1x2 board across the bottom to add some stability). To make the fabric tent portion, I roughly followed the tutorial on Make-It Love-It, but instead of doing a flat front and back opening, I added gathers and a binding along the top.  I used clearance fabric from my local fabric shop. It's a pink ombre eyelet fabric. I layered it overtop of ivory broadcloth. It's not too heavy, and feels so pretty inside when the light shines through the lace. I seriously love being inside this tent and kind of wish I had one in my living room to hang out in! This tent wasn't exactly cheap to make, since I used 5 yards of lace and 5 yards of broadcloth, but you could easily find a more inexpensive fabric, or use a sheet like they suggested in the tutorial.

As you can see, Isabel is pretty darn happy with it. I put a fluffy, faux-fur rug inside along with some of her toys. She spent a good portion of this morning chasing Oliver in and out of the tent, giggling the whole time.

"I love my tent!"

I used 4' dowels and 4' lengths of 1x2 and it made a surprisingly large tent! It takes up a good portion of Isabel's small room, but that's ok! who needs space when you've got a tent as cool as this?

I really, really, really want to make myself a tent. I'm just trying to figure out how to rearrange the living room to make one fit!

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