27 September 2011

A Sweater for Henry

I've been working on this sweater for Henry for about a month on and off and now it's finally ready. I used this 7-hour toddler sweater pattern but made it all in garter stitch just for something a bit interesting. I wasn't sure if I liked the garter stitch until I added the pockets - with the pockets it didn't look like such a blob. It's made from a thrift store pure wool that's a bit scratchy so I'm glad it turned out just big enough that it can be worn as more of a jacket over other sweaters, keeping that scratchy wool away from his skin.

And the most fun part was that I made the buttons! I made them from a stick I found in the backyard. I just put the stick in the vice, used a handsaw to slice small sections and then held the little buttons with my hand while drilling two holes for the thread. Then I did some minimal sanding. This was something I'd been meaning to try for ages and I'm so glad I did. Even though I thought it would be easy it was even easier than I had thought. I definitely want to do this again, am thinking I should gather some sticks for this purpose before winter comes.

26 September 2011

Highlights from the Weekend

We had a lovely family weekend. We spent some time out and about and some time at home, some time being productive and some time relaxing, some time just the three of us and some time with friends. And we had some nice meals too.

Got to try our latest homebrewed beer that we've called "hoptometrist". It is definitely our best yet with all the bitterness that we wanted.

Drove out to Fergus, one of our favourite small towns in the area and did some playing and some walking.

Finally stopped at this overlook that we see on our country drives and found out that it is quite beautiful. And Henry got to do some walking up and downhill, his favourite kind.

Saw this snapping turtle on the golf course when we were doing Waterloo's RIM Park walk with some friends.

Had homemade chocolate beer waffles with homemade ice cream and chocolate sauce for our Sunday dinner - delicious! Recipes from Vegan Brunch and Vegan Scoop.

21 September 2011

Another Shirt

I made myself another shirt. I'm not pretending that I need more shirts but I had an idea of something that I wanted to sew and I like to think that's more important than fitting all my clothes into my half of our small closet. This is made from a pair of pure wool pants that I had that were too small for me in several dimensions so I didn't hesitate to cut them up and use the beautiful fabric. I had actually planned to make a different, more complicated shirt but soon discovered that I had grossly overestimated the amount of fabric that comes from one pair of pants, even one with lots of pleats. So instead I made this simple shirt. Each sleeve had to be made from 3 scrap pieces and I think the shirt is just screaming for patch pockets but I don't have a scrap left to make them from.
For a base pattern, I used a couple patterns from the Japanese sewing book Happy Homemade Vol. 1. I am really liking this shortsleeved top over a long sleeved top since I saw it in my Japanese pattern books. No, it's not super practical but it looks cool. Actually when I wore this outfit yesterday I was the perfect temperature and I think the tightly woven wool T-shirt helped keep out the wind to keep me just a smidge warmer.

And what's Henry been up to? He really likes this toy broom that I bought him on the weekend (from our local broom maker of course). Here he is helping me clean up some rice that he spilled at dinner. It's nice because I have been teaching him to help clean up when he makes a mess but often that means I see him picking up many many teeny tiny pieces of puffed wheat off the floor and putting them back in the bowl. Now he can "help" with the broom (he's still a little too uncoordinated to help without quotation marks).

16 September 2011

French Fries

Henry has turned into a terrible eater. All he wants to eat is bread, granola bars, and apples. And he usually likes pasta with tomato sauce. Luckily he also still likes smoothies so I am filling those with as much good stuff as I can (have started adding black beans or chick peas along with everything else).

Oh and he eats fries at restaurants. So I thought I'd try making him some fries tonight. They are still greasy but they have no salt. I always put cumin, oregano, thyme, and paprika on homemade fries in place of salt. And I did half potato, half yam. He refused to try the yam fries but at least he liked the potato fries. Finally another real food that he likes even if it is french fries.

Edited to add: It's about 5 days later and he now hates french fries!

Water Kefir: The best drink in the world ever

I started making water kefir this summer. I don't know where I heard about it but it was awhile ago and it just took me that long to finally get around to ordering the "grains". I finally ordered some on ebay for just $8 and now we all have a new favourite drink. It's delicious, refreshing, fizzy and really good for you - full of probiotics.

Here's the recipe I've been using the most. There are lots of variations out there that I still have to try. But they all involve adding the "grains" (these spongy granules of bacteria and yeast that eat sugar, cause the drink to ferment, and multiply) to some water with sugar and fruit (the fruit gives the "grains" extra minerals). First I ferment it for 2 days in the jars above (with loose lids), then I transfer is to flip top grolsch-style bottles and let it ferment for another day and a half to get fizzy.

It really is delicious, it was especially nice having a healthy fizzy drink in the summer but we are still drinking it now we're getting fall weather. It's not like kombucha which is definitely an acquired taste. The kefir recipe I use has lemons and everyone who has tasted it loves it right away. I even give it to Henry before it turns fizzy and he loves it. I call it juice and he's never disappointed when he takes a sip and it doesn't quite taste like juice. I can only describe the taste as tart, or tangy maybe.

And my grains are really multiplying - I can now make almost 2 L every 2 days which has caused a bit of an overflow in the fridge. I am slowing it down now though. I'd love to give anyone interested my extra grains - just let me know!

15 September 2011

The Best Day of My Life

Back when I was working (yes I still remember those 4 months I spent as an engineer) I used to say that my life was like the guy's from Office Space. Every day was slightlyLink worse than the previous day and so every day was the worst day of my life. Since giving up work, and especially since Henry was born, each day is slightly better than the last. So every day is the best day of my life.

Of course there are days when either Henry or I are in a bad mood or when everything just goes wrong. But for the regular days, each one really is the best day of my life. Yesterday was one of those days. Henry and Kevin and I just spent a regular day together but it was perfect.

We spent some time out in the garden. Henry played by himself while I did that best, easiest kind of gardening that happens at this time of year: the harvest. I picked some tomatoes and basil that later became part of a pasta dinner. And that was followed by homemade peach ice cream.

There was also a trip to my favourite thrift store (my best find was an "A-Team" sheet for Henry's bed), a bike ride, and some painting and goofing off in the evening. And everyone was happy all day, the weather was nice, it was perfect. Can't wait to see how awesome today is.

12 September 2011

2 Skirts

I have been doing some sewing recently, just haven't been getting around to the photographing. Am I getting over the need to photograph everything I sew? No I think I should keep doing it - it's so important for us stay-at-home moms to feel we accomplish "stuff" and I like it to be on record too.
This first skirt I made a couple months ago but then forgot about and wore for the first time on our day trip to Stratford. It was made from a dress that I made that didn't turn out. And it wasn't made well. The seams are all skewif, I used just the serger (and with white thread), and didn't redo the hem after taking in the sides. And all those things make it look terrible when you've just sewn it and are very aware of them. But a few months later they're not noticeable. And it turns out a skirt in a knit material is super comfy. I would like to make another one that I am more proud of one of these days. I used the waist band from a pair of shorts that I began taking apart for material about a year ago (I think only the pockets are left from them). I love this solution for waistbands, especially when it's with this awesome print.

And I just finished this denim skirt a week or so ago. I had wanted a denim skirt for a while but I wanted it to be a bit flowy (that's how I like my skirts). So to fit this requirement I had to make it myself. And I finally did it after finding a denim table cloth in a thrift store (a denim tablecloth!). I based the pattern off another skirt that I've had for years and love (the one I am wearing in this post). It has 4 panels and I cut it on the bias hoping to add to the flowiness. Of course I added pockets and did an elastic waist (one of these days I will graduate from the elastic waist but not yet). It turned out pretty perfect I think.

08 September 2011

Carrots and Potatoes

We had the first of the 2011 garden carrots today. I've been waiting for them to get nice and big, some of them were. I dug up just enough to use tonight and left the rest in the ground to keep growing.

I also dug up all the potatoes.

And I got a full basket of tomatoes.

Henry had fun in the garden while I worked today.

We ate our garden bounty today with fondue. I got a recipe for vegan fondue from Kim Barnoiun's Ultimate Everyday Cookbook which I have out from the library. It was delicious. Earlier this week I used another recipe from the book to make squash ravioli with squash from the garden, I had planned on taking a picture but it got all stuck together so was a big old mess to look at thought it tasted great. For the fondue, I prepared lots of good things to dip: homemade rosemary garlic bread, broccoli, cauliflower, garden carrots, roasted garden potatoes, and garden tomatoes.

It was a fun meal. Too bad Henry is a super picky eater at the moment and all he ate for dinner was some smoothie and a bit of apple.

06 September 2011

Labour Day Weekend

Just thought I'd put up a few pictures of our lovely labour day long weekend. We did a bit of everything: a day out in Stratford, visits to our local parks, a little yard work, a couple restaurant meals, and plenty of relaxation. We enjoyed some very hot summer weather on Saturday and the first of the cool days on Monday. We had lots of fun playing with Henry - he seemed to be in an especially good mood this weekend maybe because he is over a nasty bout of teething pains.