Saturday, 30 March 2013

It's Time!

It's that time of year again to start your seeds! Well, if you really must know, it was that time a few weeks ago and a few weeks ago these seeds were planted. But if you've been keeping up, you know I've been too busy sewing to post about this until now.

First things first: get out the seed stash and divide them into groups (herbs, flowers, tomatoes, direct sow lettuce/peas/beans, and other indoor starter seeds).
The stash.

The lettuces, all direct sow once the frost has passed. I never could grow spinach successfully.

More direct sow seeds. I'm pretty pumped about the chickpeas and carrots!

All our herbs. These will be started now.

Our tomatoes. The Wild Cherry Tomato was the best investment ever. Harley loves them! These will be started now also.

More seeds to start indoors. I am especially interested in the zucchinis.

Some onions. We will grow some in pots and some we will start outdoors in our planter boxes.

Our flower seeds. We have a small section for flowers only (we keep finding glass and rusty nails in there so it probably isn't suitable for food), and I'm trying to keep the flowers low-maintenance hence the Black Eyed Susans. The colourful paper are leftover wedding favours from when we got married. They are seed papers!
Then, grab a bucket, pour in some potting soil, and get it nice and moist.
I love the smell of warm dirt. For reals!
Then, grab your vessel of choice, load them up with soil, label them appropriately (we always name our plants), and plant your seeds according to the directions on the packet!

It is probably important to note that in addition to the ceramic pots and the compostable pots in the background of the previous photo, we also experimented with containers:
Toilet paper tubes. Don't do this. HA. Ours went moldy like the next day and sadly, Zelda, Zorba, Zala, and Wendy are no longer with us as a result.
Our egg shells, however worked great!
Meet Walter the Wild Tomato!
And they all sit upright if you just keep the carton. Ain't they cute lookin'?

My only suggestion is that if you do use egg shells, you rinse your shells out and let them dry completely before using. We didn't and they stink a little.

The reason why we did the tomatoes in egg shells is because my tomatoes last year, at the beginning of the season, had blossom end rot, which is caused by a calcium deficiency.

(Say hello to Bran, named after Bran Stark, for all you nerds out there. It starts tomorrow!!!) One of the solutions to prevent blossom end rot is to crush egg shells (since they are high in calcium) and sprinkle it on the dirt above the roots. I figure by planting in egg shells, I eliminate one step and recycle the shells. We'll see how it turns out, though!
Anywho, I suppose the eggs are also appropriate since it is Easter tomorrow? Since, you know, when Jesus rose from the grave, he hid a bunch of chocolate eggs around each of the apostles' houses. :)

Happy Easter! Enjoy your family time!

{Oh gawd the 80s! Stahp!}

Friday, 29 March 2013

Sneak Peek

I'm nearing the end now, have a tiny peek at some of the work I've done!
 (Also, the sewing is why I am M.I.A., sorry, but when I get close to finishing a project, it consumes all of my time. It may even consume my SOUL! Muahahahahahaha........)

So FLIPPIN excited!

{Something good}

Sunday, 24 March 2013

Progress Part 2

I don't want to be doing this update. Really I don't.


Because I'd rather be sewing, of course!

But here it is, just for you, an update on my Mad Men Dress Challenge 2:

In the last progress post, I showed you what my muslin looked like after about a month of futzing around with my darts. I still wasn't happy with them. I tried using Gertie's method on changing the darts to be more flattering and I kept ending up very....nippley.


Well, I am happy to say that not only did I figure out the problem, but I have done A LOT.

After sorting out the nipple darts (which I may do a tutorial on another time), I had to futz around with the sizing by bringing the zipper in and out, again and again, and I had to fix the neck gape. When I was finally happy, I transferred everything to my pattern. Check it out:

See how many times I changed the zipper placement?
A new shoulder dart to get rid of neck gape.
The front

The back.
The alterations transferred to the front bodice.

I added the bust dart to get rid of my massive neck gape.
Check out all the alterations to the darts! And these are just the ones I put on the pattern. This doesn't include the ones I did on the muslin alone!

The alterations to the bodice back.

The new shoulder dart to deal with the back neck gape.

Well, after getting to this point, I did even MORE stuff. Though I did not take many process pictures. So here is a quick run down with a few final photos:

Next I traced my pattern pieces onto some kraft paper to make new pattern pieces. I extended the back bodice on the new pattern pieces along the centre seam by about a 1/4 of an inch to account for the zipper width which would no long be in the centre back of my Mad Men dress. Then, I extended the front centre seam by about an inch to account for the buttons and button placket. After that, I drafted the button placket and a collar, both on my own! (Well, okay, I was using my sister's pattern drafting book to guide me. But I have never taken any sort of pattern drafting course of anything, so this is a big deal for me!) Then I got to work!

The left side with the button placket sewn on.

The right side and the interfacing for the placket laying over top.

The back bodice.

And all together!
So that's all I have photos of for now. I've been trying to take more progress photos, but honestly, I just don't want to stop what I am doing to take photos! Ha!

Anyway, I can't wait to finish and show you my dress! So I am going to go work on it now. Right. Now. :)

{One day...}

Wednesday, 20 March 2013

Grow Write Guild Prompt #1: Write about your first plant

Here is my first Grow Write Guild response. It is nothing fancy, I just answered the questions that were given. This one was hard because I don't really remember all that much about it even though it was only about six years ago! If you want to know what the questions were, the original post is here.
Enjoy! :)

Although I know that I've planted things before (I have photographic proof, see below), when I was much, much younger (I also vaguely remember coming home with a bean plant in kindergarten and grade three), the first plant that I remember consciously planting was a tomato plant, bean plant, and a zucchini plant.
You want my shirt and glasses. I know you do.
I was 20 years old when I grew my "first" plants.

I grew it in Niagara Falls, Canada, at my parents' house (also my house).

 I purchased some seeds from either Johnny's Select Seeds or Urban Harvest, both online. I started them from seed in those little pop up peat pellets on the lid of a Rubbermaid container on the floor beside a heater vent and the sliding door (I figured the sun in the afternoon would be good for them). I purchased and had read You Grow Girl! (I'm not sure exactly what prompted me to purchase the book, but I think it had something to do with my interest in environmentalism, or with my gradual increase in knowledge about the food industry due to a food allergy). The book suggested I buy Black Brandywine Tomatoes, so I did (I don't recall why I purchased the Zukes). I bought the beans because I knew they would be easy. I knew nothing about the tomato or zucchini plant before I bought it. I only knew that the tomato would grow to be a weird-looking (as I thought at the time) one.

I had no emotional attachment to the tomato, bean, or zuke (In fact I didn't even eat tomatoes at the time. I'm not sure about zucchinis, and my beans only came out of a can).

I thoroughly enjoyed growing the plants. My favourite part was watching the tiny green stems push their way through the barren landscapes of the peat pots. It was astounding to me that something so tiny could push through all that dirt. One thing we (my husband [then boyfriend], and I) did, that we still do, is we created a map of all the things we planted on a separate sheet of paper and we gave each plant a name. And the name HAD TO be alliterative. Or else. I think there was a Tom Tomato. And Zorro Zucchini? I still find it hard to come up with names. And I may have talked to my plants a few times that first year. I swear I'm not the only one who does this so stop looking at your computer screen like I am a little off. I still love the smell of warm moist soil, I still freak out when I see a new stem pushing it's way up through the dirt, and I get very excited when I receive my seed catalogs in the dead of winter. And I am no longer afraid of bees. I love seeing bees in my garden now. Especially bumble bees! And weird small bees that I never noticed before.

I remember getting a number of zukes out of our zuke plant, quite a few beans, and a number or tomatoes as well. I know we had planted other things that year, but these are the three plants that I recall with certainty.

The plants are all dead now. We ate the zukes. I think my husband ate the tomatoes, but I can't be certain. Only the beans live on through their offspring. The beans have also gone on to live in an uncle's garden too.

Monday, 18 March 2013

Grow Write Guild

Hey, did you know that Gayla Trail, over at You Grow Girl, is starting a Grow Write Guild? Gayla will be posting a writing prompt every two weeks, starting tomorrow, that has to do with gardening. Even if you don't have a blog, but you have a garden, it would be a great little exercise in reflecting on your growing successes and failures. I'm looking forward to it!

 When I first started gardening, Gayla's book, You Grow Girl! was the first (and only) gardening book I purchased, and it has made a world of difference in my love of gardening. Not only is she local (-ish, she is from Toronto, but she is still a Canuck!), but her book makes gardening ACCESSIBLE to young people. Because it is not just old retired ladies who enjoy growing stuff! I highly recommend it if you are thinking of growing something, in a pot, in a garden plot, fruits, veggies, flowers, whatever! And I also highly recommend you start growing something even if you aren't thinking about it already. This is always a good start.

I love gardening, but sometimes find it difficult to put things into words properly, so this will be a good exercise for me. If you enjoy gardening, you should join us!

Do you garden already? What do you grow?

{Ahhhhh spring....}

Vintage sewing deliciousness.

So the other day my cousin calls me up:

Susie: Hey Car, I just cleaned out a bunch of things from my closet and I wanted to know if you wanted any of it. Even if you just want some of it for fabric and then donate the rest, that's fine. I just thought you might get some more use out of it than if I just gave it away.
Me: Sure, that sounds cool, thanks, Susie.
Susie: I also have some ribbons and buttons and things that I am getting rid of, would you like to see those as well? I know that you are sewing and I thought you might use them.
Me: Buttons?! Heck yeah, I'll take your buttons!
Susie: Okay, I'll bring them over.

Check out the awesome vintage stash that she brought over for me!
How awesome, right?

From a bread company.
Wait for it......

That's right, it is a pack of needles!!! Wouldn't that be awesome if bread companies still did this?

Cute little buttons.

One of these hit paraders is from 1957, the other 1955!

The ads are awesome!

But this ad really caught my eye!

Thank GOODNESS for Tampax. Otherwise, how would I feel poised and dainty at that time of the month?

Some pretty pink lacey trim.

The most beautiful royal blue seam binding. I guess I'll need to learn how to use seam binding now!

I really can't wait to start to use all this!

{Why is this stuck in my head?}

Tuesday, 12 March 2013


It's been forever since I've talked about sewing. Last time I mentioned that I was going to use Maddie's tutorial on making a sloper. I tried, got frustrated, and changed gears. I am still going to make a sloper, but I think I'll wait until the summer when I have more time. So instead I've been working on altering the Simplicity 2444 dress in preparation for the Mad Men Dress Challenge 2 and for the navy polka dotted dress I've been meaning to make for months now. Here is a quick peek at the muslin I've been working on. Although it looks pretty bad in this picture, I've actually made quite a bit of progress:


Now, you can see I've circled where I screwed up sewing in the sleeve. I know that on a muslin, you don't really have to sew in a sleeve, but I've never done it before so I thought it would be good practice. I found out that I cut the sleeves a size too small because they are so tight that I can't really move around in this bodice with the sleeves. Like, at all. They have since been removed, I figured I'll work on them later. I don't need sleeves for my Mad Men dress, so I'm not too concerned right now.

I am also pointing out some major sagginess under the bust. I've fixed most of this simply by bringing the bodice back in significantly, but there remains a little. I've tried to alter the darts the way that Gertie suggests, but I ALWAYS end up looking, as Trevor puts it, nippley. So I'm going to work on the darts a bit more and see if I can't figure it out with the pattern making book my sister lent me. And who knows, when I insert the button placket, it might completely change the fit again.

As for the Mad Men Dress Challenge 2, I actually chose my inspiration dress a while ago:

I don't even watch mad men, but I like this dress and I can see myself wearing something like this so, why not? I said I wanted to be more social this year, and this joining in this challenge would be a great way to do so, don't you think? I've been debating between making a real button up front, and making a fake button up front. I am leaning towards real, that way I can learn some new techniques, but again, we'll see when I make a muslin of the top with the collar and the buttons.

I've already started to look for fabric. I think the fabric is going to have to be inspired by this, but not exact. Which is fine. But I haven't been to Fabricland yet. Not that I have high expectations for finding a fabric that looks like this. Of course, I could try to make a fabric like this using different techniques, but hey, I've got a day job and a night job to hold down, so I don't think that is going to happen.

Thanks for reading this little update. I can't wait to get my muslin done and get started on my dress. Are you sewing in the Mad Men Dress Challenge 2?


Friday, 8 March 2013

Trip v.2.0

Here are some photos from the England part of our Germany/England holiday trip. We didn't take as many pictures of downtown Oxford since we've already been. We spent most of our time in Tackley with friends.

We lived in Oxford for a year as new teachers, it was our first home together, so it holds a special place in our hearts. Enjoy!

Getting ready for the Norwegian themed New Year's Party.

Homemade doughnuts for the party. Deliciousness.

New Year's Day, heading up to the heath (public lands) for some fun.

Someone threw the football and it got stuck in the tree.

A friendly game of catch.

Beautiful, sunny day on a mossy tree.

When it rains constantly, the moss is a rich, vibrant green.

Tree in the middle of the heath.

Part of the heath.

It was just a little mucky.

Amanda, Trevor, and Taffy on our way back to the village.

Big, gnarly tree on the way back.

The quaint little village of Tackley, just outside of Oxford.

Along the Oxford Canal walk.

Along the Oxford Canal walk.

A very well kept houseboat.

When we first moved to Oxford and were looking for a house to rent, a houseboat was one option!

Side street in downtown Oxford.

They call it the city of spires.

At the Radcliffe Camera, part of the Bodelian library, my favourite place.

The Alice Shop. Apparently Alice used to get candy from here.

Part of Christchurch, where they filmed the dining hall in Harry Potter.

At Christchurch.

HA. In Thame.

An old door, now covered up.

Wouldn't it be incredible to go to a university like this?

A bridge at Blenheim Palace.

A tree at Blenheim.

From the inside.

Just so you can see how big this tree actually is.

Blenheim Palace. It was closed that day. :(

Bourton-on-the-Water. Ridiculously cute village.



How cute, right?

So mossy and green!

Stroll across the bridge at Bourton-on-the-Water with Amanda.

Heading to Forest Hill, the village where we lived.

Pretty excited!

At the White Horse pub for lunch. Best Thai food ever.

After our starters, we both had Phad Thai.

A mailbox in the wall.

A canal near Tackley.

Trevor on a bridge near Tackley.

It is easy to see where J.R.R. Tolkien got his inspiration from.
 If you ever have a chance to go to Oxford, DO IT. I recommend going between May and September, when it rains less and you can walk around without being freezing cold all the time from the dampness. It is stunning and there is just so much history all over! And best of all, no language barrier! Well, for the most part, haha. If we could do anything other than work as a teacher over there, I think we would both move back in a heartbeat.

Are you planning any vacations in the near future?

{Make this place your home}