Sunday Lately (Week 87)

Sunday Lately with Blogger Tribe

It has been a busy, weird, and wonderful last couple of months, but with Labour Day around the corner and school starting this Tuesday (or already started, depending on where you live) I’ve come to realise that summer really is coming to a close, and it’s time to jump back into a regular fall/winter routine. With that in mind, I’m really looking forward to making this series, Sunday Lately, a regular part of my blogging routine for the next few months. I’m sure there will be weeks off here or there, but I’ve enjoyed reading everyone else’s Sunday Lately posts the last few weeks and decided it’s time to jump in myself!

It works like this: every week we’re given prompts, and we respond to them on our blogs, then join the linkup that you can find on any of the Blogger Tribe leaders’ blogs (Katy, Angelica, Meaghan, and Nicole). Then we all e-hang out every Sunday, sharing that small glimpse into the last week of life in our own worlds, and reading about everyone else’s.

This week’s prompts are: Doing, Appreciating, Designing, Humming, Expecting.

Doing

The last 2 months I haven’t blogged at all, and honestly every time I thought about how something would make a great post, and that I really should be posting more, I felt totally and completely liberated by the idea that this blog is personal rather than business, and I started it for fun. That means each and every time I found myself worrying that nothing had been published, I remembered that actually, I don’t have to publish anything – so I decided to relax and enjoy time with family and friends while the beautiful weather is still here. But of course I’m not the type to sit back and do nothing at all, that’s taking it just a lii-iittle too far for my taste. My compromise was to participate in the photo-a-day challenge hosted by Blogger Tribe on Instagram. If you haven’t been following along, check it out here – it’s been a fun month of photos, and again because it’s just for fun, I didn’t panic when I missed a day here or there.

Appreciating

Hands-down my favourite part of summer/Marc going back to work after his paternity leave ended at the beginning of June has been weekends. We’ve relaxed, we’ve gone on adventures, visited with family, participated in local festivals, visited farmer’s markets, played at splash pads, and picnicked in parks. Sunday mornings, though, are the best of all – after busy Saturdays of housework and adventures, but before we head out to church, Sunday mornings are when we take it slow. Baby Rydz usually has us up by 6am, but there’s no rush to shower, dress, eat, and get out the door – it’s lazy times spent on the couch, enjoying a hot coffee together, watching our kidlet play and having the chance to just be our little family of 3. This is when I started reading so many of the Sunday Lately posts – relaxing blogging for a relaxing morning, it almost feels like going to the spa! Almost.

Designing

Usually, this would be nothing, because designing is really not my thing. But conveniently enough, my sewing machine has been broken, and rather than replacing it & being indoors sewing all summer, I’ve just let it go/put off buying a new one. Probably also because it will be expensive. So instead, I’ve been ordering/hoarding fabric, and while waiting for it to arrive I’ve been sketching out all of the things I’m going to make. Just please remember to take the terms “designing” and “sketching” very liberally in my world, since most kindergardeners would be embarassed for my stick people. There’s no false humility here, trust me – I’m really good at a lot of things, but I totally missed the boat on the drawing gene!

Humming

The Hairspray Soundtrack! In case you didn’t already know, I’m a huge fan of musicals. Like, HUGE. I’m that nerd who wept during “Defying Gravity” when I saw it on Broadway. It. Was. TRAGIC!!! Yep. Anyhow…I was also a big fan of Hairspray well before the movie existed, but I’m not going to lie – I really like the movie too! The top 3 that have been on repeat in my head (and my phone) are “Without Love,” “Run And Tell That,” and “(I Know) Where I’ve Been” – BLM of the 60s, anyone? Baby Rydz is loving Hairspray too, it’s become his bath time soundtrack. Some days he gets so into it that we both end up soaking wet!

Expecting

Cooler weather to move in soon. Last year we were hit with an indian summer and Baby Rydz was actually born in the middle of a crazy heat wave, but this year I’m really hoping for fall to arrive soon. Summer is (don’t hate me!) my least favourite season, and if I had to choose, I’d rather skip it completely. Yep, I know, I’m weird. But I’m also done with the heat & ready for comfy fall styles, pumpkin spice lattes, and the end of this brutal humidity. Fall is possibly the happiest time of year for me – while everyone else laments going back to school and the cooler weather, I thrive in this return to routine with my love of hoodies and skinny jeans. I have a few things to sew up first, but then I’ll definitely be ready to put this summer behind us!

So what are you up to today?

 

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Real Life, Real Sewing

Note: this post includes affiliate links! Check out the list of all affiliate links that help support #RandomsByRydz here.

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Well it looks like I’ve been bit by the blog tour bug! The good news is it doesn’t hurt too bad, and the better news is that (I think!) I worked out most of the kinks in the last go-round, so this one should go a lot more smoothly than my first blog tour post!

The challenge from Roxanne at PenSeb&Rox and Sew20 is to show that you actually wear what you make – Real Life, Real Sewing. No staged photos are allowed, just pictures of us in our creations, doing our everyday thing. It can be a new item, or an old favourite that gets lots of wear. Oh yeah, and questions! She gave us questions to answer. So thanks for joining, sit back & relax with a coffee (or keep telling your baby not to eat your phone because you’re trying to read), and enjoy!

1. What do you look for when choosing a sewing project?

I like to ask myself “Will (insert name here) wear it?” The same question applies when buying fabric, but for patterns it’s really the most important question, because to me there’s no use having it if it’s not going to be used. (See what I did there?! Use, and used. Never mind, carry on…) The whole point of sewing for my family is to make clothes that we love and will wear, and that fit us properly. As much as I love sewing, there is no point spending the money on supplies, and time on assembly, if we won’t wear it – because that would be money and time better spent somewhere else, like with my family (who will then be naked because they won’t wear the clothes I made?!).

But the clothes that I have made are actually our most-worn items, and it’s such a relief – because let’s be honest, how many of us have closets full of clothes & think “I have nothing to wear!” Yep, guilty. Right here. That’s definitely me. If there’s something me-made in there, though, I never hesitate. And I want that feeling when I pick a project – I want to love the fabric and the fit of the pattern, and I want to want to wear it every day. Like if all my clothes were dirty and I had to pick something from the dirty laundry pile to wear, would I pick that? If the answer’s yes, it’s worth making.

Other things to consider are whether I can alter a pattern that I already own to be similar to save on the expense of buying a new one, and how many projects I already have on the go (will it get done any time soon, or can I wait to buy it later when I actually have the time to use it?). Also worth factoring is how much have I spent on fabric lately? Since I don’t (usually) sew to sell, there has to be a plan for any fabric or pattern that comes into the house.

Oh, and is there a nursing version/hack included or out there in the Facebook sewing world that I can use/I like, or can I figure out my own hack? The perfect example is this Agility Tank from 5 out of 4 Patterns. In the original pattern there is a clip-down nursing option, but I altered how the bra is constructed to make it a lift-up option since the tank is already open on the sides/has access to the bra without lifting the whole tank up.

2.  Is there anything you would like to (or wish you could) do differently when selecting projects?

Yes! I wish I could sew faster to get more done, and not have a budget. Then I’d never have to think about what I would do differently, and my husband wouldn’t panic every time he sees new fabric on the table! haha.  

3. What is your most used/worn sewing project? This either could be of all time or currently.

The first thing I thought of was my black & camel striped Layer Me Up (LMU) tee from Patterns for Pirates (P4P) – this is the first item I ever put a full bust adjustment (FBA) in, and I wear it ALL. THE. TIME. Like, if it’s not in the dirty laundry pile, it’s because I pulled it directly from the dryer to put it on. In fact, it has already put in an appearance on the blog! As with anything I’ve made for myself, though, it rarely makes an appearance in a picture unless it’s a selfie or it’s a planned photo shoot.

But then, I remembered the collection of pants that Baby Rydz has, and thought for SURE those get worn all the time, because they always seem to be dirty! The reason I even started sewing with knits at all was so he could have some affordable Maxaloones to fit over his adorable, fluffy cloth diapered bum. Then I moved on to Yoggers, because who doesn’t love little baby harem pants?! Then I discovered custom print knit fabric and the world of Facebook sewing groups, and all hope was lost. BUT, if the temperature is cool enough you can be guaranteed to spot #BabyRydz in some me-made pants, a bibdana, or the occasional shirt a few times a week. Our very favourite is this pair of Maxaloones made from a sheriff/cowboy/Texas Ranger print.

4. Do you have a project that you thought would be used/worn frequently but just did not end up working out?

YES! There are a bunch, but most of them can be taken apart, altered, and put back as something that I’ll wear pretty easily. Recently there was a case of serious “mom brain” around here & there was a pair of Mamaloones that were beyond saving. I had measured myself, cut, and taped the pattern just a couple weeks after Baby Rydz was born, because my maternity clothes were cutting into my c-section incision & my pre-pregnancy sweatpants either also cut in, or were still just waaaayy too small. But the project was put on the back burner, and months later I remembered that I still REALLY wanted this comfy pair of ‘loones for myself, so that I could have a bum circle too (yeah I’m dorky like that, it’s ok). Plus kind of, I was excited that my booty would fit into a pair of sweats without them stretching tight across the bum. #BigBumProblems 

Anyways, I forgot that I had measured & cut according to my size so soon after birth, PLUS I had been lazy (read: still on pain killers & really shouldn’t have been assembling pattern pieces on the floor) & didn’t bother shortening the pattern to my 5’1″ frame. By the time I was done, they were about 2 1/2 sizes too big, and a good 8″ too long. And they were entirely serged. I thought about fixing them, but was just so exhausted from a crazy day with the baby & the amount of work involved seemed too ridiculous. So I offered them to the ladies in my book club & one of them generously offered to buy them from me. Then she told me how incredibly comfortable they are, and how she wants more for herself & her daughter. Yeah, thanks. You know who else wants incredibly comfy Mamaloones? THIS MAMA! Haha. But the good news is that someone loves them & wears them often, PLUS just last week I finally made myself another pair. Another 3 months after sewing up the first pair. There’s no pictures of me wearing them other than the fit pics though, since I spilled food all over them the first time I wore them, and they’re light coloured. That’s just how I roll…

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5. What is your favorite tip or quote that applies to sewing for real life?

If you can dream it, you can do it. So often a friend will ask me if I can make something, or if it’s possible to re-create something they’ve seen online or in store, and it surprises them that the answer is always yes. Yes it’s possible. I may not want to, I may not have enough time, it may be easy, or quick, or cheap, or hard, or fast, or expensive. It may be worth re-creating, or it may just be worth buying it from the store, but the answer is still yes. So if you’re looking at a pattern thinking “I love it, but…” just remember that it’s within your power to change it! The beauty of sewing for ourselves is to make something exactly how we want, and if we don’t like it, we don’t have to make it that way! I love that this makes clothing shopping so much less stressful, because I don’t panic when I can’t find what I want, and in the end I have a closet full of clothes that I love and that actually get worn.

Do you have any examples of Real Life, Real Sewing to show off? You can play along by using the #realliferealsewing on social media. You can also win one of two $25 gift cards. More details at Sew 20.
Be sure to visit the other participants on this tour!

6/20 | Sew 20 Tour Kick-off | The Wholesome Mama | Wild & Wanderful | Randoms by Rydz

6/21 | Daydream Believers | Sugarplum Cuties | Friends Stitched Together | The Inspired Wren | PenSeb&Rox

6/22 | Sewstarly | Very Blissful | House of Estrela | The Berry Bunch | Musings of a Seamstress

6/23 | mahlicadesigns | sewingbyti | Candice Ayala | Call Ajaire | Sunflower Seams

6/24 | Beri Bee Designs | Lulu & Celeste | FABulous Home Sewn | Mae & K | Sew 20 Social Media Round-up

6/25 | Sew 20 Tour Wrap-up

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Make Laundry Don’t Do Laundry – the Lady Hazel Top

Note: George & Ginger kindly gave me this pattern for this blog tour, but they have no idea what I made or wrote. The faith they have in their pattern says everything – thank-you for your faith in me too!

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When I first started blogging I remember thinking “Definitely, I will never be up for doing a blog tour, it seems like SO much work. I don’t know how those women do it – I can’t even keep up with the laundry, never mind professional blogging!”

Well, I haven’t jumped into the world of professional blogging, BUT when I saw a call for this tour where women would rather make new laundry than wash the dirty clothes, I knew I had to jump on! Karly, Jeanine, and Cassandra put out the challenge to prove that sometimes, it’s actually faster to make new clothes than it is to run a load of laundry through the washer and dryer. Though I’m pretty sure in our house, it’s ALWAYS faster to make new clothes – even if it’s a project that I procrastinate forever and delay finishing!

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Exhibit A: the Lady Hazel by George & Ginger took me 3 days. THREE. DAYS. to complete. Is that actual sewing time? No, because if it were I would never try to sew again. But it IS how long it took from the time I started until the time that it was ready to wear in public. Because life: Baby Rydz demanding attention, poopy bedsheets, a monstrous spider invading my car, Bible study, hemming all 87 feet (!!!) of a prom dress, Baby Rydz puking on the sewing table (no, I don’t want to talk about it), and every other interruption you can imagine. You know, life things. But then that’s the point of this tour, right? When we’re made to choose between family time, sewing, and laundry, it’s family time & sewing that win. Unless there’s poopy AND pukey baby laundry. Sometimes, the laundry has to win.

But my reality is this: I am not one of those organized bloggy moms who gets a load of laundry washed, dried, folded, and put away every day in order to reduce the clutter/stress/chaos/wasted time/sanity/whatever else their Pinterest tag is peddling. I am that almost-losing-her-mind, way-out-of-her-league, totally-disorganized-FORGOT-TO-PACK-DIAPERS mom who just had a poopsplosion happen in the middle of playgroup.  Which means more often than not, it takes a good 10 days for laundry to get done around here. And no, I don’t mean all of the laundry gets binge-washed every 10 days (if it does, that’s probably because my husband has gone on a crusade, or I’ve had a REALLY good night’s sleep!).

It’s more like:
Day 1: Put laundry in washer.
Day 2: Don’t think about laundry.
Day 3: Remember laundry when we are across town & won’t be home for another 3 hours. Make mental note to switch load when we get home.
Day 4: Remember to switch load. But now it smells funky, so re-wash instead.
Day 5: Husband goes looking for soccer clothes, switches load to dryer but still doesn’t know where his favourite shorts are.
Day 6: Make mental note to wash load that has husband’s soccer clothes from last night before they get funky. Must also find other probably-funky load with lost soccer shorts.
Day 7: Husband takes load from dryer & puts in basket in middle of living room, as a passive-agressive attempt to get me to fold it. He puts baby load in because baby no longer has any clean towels for bath time. Or has made a mess of every crib sheet we own. Or both.
Day 8: Chase baby away from laundry basket 8 thousand times so he doesn’t drool on clean clothes, rather than take 10 minutes to fold it.
Day 9: Find wet swim clothes in swim bag that was used on Day 2, throw in washer & fold drool-encrusted load from living room basket so basket can be emptied/used. Empty said folded laundry to bench at the foot of the bed.
Day 10: Dress self, husband, and Baby Rydz using clean clothes on bench at foot of the bed. Realise we are all short on clean clothes, so print a PDF pattern to make. Put swim clothes in dryer, throw a new load in the washer, and re-start at day 1.
And now, an interlude of Baby Rydz, with a background of piled-up living room laundry, just to prove my point. Why is there ALWAYS laundry haunting the background of otherwise cute photos?! Oh right, it’s because I haven’t done it yet…
For anyone who neeeeeeeeeeds to know, this is how much time it actually took:
Day 1: Printing, taping, cutting pattern & cutting fabric – 1 hour, 30 minutes. But that’s not *really* accurate, since part of that was spent chasing Baby Rydz away from the pattern pieces, taking breaks to hold him, and trying to work one-handed. Not to mention snack & rehydration. It’s always important to rehydrate…
Day 2: All of the sewing except hand-stitching & hemming – and including seam-ripping one arm hole because I sewed it in backwards due to lack of caffeine – 45 minutes. Note to self: properly caffeinate before operating sewing machinery in order to avoid do-overs.
Day 3: Hand-stitch & hem. I didn’t time this part, but I was done by the time hubby was done cooking a 1/2 pack of bacon.
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So why did I take so long? First, it’s a new pattern. I’ve never made a G&G pattern before, so it’s getting to know the designer’s style and the pattern instructions. Second, it’s the hand-stitching. I HATE hand-stitching. Seriously, it took me 2 days to work up the courage to get to it. And in the end, it took less than 10 minutes. Was it worth it? To be honest, no. I’m not completely sold on the style, even though I was convinced that I would love this shirt. My husband says it looks weird, and wants to know why I call it “done” when there are no sleeves? Whatever. But my least favourite part? The fabric I picked needs to be ironed. Badly. From the pictures you can’t tell that I’ve ironed it repeatedly, but I have. In the end a drooly baby rolled all over it, and I decided to go with it because what’s an honest post about hating laundry if we don’t talk about avoiding the iron too?!
What I do like, is how airy/flowy it is – I’m sure this will be comfortable & light for summertime, even though there are 2 layers of fabric. I think I will give this pattern one more try, but now I’m on the hunt for juuuust the right fabric. And next time, I think I will cheat and alter the arm holes so that I won’t have to hand stitch at all. It won’t look as pretty, but since it’s just for me, I don’t mind. It’s not my absolute favourite top for this summer, but it’s a nice change from my usual “momiform” – which, if I’m being honest, will always be my absolute favourite.
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Thanks for following along on his leg of the Make Laundry, Don’t Do Laundry tour! Don’t forget to sign up for your chance to win some amazing prizes, AND get some amazing discounts from our sponsor designers, including George & Ginger, designer of this Lady Hazel!
My favourite part of a blog tour is discovering all of the new-to-me blogs. Be sure to check them out – some of my serious girl crushes are on this tour – it’s like I’m mingling with the celebrities! HAHA! So really, go look around!

 

Thanks to all of our amazing sponsors for being a part of this tour.

A few of the designers are having sales for the duration of the tour, so here’s the codes!
George & Ginger use code MAKELAUNDRY25 for 25% off her patterns
Blaverry use code MAKELAUNDRY for 25% off her patterns
Stitch Art use code MAKELAUNDRY for 30% off patterns
Paisley Roots use code MAKELAUNDRY for 25% off patterns
These codes are good through June 12th!

Then Laela Jeyne’s Emily Womens T-shirt & the Deluxe Charlotte Kids Leggings are on sale through the 11th! No code needed!

I know everyone loves a good giveaway so here’s the prize packages:

Link-up Prize Package
Prize Package 1
Prize Package 2
Join the Rafflecopter fun here:
And don’t forget that there’s a prize pack for linking up your Laundry creation! Link Up at Pear Berry LanePaisley Roots, or The Crafting Fiend
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Infamous Banana Bread Recipe


This one is one of our classic “make again” treats, and hands-down the most requested food that I make; it has also been referred to as “THE” banana bread. I picked this recipe up somewhere along my learning to cook journey, and have tweaked it over time to be more or less a no-fail, no muss, no fuss kind of experience. For the loaf in these pictures I actually forgot to add an egg, and it still turned out (though I KNEW something was missing and couldn’t remember what – it’s better with an egg!). The original copy of this recipe was printed ages ago & is long lost; the last time I can remember seeing it was my late teens, so this beauty is always from memory, and always delicious!

INFAMOUS BANANA BREAD

  • 3 or 4 mashed, ripe bananas (the original recipe calls for 3, it’s better with 4)
  • 1/2 cup butter, melted
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tsp of vanilla extract (but really let’s be honest, I pour generously & don’t even pretend I’m measuring. When you think there’s enough, add another splash!)
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 1/2 cups flour (I’ve used all purpose, cake & pastry, & brown, and a combination of all of the above – it’s whatever flour you prefer, or happen to have enough of in the cupboard if you decide at 2am that banana bread needs to be made, and needs to be made NOW!)
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • optional: 1 cup of whatever you love in your banana bread. Chocolate chips? Nuts? Caramel chips? Diced cherries? Your imagination & taste buds are the limit! I’d love to know what you love to add – make sure to share in the comments if you try it with this option!

Notes:
I’ve made this dairy-free by using a dairy-free butter alternative. The one I use is soy-free too, if that’s your thing.
I’ve also made this vegan by using the same dairy/soy-free butter, and a flax egg. To make a flax egg, mix 1 tbsp ground flax seed & 3 tbsp boiled water, let sit ~5 min until it’s “egg consistency.” As if flax seed could ever be egg consistency. Really, it can’t. Just pretend, and go with it.

The original recipe said to mix wet ingredients in one bowl, dry ingredients in the other, mix, pour into greased pan, and bake. That’s just way too many dirty dishes for me. I pour it all into my Kitchenaid, and once it’s mixed I put it in the dish to bake. If you’re using a regular loaf pan (like the original recipe said to) it needs to be greased, then bake at 350 for 1 hour or until knife/toothpick/other sharp narrow object of your choosing comes out clean. Other alternatives I’ve used:

  • Epicure’s mini silicone loaf pans: don’t need to be greased, bake for 45 min
  • Regular size silicone muffin liners: don’t need to be greased, bake for 30-35 min
  • Mini muffin tin with paper liners: don’t need to be greased, bake for 20-25 min


Since going dairy & soy-free I have so few guilty pleasures left, but one of them is banana bread with chocolate spread on it. This is supposed to be the vegan/soy-free/nut-free response to Nutella, but let me tell you it is NOT. It tastes more like butter with cocoa mixed in, which is perfect when you can’t add regular butter on top. 

Serve warm with your favourite coffee or tea right after the baby goes to bed & prepare for a moment of pure bliss. Bon appétit!

Did you try this recipe? I’d love to hear what you think in the comments below.

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Haben Sie deutsche Muster nähen?

It means “Do you sew in German?” Or so Google translate tells me. Is it right? Well, I really have no idea, so if I insulted your mother’s hairy back or complimented her moustache, I’m so sorry! BUT…more important than your mother’s esthetics nightmare – I can officially say that yes, in fact, now I do sew in German! Behold, exhibit A:

I’m part of a Facebook group that takes foreign language sewing patterns & does sew-alongs for the members, translating the instructions to English. This way, all if us English-speaking folk stand a chance against the nightmare that is trying to remember what the words on your pattern piece actually mean after you’ve lost your translation key. Why didn’t I just write the translation directly on the printed pattern, you ask? Yeah I’m not really sure. Because you weren’t here to think of that for me? Or because sewing & pattern piecing usually happens after 10pm in our home and I don’t actually function at that time? Really it’s a miracle this sweater doesn’t have 3 arms.

Anyways, even though I’m not really sewing in German, and I still have no idea how to speak German, I am very proud of this accomplishment. But you also need to ignore that someone had translated the instructions to English for me, because that doesn’t make it sound as cool.

Even though the pattern itself is really easy and is quick to put together, the translation wasn’t the greatest so I spent a lot of time  reading & re-reading. Eventually I gave up on the written directions, and mostly just stared at the photos & pattern pieces, willing them to make sense. As it turns out, this approach helped save my sanity (and my sweater!)

This time I made the tunic length because we’re between the seasons now and I always want a sweater dress at this time of year. Being short means I didn’t have to add any length to the pattern to make a dress. In fact, wanting a dress actually saved me the work of having to shorten it to fit properly. Win! 

I did the nursing mod AND a Full Bust Adjustment (FBA) according to the pattern’s directions/photos. The entire time I kept thinking this wasn’t the right way to do a FBA & wouldn’t really turn out properly since it only calls for added length, with no adjustment to width, arm scye, or hem. Now the “under bust” of the shirt sits at my natural waist rather than under the bust, and at this point it’s easier to make a new one with a proper FBA than to rip this one apart. BUT the nursing mod works, and really that’s the important part!

I also chose to do the “large hood” option, rather than a cowl or the “regular hood” – but I didn’t understand just how large it really is! My husband says it makes me look too Middle Eastern (ummmm…but I AM Middle Eastern, so I “look” it every day?!). I like to think of it more Red Riding Hood or gypsy style. It’s still gigantic no matter how you phrase it, so lesson learned & I’ll do the regular one next time!

My husband makes an appearance in this one! Or at least his shadow does. Hi honey!


The fabric was a Fabricville find (95/5 cotton/spandex), though next time I’d rather try a bamboo French Terry or another soft, cuddly fabric. And maybe this fall I’ll be brave enough to give it a go with a stretch fleece! 

In the end, I’m happy with the pattern & the final product, but there’s still more I would change for the next time. For now, it’s perfect for a spring walk with #BabyRydz & his papa!

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This isn’t real life!

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Back in March, there was a week that my husband went out & left me home alone with a teething, sick, cranky, crying baby so many times that he felt guilty. He felt so bad that he decided I needed a night out to have fun, and he would stay home with the sleepless terror.

While I really appreciated the sentiment, and thought it would be fun to go out with the girls, I knew I just couldn’t do it. After such a long week, nothing sounded better to me than a long, hot shower, enough time to myself to finish a cup of tea while it was still hot, and some totally un-interrupted sewing time. I wanted to go to bed early as well – but no matter how often I say that I will do it, that never seems to happen. Oh and leggings. I definitely wanted to be wearing some comfy leggings. Leaving the house for a girl’s night usually involves public-appropriate clothing, and in my world leggings are not public-appropriate.

In the end I negotiated the chance to stay home and do all of those things – but really, I was most excited for the un-interrupted sewing time. I had a ton of projects started that really should have been wrapped up (including some paid ones!), but with an opportunity like this, I really just wanted to relax & sew for fun. I had been stalking my regular sewing & pattern Facebook pages (see a list of my favourites here) and noticed that there is a free pattern on Made for Mermaids for a mermaid tail blanket! Of course there’s no adult version, but then I wondered why not – what self-respecting adult wouldn’t love a mermaid tail blanket?! More than anyone I know, my sister would want this!

So I did what had to be done, and hacked the pattern to made it adult-sized. I used a thick sweater knit, so it would be both cozy and warm, and I tested the finished project for myself to make sure. Well, and to snap a picture of it, if I’m being honest. 

After wearing it for about 2 minutes, I realised that light pink is actually less mermaid and more salmon than I was hoping for. Everyone who’s seen the pictures has been kind & said it looks more mermaid-ish, but the reality is this: I made my sister a fish blanket for her birthday! BAHAHAHA!!!! Because I finished late at night I wasn’t able to get any really great shots, but I’m hoping that when she gets it, my sister will be willing to model it for a mini photoshoot. 

When she opened it up she put it on right away, because: mermaid tail! Of course that means she had to text pics to make her friends jealous, so I snapped this one. And didn’t tell her it would be posted here. EEEEEK I LOVE YOU!!!


It took all of my un-interrupted sewing time, but I finished it & wrapped it up for my sister’s present that same night. Even though her birthday is more than a month away. Whatevs. I felt SO accomplished! Plus, I MADE A FREAKING MERMAID TAIL! Honestly, it doesn’t even feel like real life. #DreamsDoComeTrue

Worth making again?

When I was in college, I had a professor who told us about his early days of marriage, and how his wife was just learning to cook. To save her from devastated tears, and him from having to eat nasty meals, they came up with a simple question – “Is it worth making again?”

Years later after I was married, my husband & I borrowed this nugget of wisdom for ourselves. I’ve been cooking since I was young, and I’m even pretty good at it (if I may say so myself!), but that doesn’t mean we like everything that I make. This is especially true of testing new recipes.

This is always a touchy subject in our house – my husband insists that when you’re trying a new recipe for the first time you MUST follow it to a T. My philosophy is a little more lax, especially if there’s something in the recipe that I don’t like. 8 cups of mushrooms in my gravy? No thanks! Or even better, something that I love. Who in their right mind only puts 1 tsp of vanilla extract, really?! Some recipes were just never meant to be good (no matter how delicious they seem), and others are great, but just need a little tweaking. Either way, we’ve definitely had our fair share of experiments gone wrong.

It took some time, but my husband is now gracious enough to just say “Ummm…I don’t know if this one is worth making again.” Or, “It’s ok, but maybe next time without [insert offensive food here – ie apples in his salad].” For some reason he has a huge beef with fruit in salad. I keep throwing it in there & hoping he just won’t say anything, but no dice. (OK, no more food/cooking innuendos, promise! Though I am pretty punny…hahaha.)

Anyways, when he really enjoys something, he says “Meh, it’s good.” But then follows it up with “Definitely worth making again!” Something about being a man implies that “good” = “awesome” = “meh” = “OK” = “I don’t really like it and I’m just not telling you” = “I don’t care”. Yeah, I’m still trying to work all of that out too. Do you have a special code phrase that you use for your spouse to politely tell you that your food sucks? Share it in the comments below, we’d love to glean from your wisdom too!

XOXO

Finished product! #nomnom

#PinWin – Tuna & Chicken Stuffed Avocado

We all do it – when we’re browsing Pinterest, we’re unstoppable, and every creative idea seems easy, every recipe so simple & perfect. We pin what we love, and say to ourselves “Oh, I’ll definitely be back to try this later!” Sometimes we do come back, only to end up distraught at the outcome – what was supposed to be yummy/beautiful/easy, actually turned out gross/ugly/hard – and we fall victim to the inevitable #PinterestFail.

Then there’s the pins that, despite our best intentions, we totally forget about and they get buried in the hundreds of other pins that we have long forgotten, sitting overlooked for months – that’s where I pulled this beauty from. It’s one of those things that you put off forever, and once you do it, you wonder “Why didn’t I do this sooner?! I will now have to do it all the time!!!”

Clearly, I’m not someone who will be posting many tutorials. I managed a grand total of two pictures from this adventure:

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So colourful!

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Finished product! #nomnom

I’m so glad I pulled this recipe out for dinner the other day, even though we didn’t have all of the necessary ingredients. I don’t usually follow a recipe exactly anyways, so I thought I’d just wing it, and had to leave out the red onion, cucumber, yogurt, dijon mustard, lemon juice, and sweetener. I subbed in: fake dairy-free greek yogurt (coconut base), lime juice, red pepper, orange pepper, and a ton of ground cracked black peppercorns. At this point you’re probably wondering what the point of the recipe was at all? My husband’s sentiment exactly. But whatevs, live & learn.

The moral of this story was: we loved it! It definitely need the lemon juice, not lime (and this from someone who prefers lime!), but overall we agreed that it is worth making again. I’ll be adding it into the rotation of no-cook summer meals for sure, and I loved that it can be made ahead AND doesn’t use the oven! Now for winter to let go & let summer in…

Bon appetit!

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My Favourite PDF Pattern Designers

The #1 rule of Pattern Club, is you don’t talk about Pattern Club…

This is going to sound totally ridiculous if you’ve never lived with a sewist (or sewer, seamstress, tailor, quilter, or whatever else they choose to call themselves), but the fabric & pattern world is a cutthroat business, with all sorts of copyright battles, cat fights, embezzlement, & huge drama. Think of a profession that is almost exclusively women, then add teenage angst, PMS, and menopause to a mob mentality. On the outside it’s pretty, but on the inside it is nothing but darkness and drama if you don’t work hard to push back against it.

Since I don’t design or sell fabric or patterns, I’m able to steer clear of the insanity & choose to remain a casual observer (read: lurking to ensure that none of the people I order from are either psycho or a huge fraud). Really, my favourite part of “Pattern Club” is to see what others have been creating, and to get ideas for my own creations. What was most confusing when I first started this journey is that *sometimes* it’s ok to ask the poster which pattern they used & where they got their fabric, and other times it is totally inappropriate, and they will become very angry or frustrated with you (and the 40 million other people who want to know) for asking.

The main reason for this is that anyone who sews to sell (most are Work At Home Moms – WAHMs) does not want someone to go out and reproduce their one-of-a-kind creations & suddenly become the competition, or start under-selling them. The other reason is that while their item may be made from a base pattern, it’s likely that at some point they have mashed two or more patterns together, or used a pattern of their own creation, to design the item, and sharing that information with you for free in a public forum would again create competition, but also discount the tons of hours they put into testing to get it just right. Really, the seriousness of Pattern Club, right here. So you can imagine the drama when someone goes ahead & copies/scams someone else. Ugh.

ANYWAYS. While I’m also not willing to share every little detail of everything that I make, I do love sharing some of my favourite pattern shops, because these owners deserve some crazy credit for being as awesome as they are! In no particular order, here we go:

PATTERNS

Patterns for Pirates – this is the only affiliate link that I have on my entire blog! But also, I’m am in LOVE with her patterns, they are so easy to alter for the perfect fit (I’m short, so there is no perfect fit for me without alterations), and even easier to sew up. The Facebook page is here if you want to see what people are up to with her patterns, or if you need some help putting one together. If you’re going to get anything from Judy, please use my link & help feed my sickness addiction pattern collection!

Max & Meena – most of these pants patterns have an option for cloth diaper bums and disposable diaper/slim fit bums, which we love. Plus you can’t argue with a pair of pants that will fit your kid from 6 months to 3yrs old. #MaxaloonesFTW
The Facebook page is here for ideas & help.

Made for Mermaids – she is actually the sister of Judy from Patterns for Pirates! Their style is similar, but different, and if I’m sewing for myself I will almost always choose a P4P over a M4M – but for the kids, it’s one of my go-tos. This one is especially great if you’re sewing for a whimsical, girly-girl little girl. Facebook group here.

Beautiful Pie Shop – one word: slippers! Really, enough said. Other than here‘s their Facebook page.

Stitch Upon a Time – seriously, these are THE most comfortable underwear you will EVER wear in your life. After my c-section every single waist band on every single pair of underwear I had dug into the incision, and no matter where it fell on my belly, it would settle itself in that exact spot. Scrundlewear to the rescue! And their Facbeook group, here.  One of their dresses is next on my must-try list this summer, whenever I get around to finishing some of the projects I’ve already started…

Did I miss one of your favourites? Maybe I just haven’t tried them yet! Leave a comment to let me know – I’m always on the lookout for designers to love and promote!

XOXO

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Airing my dirty laundry!

Last summer I was relaxing at a friend’s house, enjoying the company, the AC, and as was my pregnancy trend, probably a chocolate popsicle or two. At one point she was scrolling through her news feed and came across a picture of someone’s clothesline full of cloth diapers – said person was bragging about taking advantage of the summer to sun their inserts. My friend asked if it was really necessary to show the world your diaper laundry, and I quipped in reply that she was, literally, airing her dirty laundry. Never mind that they’re actually clean when they go on the line – I was just being sassy.

Well here we are a year later, and I am so ashamed to even have that story to tell you, because I can, without a doubt, tell you that YES – diaper laundry out on the line IS worthy of Instagram, Facebook, Tumblr, or any other social media outlet of your choosing! What, you ask, changed my mind? The short answer is this: a winter of cloth diapers.

If you know nothing about cloth diapers, or if you haven’t used a cloth diaper in the last 8 years or so (they have come a long way since then!), here’s a coles notes version of this bum deal:

Baby dirties diaper, diaper goes in pail or wet bag (read: bag designed to hold the wet stuff in – they’re great for swimsuits & towels after swim lessons too!), when bag is full instead of tossing it in the garbage like disposable diapers, you empty it into your washing machine & toss the bag in there too. Then you wash, dry, stuff inserts back in, and repeat. If your baby eats solids, there’s an extra step in there, but our guy hasn’t arrived at that point yet.

Everyone has their own routine for how to wash these little beasts, but the one thing that doesn’t change is the stains. The stains are brutal, and it is near impossible to get them out – unless you can lay them out in the sun. The sun, as it turns out, fixes almost everything.

So never mind that it’s warm enough now to hang clothes out on the line, that the sun is so warm now that it melts inches of snow every day, or that you can practically smell summer right around the corner. There are a lot of things that I love about spring, but this year what I’m loving most is the chance to air my own dirty laundry!

(for the record, the stains did come out!)