Posts with category - Creative endeavors

On a sewing spree




I finally finished the skirt on Saturday! It only took me…oh…3 months. But if I had actually been focused enough to do it in one sitting I bet it would have taken just a few hours.

Today I am visiting my parents, found myself fondling some fabric in the basement, and decided to make Jack a pair of pants. So I did! And without a pattern. I used a pair of shorts he was wearing for an idea of waist size and I adapted the elastic technique I learned while making the skirt to bitty boy size. And it worked!

Oh, and the top? A few weeks ago I wanted to cover the designer name brand on the chest so I embroidered ‘Spit Happens’ (because it does) onto a piece of brown felt then embroidered it to the top.

Yup, on a bit of a sewing spree and having fun!


Live-blogging the making of this skirt ;)

Fyi I’m working on that skirt now. Really. Stay tuned for a picture of the finished piece!

So when there are 5 numbers on a ruler it doesn’t mean 5 inches. It means 6. I somehow knew that for one set of pockets, not the other. Rip, rip, rip…there’s got to be a faster way to rip out stitches….

Pocket stitches ripped. Believe it or not, off to get a sweater and socks. My dad likes a cold house. It’s freezing down here.

Wow, Jack’s giving me a great gift of a nap! Oh crap, typed too soon. Going to warm up outside for a bit while I give him some boob.

Something to be said for being generous with the pins. More pins = a smoother seam.

OK. Maybe I went overboard…


Waiting for the iron to warm up. Man sewing takes long. What’s with this having to fold up, press, fold up some more, press some more, and then sewing a hem?

Quickly deciding that sewing is annoying. At least, sewing clothes is. Little toutous don’t need measured hems. That kind of sewing isn’t as annoying.

Fyi. Plastic tipped pins, while great for ease of use and protecting the fingers, are less great when ironing a hem. Just saying.

Ok then. Bottom hem done, sides sewn together. Calling it a day before I attempt the casing for the elastic. To be continued…


My grand plans for the day: skirt and curry

I have two projects in the works for today:

  • FINISH this skirt already! There’s not much left to do…I don’t think. Problem is my sewing room/office/studio is aclutter. I will clear out a spot and get this baby done so I can wear this summer skirt while it is still summer.
  • Skirt Parts

    Tracy's summer skirt: before

  • Create some Southeast Asian curry paste to use for the next few days. I saw Annabel Langbein on tv for the first time the other day and she was making this curry paste. I didn’t think to actually write down the recipe as she was doing it so a little bit of searching later and I found it at See Food and Eat It by Danielle Knight. Thanks Danielle!

Here is the recipe, copied directly from Danielle’s site, linked to above:

There’s a lot of ingredients in here but the food processor does most of the work, and then you can have everything you need for next time.

Prep time: 10 mins

Makes 5 cups


4 large onions
1 whole hand of ginger
1 whole head garlic
4 green chillies (I used red as that’s what I had)
2 Kaffir lime leaves, finely chopped (I couldn’t get any fresh leaves so used dried instead)
2 cups roughly chopped coriander, roots too
grated zest of 3 limes
1 cup rice bran/ neutral oil
2 tsp blachan/dried shrimp paste (I left this out)
1 tsp dried chilli flakes
3 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp coriander seed
2 tsp turmeric
1 tbsp fish sauce


Peel and chop onions and ginger. Break garlic into cloves and peel.

Discard seeds from green (or red) chillies and finely chop the chillies. Remove central rib from kaffir lime leaves, destem and finely chop.

Place all the ingredients into a food processor and blend to a paste.

You can make this a few days ahead of time and refrigerate…Or freeze to use another time.

I’ll be going in to Montreal to get some of the ingredients that I don’t have, so today’s project may be limited to the shopping part and then I’ll complete the recipe tomorrow. We’ll see :)

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Storms, mobiles, cardinals, and Jack aka latest goings ons

Last night we had a major storm. I mean major. I was woken up by wind and rain blowing over my face, lightning and thunder underlining the slamming doors, meowing cats, whimpering big dog, and cries from Jack. So at midnight I was running around closing windows, replacing the screen in the dining room window that had blown in, mopping up the mini lake that was developing in the dining room and kitchen, and getting Annie back into the bathroom (still have not found her a home. I can’t bring myself to bring her in to a shelter but man she deserves a better life!) Oh, but all of that had to wait until I untangled Jack’s little legs from the huge mobile that was hanging in front of his window until it was blown off of its hook and into his crib! Never saw that one coming – it hangs a good 2 feet away from his crib.

Needless to say, it took a little while to soothe my poor little beast and even longer for me to fall back asleep. This morning is beautiful and sunny. What a difference from last night – the only reminder of the storm are the trees that have fallen over out behind one of my sheds. How do I fix that?!

Sewing or whatever you want to call it
Just because I haven’t been posting lately doesn’t mean I haven’t been up to stuff. Creatively speaking, I’ve been working on my stuffed felt bird mobile creatures – here is one in progress.

Northern Cardinal

Look closely, someone's spying on you!

I’m building up a few of them – some mobiles and some plush toys – to put on my new Etsy site Tracy & Jack. I’ll definitely let you know when it’s up and running. I may also put a few other things on that site, like these little embroidered onesies. Tee hee :)


Getting healthy
Jack turned 6 months on July 21st and I’ve been sore, stiff, swollen, tired. I’m fed up with that so I’m taking some measures to fix it. I’ve started trying to eat a bit better, fewer grains and more fresh, unprocessed foods. Have began to be more active by going to Caveman Strong in Cornwall. And have been going to Earthway Family Chiropractic, also in Cornwall. Just taking those first steps already makes me feel better, I’ll keep you posted as to how things develop on the longer term as they do.

Last week Jack and I went to visit our friendly neighbourhood Breastfeeding Clinic (yeah right, if my neighbourhood was in Montreal…) because all of a sudden breastfeeding was becoming painful again. Argh! Has anyone ever experienced thrush in a baby’s mouth while nursing? More pointed, has anyone ever experienced the treatment for thrush in the nursing baby? It involves Gentian Violet…needless to say I felt like I belonged in a burlesque show! And poor little Jack had a purple mouth for a few days :)

Purple Face

His aim is not always the best...hence the purple around the nose!

So no more pain! Yay, so Jack can keep receiving his main nutrition via moi to ensure that he is the healthiest he can be even while he is experimenting with…solid foods! So far he has tried Sweet Potato and Chicken. He isn’t always sure about having the food in his mouth at the start of a feeding session (Yes, a session. It lasts forever!) but he always opens his little mouth for more each time I show him the food on the end of my finger (I really need to buy a baby spoon…) and he doesn’t spit it back out.

Look – here is his very first meal!

sweet potato with spoon

The spoon didn't last for too long. I think I need a rubber tipped one with less depth.

sweet potato

Ahh...much easier with the finger :)

What have you been up to lately?

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Use your words contest winners…

…don’t get excited, I’m not one of them. But there were so many delightful entries that I thought I’d share them with you here!

Well, not really HERE. Over at the contest site.

If you visit this link you can see the top 10 entries.

If you visit this link you can sit back with a cup of tea to view a slideshow of all of the entries. If you can make it through at least the first 6 minutes or so you may just see a little cutie patootie almost 5 month old boy that we all know and love :)


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Reveal! Surprise project for the Use your Words contest

Didn’t I promise to reveal my surprise once it was done?

Not so quick, first you have to read about how it came to be.

  1. From even before Jack was born, I wanted to create some kind of painting for his wall incorporating the lyrics ‘you are my sunshine, my only sunshine’. I though I’d have plenty of time between finishing work and giving birth to do so and I certainly did have time since I left work even earlier than expected but that was to nurse some injured ribs so it just never happened. Then once he was born, well, it just never happened again. So FINALLY I saw the ‘Use Your Words’ contest at and thought – serendipity! It’s going to happen!
  2. A few weeks ago I purchase a great (as in nice as well as huge!) painted frame at a garage sale for $5. I knew I liked it but had no idea how I was going to incorporate it’s 38×26 girth into my house. Another serendipitous moment :)
  3. And finally, I’m starting to love working with felt. Especially the not having to make a hem aspect of it – no fraying! I also love the brilliant colours that are available with it.

With all of these things coming together so serendipitously (love that word. Have you noticed I’ve now used it in three different forms?) you’d think I’d have jumped to the challenge and completed the project almost as soon as I found out about it, right? These things don’t happen so quickly with a 4 month old at home… so yes, I was up until 2:59 Sunday (Monday morning) getting this sucker finished to submit it by the deadline, which happened to be 11:59 PST Sunday, June 5th. One thing I kind of forgot about was having to hang it and take pictures of it over Jack’s bed once it was done. I have the best boy ever – he totally slept through the moving of the crib into the hallway, the hammering of the nails (twice!), the moving of the crib back to where it belonged, and the click-click-flash of the picture taking. Yay Jack!

I’m happy with the project but not so happy with the pictures. Since it was nighttime I had to turn on the light, which happens to be directly above the left of the frame (very, very low ceilings upstairs) and it’s just hard to take a good picture in a room that’s as small as his. I think it definitely looks better in person. If you like you can come for tea to see it live. Anytime :) Also, I attached the piece to the frame with double-sided tape, which I discovered isn’t the best thing to attach it with. I was being a bit lazy, not wanting to staple it but I see now that in order to get rid of the wibbly marks around the stuffed clouds I will need to get a good stretch on so will have to staple it. That will eventually get done :) Also what will eventually get done is making more of those birdy mobile creatures to hang in front of it. So far I have caught Jack looking at the birds and the picture both of the mornings it’s been in his room – Yay!

Ok, you can look at the pictures now!

From the front

From the front. Just couldn't get that owl to pose for the picture.

Side view owl

Side view owl - I had to take it on the slant for him to pose properly.

All the words

All the words - here you can kind of see all of the words I used in the project

Sunshine detail

Sunshine detail

Tweet and Sun

Tweet and Sun - pretty self explanatory

View from below

View from below - again, pretty self explanatory

Morning View

Morning View

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Reorganizing and Creating


He's lucky he's so cute.

We woke up to a beautifully bright yet crisp June morning. My heat is actually on! Once again Jack was playing quietly with his feet (or where he thinks his feet to be in his sleepy-time bag) when I opened my eyes at 5:10. Wow do I love it when he sleeps through the night! Unfortunately last night my big Toby dog decided to have an upset stomach and he kept waking me up to let him outside, God love him but there are times when an in-house accident would almost be welcome…

I have two major plans for today:

  • Completely reorganize my living room. I really don’t like how it is set up now. It’s a big room but I find I am constantly stepping around things or moving the coffee table to get by and it is always cluttered because nothing seems to have a home.
  • Continue to work on my project for the Use your Words contest. Only a few days left! I’ll reveal it when it’s done. It’s being created as I go so still unsure as to how it will turn out. It involves felt, flannelly cotton, some stuffing, some embroidery, some hanging animals, and a 36×28 white painted frame :)

What are your plans for the day?

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owls and birds, oh my!

So just because I haven’t been posting doesn’t mean I haven’t been up to stuff.

First off, remember my post about how much I love tutoring? Well, I do love it. The thing is, I realized that I wasn’t ready to be away from Jack for even a few hours. I quickly began to resent the preparation, not the tutoring prep, that’s fun :) but the having to pump milk, driving him out to my parents, and then the tired drive home in the evening. And all the while just wanting to hang on the couch with my Jacklet because late afternoon is our best nap time :) So I’ve decided to enjoy my time off with Jack until I really have to go back to work.

Have I told y’all that I love him so very much? Each day he becomes more of who he is. Yesterday he was crying crying crying then noticed his foot and calmed himself down by holding it and looking at it. There’s got to be a lesson from baby Jack in there. Something about stopping to smell the roses and enjoying what we have around us.

Ok, but what have I been up to? I finished the owl! And Jack actually ‘plays’ (to use the term loosely) with it. It’s more like he sucks on it because it’s in the way of his hands, on which he’d probably much rather suck.

mmm owl!

mmm owl!

The ribbons tickle!

The ribbons tickle!

look ma, it says my name!

look ma, it says my name!

And another one just cause he’s such a cutie.

Jack and his owl

Jack and his owl

Here’s the owl on its own, face and bum (and if you think carefully about Jack’s name and where it is embroidered there is a little joke there :) )

Mr Owl leaning against wood bowls

Mr Owl leaning against wood bowls

Mr Owl's bum

Mr Owl's bum

Not only that but I have begun to make some little mobile creatures for over Jack’s bed. Like Mr Owl, they weren’t made with a pattern. I just sat at my sewing machine with a basket of scraps and embroidery floss and away I went. I plan on making a few more. For now they are hanging from the hooks that attach the overhead light to the ceiling but will eventually be part of something bigger – a surprise! – that will be my entry for the Use Your Words contest over at It’s fun embroidering in the words. I’m really appreciating the concept of a ‘backside’ to embroidery and sewing work that is hidden. There is no back side of a painting to hide things behind!

Here is the bird from the front

Here is the bird from the front. She is made of denim from some jeans that no longer 'work'.

owl mobile front

Here is the owl mobile creature from the front. He is made of felt. Is he a bit scary? I only had black and white felt at the time :)

Owl and Bird Mobile from their back sides

Owl and Bird Mobile from their back sides

Bird from under

Here you have an idea of how they are hanging from the light fixture hooks. Tweet!

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Motorcycles, Friday Nights, and Owls.

What’s new? Wait. I should be telling, not asking, since this is my blog.

Jack’s dad has been in town for the past 2 weeks or so, a big luxury since he is usually on the road more often than not. But the glut of time now is to make up for the month that he will be away from Jack during June. He’ll be driving the truck for a KTM race team to different races across Canada this summer. Hence all of the KTM swag the little guy’s been getting himself into lately :)

Jack and his dad and the swag

So other than visiting with dad and nursing my (once again) ailing back I’ve been sending in teaching cvs, tutoring, feeding Jack, and making this owl thing. No pattern, making it up as I go along. It’s kinda goofy but it has crinkly paper in the wings, ribbon bits, and I even found a little soft plastic box that I filled with beads to make a rattle sound that I put in with the stuffing. I’m particularly fond of my boy’s name I embroidered free-styly on the bum. As you can see, I am about to finish it. My sister told me how, still not sure if what she told me will work but I’ll try it tomorrow morning and let you know. (Click on the pics to see him a bit better)

Jack's Owl in progress

Jack's Owl in progress from the front

Jack's Owl in progress from the back

Jack's Owl in progress from the back

Oh. And I would certainly be lying if I didn’t mention the Friday Night Lights marathon I’ve been on. It started last week when Jack decided to go from sleeping 10+ hours a night to waking up at 2:30 am and then proceeding to nurse at 1 hour intervals for 2 days straight. Boy was that fun – nothing like a little quality time spent with my son! I set myself up on the couch with bottles of water and snacks and the first season of Friday Night Lights. I’m now onto Season 2. Am in love with Coach Carter and were I younger that Tim Riggins is one cutie-pie too.

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Show and Tell: My first sewing project

Wait. Already I lie. Let me rephrase that to my first sewing project with my new (to me) sewing machine. We all know about the actual first project… (and if you don’t, you can read about the disaster here)

Yesterday, Jack and I travelled about 30 minutes up County Road 23 to Vankleek Hill, where Rachel of The Fabric Box had offered to teach me how to use my machine and to guide me through some little projects. Let me tell you, she is patient! Darling Jack had slept through the night for the first time (yippee!) the night before. I’m wondering if that accounts for the Senor Crabby Pantiness of yesterday. Of course the day I decide to sew he decides he wants to be in my arms or else scream. So between me having to nurse him into submission and the actual store clients who wanted Rachel’s time, it took us about 4 hours to do something that could probably have taken even me under an hour to make! Rachel kept reassuring me that it was ok, babies cry. But I can’t help it. I wanted him to be a perfect angel for us! In any case, at the end of the afternoon she told me she has a whole collection of dinosaur stuffed animals she wants to give him so I guess she really didn’t mind the fussiness.

I decided to go simple for my first project – a cover for his very boring white plasticky changing pad. I figured it would have a pillowcase effect. Easy peasy. But no. Rachel wouldn’t let me get away with just that – “You’re going to make a pattern!”

But first I had to choose the fabric.

Have you ever gone into a fabric store to choose fabric? That took a little while. But I finally decided on this, isn’t it cute?


Rachel suggested I use muslin for the bottom since it’s less expensive and you don’t see the bottom anyways. In my case you kind of see parts of the bottom at the sides but it doesn’t look horrible with the fabric I chose. She also said that I’d be putting in a zipper, which almost made me faint but it worked out fine and much nicer than velcro or just folding a side under as was my original ‘plan’ (I use the term plan very loosely).

I’m going to be honest. I basically sewed (not so) straight lines. Rachel cut and pinned and showed me what to do. Wait, I did do some pinning after she had done one side. But hey – it was the first real thing I have ever sewn! I’m not counting the wonderful (not) basting of pant hems I have done nor the impromptu skirt I made from scraps of plaid material in my mother’s basement when I was 15 – so punk rock. I actually wore that skirt to school once. Boy were my folks proud :) And I am certainly not counting those denim shoes….

So here it is from many angles!

Finished project on Jack's bureau, where we deal with diapers

Finished project on Jack's bureau, where we deal with diapers

What is that dangling? Yes - a zipper!

What is that dangling? Yes - a zipper!



Corner with zipper

Corner with zipper

One more view for the heck of it

One more view for the heck of it